MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN/AP) – As the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lead the charge in a demand for change in gun laws and school safety, many have directed much of their hostility towards elected officials.
One such politician, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, was once again placed in the spotlight by the young activists.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas students wore bright-orange price tags at the March for Our Lives rally. Each says: $1.05.
They’re meant to be a jab at Rubio and the National Rifle Association.
Stoneman Douglas freshman Lauren Hogg put it this way as she showed off the tag at the rally in Washington:
“We took the amount of money that Marco Rubio took from the NRA, and we divided it by every single student in the state of Florida,” she said. “So, this is how much we’re worth to the Florida government. It’s our price tag.”
Some Stoneman Douglas students have excoriated the Florida senator for not distancing himself from the NRA since shortly after the February 14 massacre at their school in Parkland, Florida.
In CNN’s February 21 town hall event on gun violence and the Parkland massacre, Rubio defended accepting support from the gun lobby.
“There’s money on both sides of every issue in America,” Rubio said. “I will always accept the help of anyone who agrees with my agenda.”
March organizers hoped to keep pressure on, making the $1.05 tag available on their website and encouraging all marchers to print it out and tie one on.
The tag caught on.
How much Rubio actually benefits from the NRA depends on how you calculate it.
The March for Our Lives website claims Rubio received $3,303,355 from the NRA in his career — including spending on his behalf (such as TV commercials, print and digital ads or mailings), and donations.
It cites an October 2017 New York Times op-ed article, which in turn cites the Center for Responsive Politics.
The march organizers get $1.05 by dividing their dollar figure by 3,140,167 public and private students it says are in Florida.
A Washington Post examination of Federal Election Commission data, however, indicates that as far as donations go, Rubio has received only $4,950 from the NRA in his career, and returned a further $9,900.
Shortly afterward, Rubio said in a prepared statement Saturday that he supports demonstrators’ rights to march at anti-gun rallies across the country, but called for activists to find common ground with opponents.
“While protests are a legitimate way of making a point, in our system of government, making a change requires finding common ground with those who hold opposing views,” the statement read.
Rubio’s district includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting last month.
He said that a ban on bump stocks (used to make guns fire more rapidly), improvements to the gun background check system and other efforts were achieved by finding common ground with those who don’t want certain gun bans.
“And finding common ground is what it will take to pass our red flag law so we can take guns away from dangerous people,” Rubio said.
Hundreds of thousands of people in cities across the United States are attending “March for Our Lives” rallies, calling on lawmakers to enact legislation to help stop school shootings and reduce gun violence.
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