The White House released its official post-Parkland shooting gun control policy over the weekend—but removed one of the positions that President Donald Trump had already endorsed: raising the minimum age to purchase AR-15-type rifles.
Instead, the plan officially pushes for arming teachers, promising “rigorous firearms training” to American educators.
The White House endorsed two bills in Congress as well: the compromise between Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NISC) and the STOP School Violence Act, which trains teachers in “violence prevention” proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
It also will create the Federal Commission on School Safety, chaired by Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, that will explore solutions to school shootings.
When the White House was asked about the absence of age restrictions in its policy proposal, an administration official said that it was a “state-based discussion right now,” according to the Washington Post.
Trump had previously come out very vocally in favor of raising the age to buy semi-automatic rifles, both on Twitter and in his televised meeting with Congress last month.
I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
On Feb. 28, when Trump met with members of Congress, he said his idea to raise the minimum age would not be popular with the National Rifle Association, but that it was important to discuss.
“This is not a popular thing to say, in terms of the NRA. But I’m saying it anyway. You can buy a handgun—you can’t buy one; you have to wait until you’re 21. But you can buy the kind of weapon used in the school shooting at 18. I think it’s something you have to think about.”
However, detractors of his current proposal said this one is clearly aimed at appeasing the NRA.
“The White House has taken tiny baby steps designed not to upset the NRA, when the gun violence epidemic in this country demands that giant steps be taken,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement on Sunday. “Democrats in the Senate will push to go further including passing universal background checks, actual federal legislation on protection orders, and a debate on banning assault weapons.”
The proposal will also conduct a “full audit” of the FBI after it was revealed the agency received a tip about Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz before the Feb. 14 massacre.
“The president is determined to get to the root of the various societal issues that lead to violence in our country,” Director of White House Domestic Policy Council Andrew Bremberg said. “No stone will be unturned.”
Update 9:23am CT, March 12: As reports broke of the White House proposal, Trump tweeted age restrictions had been left off because there wasn’t much political support.
Very strong improvement and strengthening of background checks will be fully backed by White House. Legislation moving forward. Bump Stocks will soon be out. Highly trained expert teachers will be allowed to conceal carry, subject to State Law. Armed guards OK, deterrent!…….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2018