After A Student's Question, Rubio Publicly Changed His Stance On Magazine Clip Size

"I’m reconsidering that position and I’ll tell you why.”

On Feb. 21, just a week after the school shooting in Florida that took the lives of 17 students and teachers, survivors of that tragedy came face-to-face with some of the area's elected officials and discussed the need for stricter gun control laws.

The oftentimes emotional and heartbreaking meeting, which was held not far from the massacre, was billed as a town hall discussion on CNN and was moderated by journalist Jake Tapper. In addition to the survivors and politicians who were in attendance — Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, and Rep. Ted Deutch — the town hall featured an in-person audience of thousands who were permitted to ask questions.

About 55 minutes into the historic event, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior named Chris Grady, who survived last week's shooting and recently enlisted in the army, addressed Rubio after thanking the politician for participating in the town hall. 

"I believe I speak for myself and my colleagues in the 'Never Again' movement when I say that we might not see eye-to-eye on a lot of these issues," the teen said. "We need you and your colleagues on both sides to come together with us and find compromise if we are to ever solve this epidemic that is plaguing our country."

Grady then asked, "Sen. Rubio, I believe a big issue when it comes to the debate about semi-automatic weapons and automatic weapons is large capacity magazines. Would you agree that there is no place in our society for large capacity magazines capable of firing 15-30 rounds if not, more?"

After thanking Grady for enlisting, Rubio told him he was "glad" he posed his question. "I traditionally have not supported looking at magazine clip size," the senator admitted. "But after this and some of the details I've learned about it, I'm reconsidering that position and I'll tell you why."

Rubio then went on to receive one of his few applauses of the evening and explained, "While it may not prevent an attack, it may save lives in an attack," he said. "I'll let the authorities discuss at an appropriate time why I say that, but suffice it to say I believe there will be evidence that at a key moment in this incident, three or four people might be alive today because of something that this deranged killer had to do."

Though Rubio didn't go into any more detail regarding what information he seemingly knows relating to the shooter and large capacity magazines, Time reports multiple survivors told the senator several people were able to escape because the shooter, who was apparently not using a large capacity magazine, was forced to stop and reloaded his rifle. "I don't know what the right number is," Rubio said of magazine size. "But that is something that I believe we can reach a compromise on in this country, and that I'm willing to reconsider."

He added, "I do believe, that in this instance, it wouldn't have prevented the attack, but it made it less lethal."

Though the New York Times reports that during the town hall Rubio refused to support a ban on assault weapons and declined to declare he would stop accepting money from the National Rifle Association, his apparent change in point of view relating to the use of large capacity magazines is significant. According to ABC News, said magazines were used by the Las Vegas shooter back in October, and as Rubio intimated, had they been used in Florida they could have contributed to an even greater loss of life.

"That's why these discussions are important, because they do lead you to rethink positions after you've taken new information and new input from people," the senator concluded. "American politics is the only part of our lives where changing your mind based on new information is a bad thing. We do it in every other aspect of our lives." 

Cover image via Crush Rush / Shutterstock.com.

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