United States gun control: Trump accused of bowing to NRA pressure

Erika Holt
March 14, 2018

Dianne Feinstein hit back against President Donald Trump's school safety plan Monday, calling him out for caving to the gun lobby and for backing away from his support for raising the federal minimum purchasing age for a firearm to 21. "Not much political support (to put it mildly)" Trump tweeted Monday. The president and his fellow Republicans in Congress strongly support Americans' constitutional right to own guns.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Sunday that arming school staff is part of a "pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety". And yet, these other weapons that we talk about ... they're allowed to buy them at 18. A White House official said Trump still wanted stronger background checks but recognized the risks of alienating his supporters.

In a meeting with lawmakers two weeks ago, Trump said, "It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun, but I can get this weapon at 18", referring to the AR-15-style assault weapon that was used to kill 17 and wound 15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on February 14.

Secretary DeVos' most notable statement on the issue to date was when she was asked in her confirmation hearing about allowing guns in schools and responded that in some places you might need them "to protect from potential grizzlies".

Trump's position on guns, like his position on the "dreamers" or nearly anything else, is a public policy version of Schrödinger's cat.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday is expected to debate a bill that would invest $50 million a year to help education and law enforcement officials reduce the chances of gun violence at schools. At the same time, the NRA told its members that they were under threat from liberals, the media and those who make it harder to buy guns - a common victimhood tactic following these types of headlines.

President Donald Trump on Monday offered a disappointing plan aimed at reducing gun violence in the nation's schools.

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From the parts of the plan that you're describing that are there and those that are not, it sounds like an NRA-approved school safety plan. Trump said. "The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness".

Though some conservatives might be satisfied that the president's school safety proposal keeps within traditional GOP orthodoxy on guns, Trump's initial comments troubled conservative commentator Alexandra DeSanctis.

"Americans expecting real leadership to prevent gun violence will be disappointed and troubled by President Trump's risky retreat from his promise", said Avery Gardiner, the group's co-president.

That wasn't all. Trump said he'd rather confiscate weapons from someone suspected of mental illness first and deal with due process later.

We should note that the administration does continue to support the "Fix NICS" bill, which is not universal background checks but does little more than remind federal and state agencies of their existing reporting obligations under the current background check system.

On Saturday, the Justice Department submitted a regulation to ban bump stocks - devices that turn semiautomatic rifles into fully automatic machine guns - that would not require congressional approval.

"He's talking about Congress who actually has the ability to make law, not online polls", Sanders said.

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