The mix of politicians saying it’s either not the time to talk about gun control or it’s past time
ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) — The reactions to the country’s latest mass shooting appear to be falling along fairly familiar party lines, with a number of key Republicans saying that now is not the time to discuss any gun control reforms while some Democrats demand action.
Elected Democrats aren’t the only ones calling for action, however, as they’re being joined by students that survived the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and others in the Parkland, Florida, community.
The varying reactions started to pour in shortly after the shooting on Wednesday.
Pushing back on the calls for action
Early that evening, just hours after the attack, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Flor., was asked by a Fox News reporter if he thought it was appropriate to talk about gun control reform after the attack.
“It’s not, only because people don’t know how this happened… who this person is, what motivated them, how did they get a hold of the weapon that they used for this attack,” Rubio told Fox News.
“I think it’s important to know all of that before you jump to conclusions that there’s some law we could have passed that could have prevented it. There may be, but shouldn’t we at least know the facts? I think that we can always have that debate but if you’re going to have the debate about this particular incident, you should know the facts of that incident before you run out and prescribe some law you claim could have prevented it,” Rubio said.
Later that evening, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that “there’s a time” to talk about changes in the wake of horrible events but did not say specifically when that time was.
“There’s a time to continue to have these conversations about how through law enforcement, how through mental illness funding that we make sure that people are safe,” Scott said Wednesday evening.
Conservative blogger Tomi Lahren joined the chorus Wednesday night as well, tweeting that “the left” was being too quick to jump on the issue.
“Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda? My goodness. This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic. #FloridaShooting” she wrote on Twitter.
The following day, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., echoed Rubio’s sentiments, saying that “this is not a time to jump to some conclusion not knowing the full facts. We’ve got a lot more information we need to know.”
“This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings. We need to think less about taking sides, and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together,” Ryan said on Thursday.
Pleas from those connected to shootings
Sen. Bill Nelson, Rubio’s Democratic counterpart, has repeatedly said that “enough is enough” in the wake of the shooting in his home state.
In an interview with ABC News on Friday, Nelson said that he’s not alone in calling for what he calls “common sense” changes to gun laws.
“All of these students are speaking out so boldly, and maybe just maybe this is the turning point,” he said of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who have called for change.
The students and their parents have made some of the most poignant pleas, including Lori Alhadeff, the mother of 14-year-old victim Alyssa.
“President Trump, you say ‘what can you do?’ You can stop the guns from getting into these children’s hands. Put metal detectors at every entrance to the schools. What can you do? You can do a lot!” Alhadeff screamed during an interview with CNN on Thursday.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., has been outspoken in his repeated calls for increased gun control measures for years in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in his district.
“If you are not working today to try to fix this, to try to stop these shootings, then you’re an accomplice. Those are tough words but they’re true,” Murphy told ABC News on Thursday.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel spoke Thursday night at a vigil to honor the victims, and shared a warning for elected officials.
“If you are an elected official and you want to keep things the way they are and not do things differently, if you want to keep the gun laws as they are now – you will not get re-elected in Broward County,” he said.
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