The father of one of the Jewish victims of last week’s Florida school shooting pushed Republican senator Marco Rubio to support an assault weapons ban in a highly charged television debate.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was shot in the back while running away from the shooter, told the senator his comments after the incident had been “pathetically weak”.
“I just listened to your opening, and thank you. I want to like you,” he told Mr Rubio during the debate.
“Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak. So you and I are now eye to eye.
“Because I want to like you, look at me and tell me.
“Guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week. And look at me and tell me you accept it and you will work with us to do something about guns.”
A solemn Mr Rubio, who has historically opposed gun control legislation, repeated his remarks in the aftermath of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“The problems we are facing here today cannot be solved by gun laws alone,” he said.
But a clearly emotional Fred Guttenberg responded: “Senator Rubio, my daughter, running down the hallway at Marjory Douglas, was shot with an assault weapon, the weapon of choice.
“It is too easy to get. It is a weapon of war.”
“The fact that you can stand here and can’t say that…I’m sorry.”