Press Releases

Washington D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Jay Sekulow Live to discuss legislation to keep our schools and communities safe. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
 
On Rubio’s proposals to keep schools and communities safe: 
 
“Part of what bothers me every time this happens is that they come out with a bunch of solutions…to restrict guns or whatever their personal views on it might be, but it's nothing to do with the actual shooting. They wouldn't have prevented what actually happened. My point is, we can continue to debate that other stuff, but if the goal is to stop these shootings, then we need to be focused on passing things that will have the chance to stop these shootings. 
 
“So, two things: the first is, we now have sufficient, and have had it for a long time, research that tells us, by and large, who are the people that do this. There's a lot of commonality. Generally, you're talking about a young man who suffered some early childhood trauma of some sort — child abuse, sexual abuse, broken home, whatever it may be — who feels disconnected, starts having self-hate, and transforms that self-hate into hatred of others, starts blaming others, gets fascinated with guns, making threats for a suspended period of time, in some cases even acting out. And then one day walks into a gun store, a registered legal gun store, passes the background check, having never committed a crime before, and buys a gun and commits mass murder.
 
“The first piece of legislation is to use…the well-established National Threat Assessment Center to identify people who are headed in this direction weeks, months, potentially years before they've become a killer. 
 
“The second piece of legislation is an intervention that allows states, like Florida, with due process, to be able to go to court and show the evidence to a judge and say: ‘Look, this person is headed in a really bad direction. We're worried about it, and put a red flag on the record so they can't go in and buy a gun.’ 
 
“Obviously the person is going to get due process and make an argument against it. In Florida, we have penalties for false claims and things of this nature, and I think it's best done on the state level. You don't want a federal law that does it, because…many cities in America don't have a federal courthouse, and federal agencies aren't going to do this. It's going to be a local sheriff's department or police officers are going to do it. 
 
“But the notion of identifying this profile and intervening before they actually kill people is the best way, the most effective way, I believe [it’s] probably primarily the only way that we're going to keep this from continuing to happen.”
 
On state-level extreme risk protection order laws: 
 
“It's not permanent, so you're going to have to keep going back to the court and prove your case if you think this is an ongoing threat from this individual. Generally, the way it's used is a family member becomes very concerned about somebody. In many cases it's not because they’re going to kill somebody else, it’s because they’re going to kill themselves. And so, [the family member says]: ‘I’m really worried about this person. This person has a bunch of guns and has become fascinated with guns. They’re talking about hurting themselves and hurting other people.’ 
 
“This is a restraining order, that’s what it basically is. [It is similar to] existing restraining orders for domestic violence and things of that nature. It also can only be filed by law enforcement…. You have to convince a police department to do it. They have to go to court and do it. You can't do it yourself. You can't just go into a courtroom and say: ‘Hey, my ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend is dangerous. Will you take away their guns?’ There's that extra step of protection. And they have to go in and make the case. There's got to be evidence provided in convincing a judge for a court order, just like we do when police want to go into your home and search, they've got to have a court order. It's using the same process. We don't have…evidence of it being misused. 
 
“There's a push to have a federal version of that. I don't think a federal version of it is a good idea. I don't think the FBI and these agencies are going to be focused on this stuff. I just don't think they have the manpower or the focus on it. I think it's best left at the state level. And states don't need us to pass a bill to do it. We're just trying to incentivize them to do it.”
 
On the impediments to passing common-sense gun crime legislation:
 
“These bills have been out there for four years now, and they haven't gotten voted on for one primary reason. Let's not forget now, Joe Biden's been in the White House for over a year. Democrats have had Congress for over a year. They haven't moved on any of these things yet. And the reason why is because their base…want things like preventing guns based on what they look like. Not what they do, not how dangerous they are, but what they look like. Or [they want] expanded background checks. Virtually every gun that's going to be sold in America today is going to have a background check expected. Every one of these mass shooters passed the background check. So there's still a perception out there among people that you can just walk in and buy a gun in a store, and nobody checks you out. That's just not accurate. Almost every gun sold in America today and every day, virtually all have undergone background checks, and all these shooters have…. But that's what they're fixated on. You see the House proposals, right? ‘Let's ban bump stocks’ and stuff like that. They may be great and good ideas, but [they have] nothing to do with this…. They wouldn't have prevented the shootings. 
 
“So that's what's been standing in the way: maximalist demands that have nothing to do with how to solve the problem. And hopefully that will change. Hopefully this time people say: ‘Look, enough is enough. There's some things we can do that we agree on, let's do the things we agree on.’ If there's something that works and we agree on it, why not do it?”
 
On the other gun crime crisis in America:
 
“We have another crisis in America, and that is a bunch of criminals running loose in the streets, buying guns off the black market, stealing [them] from people's cars, and shooting each other up. And we've seen that violence surge. But these aren't people buying [guns] at gun shows or online or anywhere. These are just people buying stolen guns from each other and then shooting each other up. That's a huge problem in America. That's a criminality problem. And that's what happens when you let a bunch of criminals out of jail early because you're trying to be compassionate and trying to give people a fifth chance and things of that nature. So that's another problem, probably from a numerical standpoint the most serious one. 
 
“The solutions I'm talking about are very specifically tied to disturbed young men that head towards violence and commit these mass murders, and they're giving warning signs. In Parkland, [there were signs] well in advance that this was going to happen. And, in fact, there were efforts to get the local police to intervene. The sheriff's office didn’t do it, that guy’s no longer sheriff. The school district refused to do anything about it because they didn't want to criminalize kids. The FBI dropped the ball with two calls and warnings to their hotline. So there were a lot of missteps there that could have prevented this.”
 
On likelihood of President Biden politicizing mass shootings in his address to the nation:
 
“Let's hope that that's not what happens. But traditionally, the response from [President Biden] and others is the following: lie to people and tell them that there's a bunch of laws out there that could stop all this from happening, but we can't pass those laws because evil Republicans are blocking them. ‘If they would only have voted for these bills, these things wouldn't be happening.’ And it's just not true. It's just absolutely inaccurate. It's not true. It's a blatant lie. It stands in the way of progress on this issue. 
 
“And I hope that's not what [President Biden] does again tonight, because if he starts rolling out a bunch of a bunch of ideas that have nothing to do with these shootings — they may be what he supports on gun legislation, but they have nothing to do with these shootings — I think we're back to square one, unfortunately. And then people wonder why nothing ever happened. Well, that's why. But I hope that’s not the case.”