The father of a Florida high school shooting victim accused mainstream media outlets, Monday on MSNBC, of taking “away from the focus of what’s important to me” when they start “talking about gun control.”
Meadow Pollack was one of 17 students and teachers killed on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. During an interview with her father, Andrew Pollack (shown above), MSNBC correspondent Chris Jansing pointed to a Florida Senate bill that would raise the minimum firearm purchasing age from 18 to 21 and fund programs to arm and train school officers and teachers.
The bill does not ban rifles like the AR-15 used by Parkland killer Nikolas Cruz.
“[The bill] would arm school staff members and teachers who first of all volunteer and get more than 130 hours of training,” Jansing said, noting that he — Andrew Pollack — supported the bill. “As you know, the Florida Education Association has encouraged teachers to lobby against the plan, and a recent poll found that America is divided — 50 percent of Americans oppose arming teachers.”
The MSNBC correspondent then asked Pollack to “talk a little bit about what is motivating your position on this, and have you talked to teachers there, and how do they feel about it?”
Pollack — who, along with other grieving family members and friends, attended one of President Donald Trump’s listening sessions at the White House after the shooting in February — responded that he has talked to teachers and others. Then he jabbed Jansing for focusing on the lack of gun control regulations in the Florida Senate’s bill.
“What you’re failing to mention is that it’s voluntary. This whole program for the school board is voluntary,” Pollack said.
Jansing said she did use the word “volunteer” when describing the bill — then segued back to the bill’s lack of gun control measures.
“Well, part of the problem is the media,” Pollack insisted. “Like, before you got on, you started talking about the AR bill. And it takes away from the focus of what’s important to me, and I think a majority of Americans. They want to just know their kids are safe.”
“So every time the media starts talking about gun control, it takes away from our objective of making our schools safe, which is achievable right now if we come together,” Pollack continued. He said that if the media would stop saying “gun control” and instead said “school safety,” it would “be an easy task for us to get together and make it happen.”
Jansing argued that “many people” equate school safety with gun control measures, and getting rid of assault rifles or “putting strong restrictions on who can get their hands on assault rifles and weapons that were designed as weapons of war, as opposed to personal safety or hunting.”
“Why not talk about restricting or banning those kinds of weapons?” Jansing asked.
“Because that’s not going to solve the problem next week,” Pollack retorted. “Next week, I want my kids safe — if I had one that went to school, but I don’t.”
Pollack asked Jansing to show how banning assault rifles would make schoolchildren any safer “next week.”
“We want them safe next week, the American people. OK? In order to do that, we need to make the schools safe,” Pollack said. “Later on, I don’t have a problem with anyone out there fighting any gun law possible out there. It doesn’t bother me. But right now, if we focused on just making a school safe like a courthouse — we’d get it done much quicker.”