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Rick Santorum Tells Kids to Take CPR Class Instead of Fighting for Gun Control

"Phony gun laws don't solve these problems."

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On Saturday, millions of people across the country proudly participated in the March For Our Lives. And while many politicians and public figures, including the Pope, voiced their support of the students who participated in the march, not everyone thought marching was the best use of time. For his part, Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum went on CNN and criticized student marchers, suggesting they’d be better off focusing on more practical measures to keep themselves and other students safe.

“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.

The Republican pundit and 2016 Presidential candidate then said that students should be more focused on preventing bullying in order to prevent school shootings. Van Jones, another pundit on the show, tried to get Santorum to step back on some of his statements and asked him if he was proud of the students for taking action for something they believe in. Santorum said he was proud but refused to show support for stricter gun laws.

“I’m proud of them,” he said. “But I think everyone should be responsible and deal with the problems that we have to confront in our lives. And ignoring those problems and saying they’re not going to come to me and saying some phony gun law is gonna solve it. Phony gun laws don’t solve these problems.”

Santorum’s divisive comments were quickly criticized online, as many experts pointed out that teaching kids CPR has nothing to do with whether or not they are in danger of being shot at school.  Erica Lafferty, the Everytown for Gun Safety program manager and daughter of Dawn Hochsprung, the principal killed during the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, released a statement lambasting Santorum’s dismissal of the March For Our Lives.

“Rick Santorum’s words are an insult to the kids of Parkland, my family and to the countless others who have had loved ones taken by gun violence. My mother was killed while protecting her students at Sandy Hook School. For anyone to suggest that the solution to gun violence is for kids to learn CPR is outrageous, and indicative of the NRA’s desire to do or say anything except strengthen America’s weak gun laws.”