Since the Parkland shootings in Florida, Senator Marco Rubio has done many of the things liberals say they are desperate, desperate for decent Republicans to do. He has changed his position on gun control, expressing support for new restrictions: age limits on gun purchases, new background check rules, possibly magazine restrictions. He has co-sponsored legislation encouraging states to issue restraining orders that temporarily would strip people deemed dangerous of their guns. Some of these measures have conservative support, but in other cases the Florida Republican has effectively bucked the N.R.A.
But over the same period Rubio, more than any other prominent Republican, has been vigorously and sometimes virulently attacked by the student-led movement that filled D.C. with protesters last weekend. When he showed up for the CNN town hall he met boos and heckles; one of the shooting survivors told him that just looking at him was like staring down the barrel of an assault rifle. Notwithstanding his subsequent policy concessions, at the March for Our Lives the students wore price tags around their neck, $1.05 each — the amount of money Rubio’s campaigns have received from the N.R.A. divided by the number of students in Florida schools. David Hogg, one of their leaders, began his speech with the price tag line, and told a CNN interviewer that if anything he feels that their attacks on the Florida senator haven’t been provocative enough.