Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is now among the many presidential candidates who have weighed in on what might have caused the tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, which left nine students and the gunman dead.
In an interview with Today, Rubio fell in line with most of his Republican colleagues and said that gun control wouldn’t fix the issue. "For example, these were not assault rifles; these were handguns that he had purchased,” he said. "The laws that many are proposing would have done nothing to prevent these attacks.”
Rubio suggested that the U.S. consider the role of mental illness, “which we need to begin to address more seriously, as opposed to stigmatizing it or, in some cases, trying to put it aside, and that's a societal thing that we need to confront."
Rubio, who has been steadily rising in the polls, also pointed to a culture of violence. "What is it that's leading people in this country who are not mentally ill to do that sort of drive-by shootings and things we've seen?" he asked.
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Following the most recent shooting, President Barack Obama criticized rhetoric like Rubio’s. "What’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation," he said in a fiery speech after the shooting. “Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: 'We need more guns,' they’ll argue, 'fewer gun safety laws.' Does anybody really believe that?”