After a year of not facing his constituents at a single town hall meeting over fears of a "hostile atmosphere," the Florida senator finally did his job and listened to someone other than lobbyists or deep-pocketed campaign donors, and it was glorious.
Rubio faced a tough crowd of parents and teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where just a week ago a teenaged gunman used an AR-15 to murder 17 students and teachers.
"Your comments this week, and those of our president, have been pathetically weak,” he said to a standing ovation. "You and I are now eye to eye. So 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."
Rubio, visibly uncomfortable, then replied that an assault weapons ban would not have saved his daughter, which of course was met with loud boos.
Another pivotal moment came when Cameron Kansky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, asked Rubio if he would stop taking money from the National Rifle Association.
Florida school shooting survivor Cameron Kasky challenges Sen. Marco Rubio: "Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?" https://t.co/LiU42QFBEv #StudentsStandUp https://t.co/p6jlUGFxOs— CNN (@CNN) February 22, 2018
Of course, Rubio's answer was no.
"People buy into my agenda," said Rubio, who has accepted more than $3.3 million from the NRA over his career. "And I do support the second amendment, and I also 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. And that’s why I support the things I’ve stood for and fought for."
Rubio did concede on a few points, saying he would looking into banning high capacity magazines, and age limits for buying assault rifles. While these concessions aren't exactly milestones, it's amazing what can happen when lawmakers listens to their constituents.
Other Florida elected officials like Sen. Bill Nelson, Rep. Ted Deutch and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel were also in attendance, along with NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch. However, one key figure that was noticeably absent was Gov. Rick Scott, who has literally signed every gun rights bill that has floated across his desk, and currently has an A+ grade from the NRA.