Florida's Republican Senator Rubio to unveil plan for gun Bill after Trump presses Congress

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said on Thursday that he backed restraining orders for gun-owners deemed to be dangerous, as well as funding for measures to train schools to identify warning signs for violence.
US Senator Marco Rubio (centre) at a meeting in the White House with bipartisan congressmen to discuss school and community safety on Feb 28, 2018.
US Senator Marco Rubio (centre) at a meeting in the White House with bipartisan congressmen to discuss school and community safety on Feb 28, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Senator Marco Rubio said on Thursday (March 1) he would unveil a gun and school safety plan, a day after President Donald Trump urged lawmakers to pass key legislation aimed at preventing massacres like the one at a Florida high school last month.

Rubio, a Republican, said the Bill was aimed at fortifying schools and preventing gun sales to dangerous or unstable people following the Feb 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead in his home state.

"We all agree that what happened in Parkland can never happen again anywhere & changes exist we can all get behind,"Rubio said in a post on Twitter.

He provided no other details, and a spokeswoman for the senator did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a freewheeling White House meeting on Wednesday, Trump told lawmakers to think big and embrace more expansive changes than the ones favored by many in his party.

On Thursday, Trump again urged Congress to put forth a legislative solution as he prepared to host a school safety meeting at the White House later in the day.

"Many ideas, some good & some not so good, emerged from our bipartisan meeting on school safety yesterday at the White House. Background Checks a big part of conversation. Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a Bill should emerge. Respect 2nd Amendment!" he tweeted.

 
 

Still, it was unclear whether the Republican-controlled Congress would follow Trump's lead or which plan lawmakers would support.

John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, has offered a plan with narrower changes to the background check system.

Other bills, including one floated by Democratic US Senator Joe Manchin with his Republican colleague Pat Toomey and another narrower background check bill already passed by the House, are also circulating.

Toomey, who attended the meeting, told MSNBC on Thursday it was clear Trump "wants to get something done."

The Florida school shooting rekindled a sharp debate over guns in a nation deeply divided over how to balance gun rights and safety, with a call for legislation to curb gun-related violence driven by the students who survived the February massacre.

The issue is also likely to factor in November's midterm elections.

Rubio, whose state saw 49 people gunned down at an Orlando night club in 2016, has said he does not support the arming of teachers, as Trump has suggested, but was in favour of raising the legal age to buy more types of guns to 21 from 18.