President Donald Trump started the week reminding America where he stands on gun control proposals.
In two Monday morning tweets, Trump listed various potential actions on guns, saying he’s moving forward on some and pulling back on others in the wake of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February. The tweets came after Administration officials outlined a new plan on school safety with reporters Sunday evening.
Here’s a look at where Trump stands on various gun proposals.
Since the Parkland shooting, Trump has said he wants to strengthen background checks, at times appearing to support universal checks that would apply to private sales and gun show sales. His new school safety plan doesn’t advocate for such comprehensive background checks, but reiterates support for the bipartisan “Fix NICS” bill in Congress, which would, among other things, mandate that federal agencies and states upload all relevant information to the background check system. “Very strong improvement and strengthening of background checks will be fully backed by White House,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Legislation moving forward.”
In February, Trump directed the Justice Department to develop regulations that would ban bump stocks, devices that are used to make legal semi-automatic weapons fire similarly to machine guns. In March, the Department formally submitted a regulation to ban the accessories, Reuters reports, which now needs to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget and then will be subject to a comment period. Trump tweeted Monday that bump stocks “will soon be out.”
Trump’s school safety plan moves forward on one controversial idea he’s floated repeatedly in listening sessions and speeches after Parkland: arming teachers. Under the plan, the federal government will work with states to provide voluntary “rigorous” firearms training for “specially qualified” school personnel. “Highly trained expert teachers will be allowed to conceal carry, subject to State Law,” Trump tweeted Monday. “If schools are mandated to be gun free zones, violence and danger are given an open invitation to enter. Almost all school shootings are in gun free zones. Cowards will only go where there is no deterrent!”
The White House also supports the STOP School Violence Act, currently in the House, which would create a federal grant program for states to train students, teachers and school officials in potential violence detection and intervention.
Raising age limit
Trump has backed off raising the age limit to buy semiautomatic weapons, for now. The Washington Post reported that Trump had been interested in the idea of raising the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic weapon from 18 to 21, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at the end of February that raising the age of purchase is “on the table for us to discuss.”
But Trump pulled back from this idea, not including it in his school safety plan and saying in his Monday tweets that he’s “watching court cases and rulings before acting” and “states are making this decision.” Under his school safety plan, Education Secretary Besty DeVos will chair a commission to recommend further policy and funding proposals on school safety, which could include age restrictions, but there is no set timeline on when the commission will report findings.
Mental health measures
Trump often emphasizes the link between mental health and mass shooters. After Parkland, he suggested that law enforcement should be able to take guns away from people they think are safety risks without going through the courts. His new plan doesn’t go that far and run afoul of due process, but he’s calling for an expansion of mental health programs and enhanced coordination between mental health care, schools and law enforcement.
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