MILLER: Marco Rubio on his .357 gun, concealed carry permit and Obama’s pick for surgeon general

Sen. Marco Rubio is part of the new type of gun owner in America that has sprung up in recent years — younger, more diverse and urban. These new gun owners make up one-quarter of all gun sales, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and are arming themselves for self-defense.

For the first time, the Florida Republican gave details about his firearm. Mr. Rubio told me that he bought a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver in February 2010.

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On “Shooting Straight With Emily Miller,” Mr. Rubio explained why he bought a firearm. “For the same reasons a lot of people want to purchase a gun in America: to be able to defend your family,” he replied.

Click here to listen to the full audio of the radio interview with Sen. Marco Rubio. The section on guns starts at 16:00. 

The senator, who was elected as part of the Tea Party wave in the 2010 midterms, said he and his wife train at the shooting range two or three times a year.

Also four year ago, Mr. Rubio obtained a permit to carry his gun outside his home.  “I’m a concealed-weapons permit holder as well, which I encourage people to get,” he said. “We have a great process for that in Florida.”

On Second Amendment issues on Capitol Hill, Mr. Rubio does not flinch. He will be speaking at the The National Rifle Association (NRA) Institute for Legislative Action’s Annual Leadership Forum in Indianapolis on April 25. 

Asked about Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Obama’s nominee for surgeon general who is a rabid gun-control advocate, the senator said the nomination is dead on arrival.

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“He will go down. He will not have the support to pass the Senate,” Mr. Rubio said. “A handful of Democrats are prepared to vote against him.”

The NRA said it would score the vote on the surgeon general nomination, which forced moderate Democrats up for re-election this year to reconsider toeing the party line.

However, the White House refuses to withdraw the nomination.  

“It’s interesting Harry Reid hasn’t brought him up yet. He’s always complaining about Republicans holding up nominees. Well, here you go. Why don’t you bring him up on Monday when we get back?” Mr. Rubio asked. “They‘re not doing that because they don’t have the votes.”

Mr. Rubio said he wants concealed-carry reciprocity passed in Washington. This common-sense legislation, which passed the House in 2011, would make carry permits like driver’s licenses, which are valid in other states.

“I don’t think your constitutional rights end at the border of one state versus another state,” he said.

That statement is true on so many levels of the gun control debate. We have seven “may issue” states that refuse to give carry permits. Many states have bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

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