Following the Parkland, Florida school shooting, President Trump gave supporters of the Second Amendment plenty of reasons to be concerned when he seemed to voice his approval for radical and sure-to-be-ineffective gun control measures such as raising the age to buy a rifle to 21 and giving law enforcement more authority to seize firearms from individuals they deem to be a threat without due process.
It didn’t take long, though, for representatives from the NRA as well as several members of Congress to meet with Trump and walk him back on many of these proposals. Now, the White House has released an agenda aimed at stopping mass shootings that focuses less on gun control and more on alternative solutions that are sure to be more effective without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
One of the main focuses of the White House’s proposal centers around arming teachers and providing them with the training they would need to use their firearm to stop an active shooter. The administration has said that they will work with states to create programs by which “specially qualified” school personnel could receive firearms training and be allowed to carry a concealed weapon on school property. The proposed program would be entirely voluntary, and no teachers would be required to carry a weapon if they did not wish to do so.
The White House has also said that it will put increased focus on improving the way federal and state authorities report information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Right now, the background checks required to purchase a firearm are plenty stringent enough to stop anyone who doesn’t have a clean criminal record from purchasing a firearm.
However, the problem is that far too often state and federal officials fail to report this information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Rather than introducing stricter background checks, the White House is instead choosing to provide better incentives for authorities to enforce the laws that are already on the books. Better enforcing current laws is a much better policy than introducing new ones, so the White House is certainly taking a step in the right direction with this proposal.
Where Donald Trump still draws controversy from many Second Amendment supporters, though, comes from his proposal to raise the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21 – a proposal that he has backed down from but not given up on entirely. While this law may seem innocent enough at first glance, the reality is that it would do almost nothing to stop mass shooters and would instead inhibit millions of Americans between the ages of 18-20 from being able to purchase a firearm for self-defense, hunting, sport shooting, or any number of other lawful reasons.
Nevertheless, Trump’s proposed Federal Commission on School Safety – headed up by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos – has listed raising the age limit to purchase a firearm as one of the things it would look at going forward.
Other objectives of the Federal Commission on School Safety that will likely be more palatable for American gun owners include looking at opportunities to improve access to mental health treatment, considering the way teenagers and young children consume violent media, assessing the best practices for school security as well as assessing the design of school buildings from a safety perspective, and putting forward plans for how federal resources could be better coordinated to stop school shootings from taking place.
Betsy DeVos said of the commission that, “Far too often the focus has been only on the most contentious fights — the things that have divided people and sent them into their entrenched corners. But the plan that we’re going to advance and talk about is a pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety and to take steps to do so right away.”
Overall, the plan put forth by the White House seems to be one that supporters of the Second Amendment will be able to get behind. So long as members of Trump’s base continue to walk him back on ideas such as raising the age to purchase a firearm and giving law enforcement the authority to seize weapons without due process, the end result should turn out okay.
~ American Gun News