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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — As pressure continues to mount for elected officials to act in the wake of the Parkland shooting, Florida Senator Marco Rubio announced his own plans to prevent another massacre – but those plans are already being criticized for not going far enough.
Rubio, who has faced withering criticism over his voting record and ties to the NRA, is proposing legislation that steers clear of the more controversial issues in this debate.
“My argument is let’s do the things that we agree on first, let’s get those things out of the way, and don’t hold those hostage to all these other issues because these things are meaningful,” he told CBS4 News. “Why wouldn’t we pass them?”
Rubio is either proposing or supporting bills that increase spending on school security and improve background checks but he is also calling for a federal gun violence restraining order.
“Someone can go to court, be it a relative or someone who lives with you or law enforcement and get a federal judge to issue a short-term removal of guns and or stopping you from buying guns if you have probable cause that that person can be a harm to themselves or others,” he explained.
A judge would then have 14 days to hear evidence as to the person’s mental stability and decide whether that individual will have their guns returned or if a more permanent ban will be entered.
A similar plan is being proposed by the state.
Rubio said confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz should have been dealt with long before the carnage at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High.
“This is someone who fell through not one crack but multiple cracks,” the Republican said.
To fix that problem, Rubio is also proposing school districts create ways of identifying dangerous kids before they can act. He patterned his proposal after a highly successful program in Los Angeles.
“You have a task force of law enforcement, schools and others, who are constantly coordinating and monitoring the students and former students who could potentially do what we saw happen in Parkland and get ahead of it,” he said. “We are better off identifying and stopping killers rather than simply trying to defend against them once they’ve begun the killing.”
Rubio’s plans do not include banning assault weapons nor does it include raising the age to purchase those weapons from 18 to 21. Rubio had said he was willing to raise the age.
“I would [vote for raising the age] but the problem is we don’t have the votes, we don’t even have close to the votes for that,” he said. “I went to DC this week, I talked to my colleagues from multiple different states – they are not supportive of it. That’s doesn’t mean that isn’t something we are going to continue to work on it if a bill emerges on it that is limited to that we wouldn’t support it but that is not something we can get done quickly. There will be a long debate about that.”
At the CNN Town Hall, Rubio said he would consider banning high capacity ammunition clips, but that is not included in his bills.
Noted Rubio: “I need to learn more about it. What is the right number? Is it ten? Is it fifteen? Is it 30? And then what is the right restriction? Do you ban them? Do you require background checks? So it’s a new issue for us so it’s one I need to learn more about before I can take a position and say this is the answer to it.”