- The White House unveiled proposals to improve school safety and mental health on Sunday.
- But officials backed off President Donald Trump’s call to raise the age limit on buying certain firearms.
- The proposals came weeks after 17 people were killed at a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The White House backed off President Donald Trump’s call to raise the age limit to buy certain firearms, instead proposing efforts to improve the mental health system and background checks on gun purchases, as well as beefing up security in schools.
The administration’s plans include working with states to provide “rigorous” gun training for “specially qualified” teachers and staff, officials said. Teacher groups such as the National Education Association have condemned proposals to arm teachers.
“We are committed to working quickly because there’s no time to waste,” DeVos said in a conference call with reporters. “No student, no family, no teacher and no school should have to live the horror of Parkland or Sandy Hook or Columbine again.”
The White House has faced increased pressure to act in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month that left 17 people dead. Gun-reform advocates, including some of the teenage survivors of the Parkland massacre, have pressured officials to make it more difficult for people to acquire assault-style rifles like the kind used by the Parkland shooter.
Trump has called to raise the limit for purchasing such weapons from 18 to 21 – a stance opposed by the National Rifle Association. Florida Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill this week raising the limit to 21 on all firearm purchases in his state, prompting a lawsuit from the NRA.
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.
“There are not going to be one-size-fits-all approaches and solutions, and I think that that is a very cogent argument for having a commission,” a White House official said during the conference call.
“The president is determined to get to the root of the various societal issues that lead to violence in our country,” said Andrew Bremberg, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. “No stone will be unturned.”