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Rick Santorum: Students should learn CPR, not rally for "phony gun laws"

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said Sunday that students who have rallied for gun control should instead learn CPR or find their own way to prevent a school shooting. "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," the Republican said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The 2012 and 2016 presidential candidate said students could work to stop bullying in their communities or respond themselves to a shooter instead of asking lawmakers to approve legislation to protect them.

Santorum's comments prompted outrage on social media a day after hundreds of thousands of teenagers and their supporters rallied across the U.S. to push for tougher laws to fight gun violence.

The demonstrations Saturday were led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed last month.

Santorum said that if the rallies are about more than politics, then the country needs to have a broader discussion that doesn't revolve around "phony gun laws" that don't work.

"They took action to ask someone to pass a law," he said of the demonstrators. "They didn't take action to say, 'How do I, as an individual, deal with this problem?

CNN reported that Santorum's comments prompted a response from Everytown for Gun Safety program manager Erica Lafferty. Lafferty's mother was shot and killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

 "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," Lafferty said in a statement. "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."

More than 200,000 people attended the demonstration in Washington D.C. on Saturday, according to Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc (DDIS).