There was very little time to review the bipartisan gun safety bill Tuesday before the Senate voted to advance it, and there are major concerns about its provisions that will allow $750 million in funding to help states implement red flag laws, Sen. Marco Rubio said on Newsmax Wednesday.
"This was publicly released at 6:23 p.m.," the Florida Republican told Newsmax's "National Report." "We only got a few minutes before that and then the vote was at 7:36 p.m. — an hour and 15 minutes later. We were supposed to go over 80 pages on an issue that implicates Second Amendment rights, the constitutional right of Americans, so I think it deserves a little bit more reading. It may turn out to be the greatest bill in the world, and it may turn out to be the worst."
Red flag laws, he added are concerning because of the potential that they can be misused.
"We have a red flag law in Florida, passed by the Republican state legislature, that says only law enforcement can pursue it," said Rubio. "You get hearings. There are all kinds of processes. They're not permanent."
The state's red flag laws were enacted to either protect people from self-harm or acts of violence, said Rubio, but he's concerned that in other states, anyone will be allowed to file red flag cases and have people's guns removed from them.
"So you can envision a scenario where the due process provisions are not strong enough, and then you could have your co-workers taking you to court, harassing gun owners, and shopping for the right judge who is anti-gun, to begin with, and suddenly we have an abuse of this and a big, big problem," said Rubio.
States can already pass laws for red flag notices, he acknowledged, but he said he's not sure the federal government should incentivize them through funding.
"We're always going to move very cautiously because the Second Amendment rights of Americans is not an option," said Rubio. "It is a constitutional right."
Rubio also said he's not surprised that a new poll shows Republican and independent voters who think red flag laws can be abused by local and state officials.
"The federal government, in particular, has become the enforcer of woke ideology in America," Rubio said. "I mean, school districts are going to lose their lunch money if they don't follow their transgender agenda. Police departments are going to lose their money.
"You've seen the military be turned into a place where woke ideology is not promoted both publicly and in the academies so people are looking at and saying, All right, the government has now been deputized into the role of enforcer for this leftist ideology."
As a result, "people are increasingly suspicious and doubtful of and quite frankly, in many cases alienated from government and institutions," he added. "The thing is to identify dangerous people and stop them before they act, and if they do act, to not make schools an easy place to just walk in and massacre people … but the goal here is to protect us from dangerous criminals without infringing on the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans."
Rubio also commented on President Joe Biden's expected plans calling for a temporary federal gas tax suspension for three months, for savings at the pump of about 18 cents a gallon for gasoline or 24 cents for diesel.
"Every week they roll out of new gimmick," he said. "There is only one way to lower the cost of gas and that is to produce more. We are blessed to live in a country that can do it, but we're not doing it, and we're not going to do it because this administration is hostile to that industry."
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