March 22, 2018

White House proposes arming teachers, backpedals on raising age to buy guns

12 March 2018, 01:20 | Brandon Parsons

White House Unveils Gun and School Safety Proposals

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The administration's proposals come after 17 people were shot and killed last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a massacre that spurred officials in Washington to re-evaluate gun laws. "All topics are open to being addressed on this commission", one official said.

But Trump has also spoken repeatedly in recent weeks with the heads of the powerful National Rifle Association, which considers increasing the age of purchase to be an assault on the Second Amendment.

"There's been a lot of talk in the past but very little action", DeVos said in a conference call with reporters.

Shah said the proposals will be legislative and administrative and also will include recommendations for states.

In some of Trumps earlier comments since the Parkland shootings, he appeared to support expanding the number of people buying guns who are required to undergo a background check, such as at gun shows or private sales.

But on Sunday, the White House referred to Trump's age-limit proposal as "a state-based discussion right now" and that it would be explored by a committee headed by DeVos.

Trump is also calling for a review of the statutory and regulatory privacy protections to determine if any changes or clarifications are needed to improve coordination between mental health and other health care professionals, school officials, and law enforcement personnel. He's also endorsing legislation to improve background checks, and urging states to pass laws temporarily keeping guns out of the hands of people judged to be risky to themselves or others.

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The Department of Justice has been asked to create programs helping schools to partner with state and local law enforcement authorities that can provide training in gun use by those who volunteer to do so.

The proposal has angered education groups, who have said arming educators could put both adults and students at risk.

The administration will encourage state attorneys general to audit school district compliance with state emergency preparedness, and help states and localities support public awareness campaign modeled on "See Something, Say Something" to encourage awareness and reporting of suspicious activity.

"Fix NICS" is a bill sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, which intends to improve the information going into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by offering financial incentives to federal and state authorities to comply with existing law to report criminal history records.

Instead, a new federal commission on school safety will examine the age issue, as well as a long list of others topics, as part of a longer-term look at school safety and violence.

Trump is proposing an expansion and overhaul of mental health programs, including those that help identify and treat those who may be a threat to themselves or others, the administration announced.

The Justice Department on Saturday sent a proposed regulation to the Office of Management and Budget that would prohibit the sale of bump stock devices, which modify semiautomatic rifles to allow them to be fired more rapidly, by adding it to the definition of "machine gun" that's already barred under the National Firearms and Gun Control Act. An administration official said the White House was endorsing those measures because they could both pass in short order, while a bigger background overhaul would have a tougher path in Congress.

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