Cameron Kasky, a Stoneman Douglas High School student, challenged U.S. Senator Marco Rubio at a CNN Town Hall, asking Rubio whether he would flatly refuse to accept any donations from the National Rifle Association in the wake of the mass shooting.
Rubio would not agree to refuse NRA donations in the Town Hall that featured a packed room of survivors from the Florida school shooting that left 17 students and staff members dead. You can watch the Rubio-Kasky exchange here:
The moment between Rubio and Kasky was one of the most dramatic during the emotionally charged Town Hall. Kasky asked Rubio: “Sen. Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?”
Rubio answered, after the applause in the room subsided, that he’d held the same positions for years. “People buy into my agenda. I do support the Second Amendment, and I support the right of you and everyone here to go to school and be safe and I do support any law that would keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer…”
Challenged again about NRA money, Rubio did not directly answer the question. “People buy into my agenda,” Rubio said. “….The influence of these groups comes not from money. The influence comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda. The millions of Americans who support the NRA.”
Before the Town Hall, Kasky was already directing his rhetoric at the NRA. The Parkland, Florida teen’s Twitter profile reads, “Angry, scared, confused, grieving, and sick of the NRA fostering and promoting this gun culture. Founder of #NEVERAGAIN @neveragainmsd @AMarch4ourlives.”
Cameron Kasky is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where the school shooting occurred. It is the third deadliest school shooting in U.S. history after Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. Kasky is 17. He and his brother, Holden, both survived the school shooting.
Kasky has created a movement that he hopes will result in changes to American gun laws. The movement, called #NeverAgain, is designed to highlight the need for gun law changes and to give students a voice in that debate. In an article posted by CNN, Kasky described his experiences that tragic day, writing, “Toward the end of the day, I went to pick up my little brother Holden from the special needs classroom. As we exited the school, the fire alarm went off. And as we retreated to the parking lot, per fire drill procedure, we were told to run back inside.”
The article is a call for change. He also called out Rubio in that article, writing, “While the alleged shooter may have had several issues, he also lived in a society where Sen. Marco Rubio refuses to take responsibility for the role gun culture may have played in this tragedy.” He concluded, though, “But the truth is that the politicians on both sides of the aisle are to blame. The Republicans, generally speaking, take large donations from the NRA and are therefore beholden to their cruel agenda. And the Democrats lack the organization and the votes to do anything about it.”