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Marco Rubio says protesters must seek 'common ground'

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2017, file photo, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Rubio said Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, that he has fired his chief of staff after getting reports of "improper conduct" with staffers. Rubio said he had "sufficient evidence to conclude that while employed by this office, my chief of staff had violated office policies regarding proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates." He offered few details. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said in a prepared statement Saturday that he supports demonstrators' rights to march at anti-gun rallies across the country, but called for activists to find common ground with opponents.

"While protests are a legitimate way of making a point, in our system of government, making a change requires finding common ground with those who hold opposing views," the Republican from Florida said.

Rubio's district includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting last month.

He said that a ban on bump stocks (used to make guns fire more rapidly), improvements to the gun background check system and other efforts were achieved by finding common ground with those who don't want certain gun bans.

"And finding common ground is what it will take to pass our red flag law so we can take guns away from dangerous people," Rubio said.

Hundreds of thousands of people in cities across the United States are attending "March for Our Lives" rallies, calling on lawmakers to enact legislation to help stop school shootings and reduce gun violence.

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