Florida survivor says chairman no better than other politicians after plan to harden schools against mass shootings retreats from confrontation with NRA

The Trump administration will use existing justice department funding to help train teachers and other school personnels to use pistols in an attempt to “harden” schools against mass shooting attacks, the White House announced on Sunday.

But in a watered-down school safety program, the White House backed away from other proposals the president had endorsed, including creating the legal age to buy certain guns.

The president had clashed with the National Rifle Association over the issue of elevating age limits to purchase rifles such as the one used in the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida in February, in which 17 people were killed.

” It should all be at 21 ,” Trump said in late February.” And the NRA will back it .”

But the NRA remained firm, filing a federal suit on Friday challenging the legality of Florida’s freshly passed age restrictions on buying rifles and other long guns.

The president then backed away from the issue, designating the question of whether age restrictions should be raised on some firearm acquisitions to a new federal board on school security, is presided over by education secretary Betsy DeVos.

On Monday, survivors of the Florida shooting criticised Trump’s decision.

” What President Trump demonstrated when he said he wanted to raise the age to 21 was bipartisanship and the need to work together on this and save some lives ,” one of the students, David Hogg, told CNN.

” But the other thing he proved after that is that he’s no better than the other legislators because he called out other GOP members and said,’ You’re owned by the NRA and that’s why you don’t want to take action .’ But then he stepped back down from where he was and that’s why we’re seeing this stuff.

” I ask him why? Show us that you’re better than these other politicians and that you aren’t owned by the NRA and that you actually wishes to take action. Those proposals were great but proposals without act remain proposals .”

Under the White House plan, homeland security officials will work with states to develop a public awareness campaign to prevent school shootings, based on the” See something, say something” campaign launched after 9/11, which fosters members of the public to stay vigilant and report potential signs of terrorism.

The administration will work with states to provide” rigorous pistols developing” to” qualified volunteer school personnel”, said Andrew Bremberg, administrator of the president’s domestic policy council. No figures were given for what the programme would expenditure.

Florida high school student David Hogg speaks to the media. Photograph: Sun Sentinel/ TNS/ Sipa USA/ REX/ Shutterstock

The White House also endorsed a piece of bipartisan legislation that would improve the nation’s background check system for gun sales by providing incentives for federal agencies to comply with the current law.

It did not endorse a bill that would actually close some of the gaping loopholes in the nation’s background check system, despite Trump’s terms of kudo for stronger legislation in a public meeting with Democratic lawmakers in late February.

Trump did endorse two policy proposals with strong subsistence from advocates for handgun violence prevention.

The president called on countries across the country to pass extreme hazard protection orders, which would offer law enforcement and family members with a legal behavior to petition a court to temporarily remove an unstable person’s handgun, and block them from buying new ones.

A senior administration official emphasised that this process would include respect for due process, while giving law enforcement officers the ability to temporarily take away guns from extremely high-risk people.

The White House also endorsed the bipartisan STOP School Violence Act and asked Congress to provide funding to support evidence-based school violence prevention programs. This legislation is endorsed by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit founded by some of the family members of the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, in which 20 young children and six adults were killed. The group has been working with school districts across the country to implement its” Know the Signs” programs.

White House officials attempted to frame Trump’s proposal as a bold step forward.

” We’ve had to talk about this topic way too much over the years ,” DeVos said on Sunday night.” There’s been a lot of talk in the past, but very little act .”

Pressed by reporters to explain why forming a new commission to discuss school security was an example of activity, rather than more talk, senior administration officials had few answers. They declined to give any specific timeline for the DeVos commission to produce recommendations, other than saying it would be less than a year, and the committee are now working “quickly”.

At a campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday night, Trump himself taunted the idea of presidential commissions on controversial issues, saying:” We can’t only keep setting up blue ribbon committees with your spouse and your wife and your husband, and they meet and they have a meal and they talk .”

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ us-news/ 2018/ mar/ 12/ teachers-and-school-staff-to-be-given-weapons-training-white-house-says


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