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FACT CHECK: Did Marco Rubio say felons ‘should not have their voting rights restored’ but ‘should be allowed to own guns’?

Brad Sylvester on August 23, 2020

An image shared on Facebook claims Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio made seemingly conflicting statements about the voting rights and gun rights of felons.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence Rubio made these statements.

Fact Check:

The image being shared shows two photos of Rubio speaking into a podium microphone. The first includes text that quotes him on March 16, 2015, as saying, “No, felons should not have their voting rights restored even after they have served their sentence,” while the second credits the Florida senator on May 6, 2015, with saying, “Of course felons should be allowed to own guns after they’ve done their time. It’s their constitutional right.”

The post is captioned #Hypocrisy, appearing to imply that Rubio’s alleged stances on the restoration of voting rights and gun rights for felons are contradictory. However, there is no record of Rubio ever making either statement.

Searching the congressional record for the Senate and Rubio’s social media accounts turned up no matches for the quotes. The Daily Caller News Foundation also didn’t find any credible media outlets attributing the words to him. The bottom of the image appears to cite the now-unavailable Facebook group Stop The World The Teabaggers Want Off, a satirical page that has previously perpetuated fake quotes, further adding to the post’s dubiousness.

When Rubio ran for the Senate in 2009, he appeared to criticize his opponent, then-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, for his stance on restoring voting rights to felons on an episode of “Morning Joe.” A spokesperson for Rubio also said he was “open to measures that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill” in the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, according to ABC News.

Rubio’s office did not return a request for comment.

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