Interview: Dana Loesch On CNN Town Hall, Background Checks, And Mental Health

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Student survivors of the attack, as well as their teachers and parents, faced off with Florida's two USA senators, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson; the district's congressman, Rep. Ted Deutch; and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch on Wednesday evening, a week after an expelled Stoneman Douglas student shot his way through the school's halls using a legally purchased AR-15 assault rifle.

Loesch claimed that CNN has been equally "malicious" because it has allowed "accusations against me and millions of law abiding Americans to be indicted as child murders" to stand without correction. "And he said 'the militia is the whole of the people.' It's every man and every woman".

Guttenberg added, "And tell me you will work with us to do something about guns".

Samantha Grady, a student who was shot twice in the assault, said "My best friend was killed right in front of me".

"Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak", Fred Guttenberg told the Florida Republican, causing raucous applause and cheers from the crowd.

It's understandable why the CNN town hall crowd was emotional and reactionary, but it's still puzzling that so many seem willing to forfeit the right to protect themselves and leave it up to the very government that so tragically failed them in the first place.

Rubio responded that yes, "of course" guns were a factor.

Rubio defended accepting support from the gun lobby.

"We instead should make sure that unsafe criminals, people that are deranged, can not buy any gun of any kind", he said.

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As much as Rubio was put on the spot, Nelson gave Rubio credit for attending the event, unlike Gov. Rick Scott, who may be Nelson's opponent come midterms.

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"That NRA members are somehow complicit in this, you've allowed that to stand uncorrected on your network", she said. "It is a weapon of war".

Mr Rubio said he would explain what he said during the week, and repeat it.

NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch Friday doubled down on her contention that "many in the media love mass shootings", arguing with CNN's Alisyn Camerota that the controversial statement she made during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference the day before was true.

Rubio said he believes "the problems we face here today can not be solved by gun laws alone", but listed some measures he would back: banning bump stocks, adding more information to the background check system, and keeping 18-year-olds from buying rifles (he didn't explain whether he meant assault rifles or all rifles). "I think it has practical problems", he said. "You guys love it", Dana Loesch said. Loesch asked. She did not, however, support raising the age requirement for certain types of weapons.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel shared the stage with Loesch, in the second half of the event after Florida lawmakers took questions earlier.

Camerota then suggested that the NRA actually "does bare some responsibility" for coming up with solutions to gun violence and said the group needs to "come to the table".

The town hall ended with Max Schachter, the father of victim Alex Schachter, sharing a poem that his son wrote.

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