Trump to propose arming school staff, raising gun purchase age


The controversial idea to put weapons in schools, which has drawn little support from educators, is part of a "pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety and to take steps to do so right away", Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a conference call with reporters. The commission does not have a set timeline of when it will report its findings, although an official said it would be within one year.

"We're going to be very fair and very flexible, but we're going to be protecting the American worker", the president said.

The NRA, the powerful gun industry lobbying group that spent $30 million toward Trump's election, has expressed support for both bills but is resisting more stringent measures.

"We can't just keep setting up blue ribbon committees with your wife and your wife and your husband, and they meet and they have a meal and they talk", Trump told a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

Tapping into Justice Department resources and finances, the government will help states partner with law enforcement agencies to train school personnel who volunteer, the White House explained.

Seventeen people were shot dead at a Florida high school last month.

A senior administration official added that there are already "a multitude of programs that exist across the country where school personnel are trained in conjunction with state or local law enforcement". "Some will be legislative, some will be administrative and some will be recommendations for states as well as a task force to study this issue in more depth and make more additional policy recommendations".

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, later walked back both suggestions, saying "Universal means something different to a lot of people".

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Trump has now embraced a proposal from John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of CT, which is supported by many but not all Republicans. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, which intends to improve the information going into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Such orders now are allowed in only a handful of states. The orders would allow law enforcement officers, with approval from a court, to remove firearms from those who pose a threat to themselves or others and temporarily to prevent individuals from purchasing new firearms. "It should all be at 21", Trump said in late February.

Trump vowed to address mental health issues after the shooting, but his administration's recommendations for reforms included no concrete details, other than reviewing health and education privacy laws.

Responding directly to last month's gun massacre at a Florida high school, the administration rolled out a series of policy proposals that focus largely on mental health and school safety initiatives.

The White House is expected to ask states to consider raising the age to buy certain firearms and to recommend that states allow school staff to carry concealed weapons, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing White House officials who have been briefed on the proposal.

Trump has also backed a ban on "bump stocks", accessories that enable semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

Sessions submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a proposed regulation on bump stocks.

"Arming teachers is an absolutely abhorrent response to school shootings - opposed by law enforcement, students, and educators alike", Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from CT, said in a statement.