Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum suggested teens protesting gun violence instead prepare to help the victims of mass shootings by learning CPR and practicing active shooter drills.
“How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that,” Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands turned out for the March for Our Lives to protest gun violence and push for stricter gun laws. An estimated 200,000 people took part in the main Washington, D.C. rally, with satellite marches taking place across the U.S., reported CBS News.
The marches featured speakers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a gunman killed 17 people Feb. 14. But Santorum dismissed calls for “phony gun laws” on CNN Sunday and said teens should take responsibility for preparing their own communities for future shootings.
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“They took action to ask someone to pass a law,” Santorum, a Republican, said on CNN. “They didn’t take action to say, ‘How do I, as an individual, deal with this problem? How am I going to do something about stopping bullying within my own community? What am I going to do to actually help respond to a shooter?’… Those are the kind of things where you can take it internally, and say, ‘Here’s how I’m going to deal with this. Here’s how I’m going to help the situation,’ instead of going and protesting and saying, ‘Oh, someone else needs to pass a law to protect me.’”
Reaction on social media to Santorum’s comments was swift and scathing.