WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is making lots of promises to the growing chorus of Americans demanding change to gun laws. This, as a bi-partisan team of Senators plans to introduce a bill today raising the age limit for buying weapons like the AR-15, the gun used in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting.
As gun-control rallies continue around the country, there are some signs the persistence in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting may be paying off.
“Bump stocks, we’re writing that out. I’m writing that out myself. I don’t care if Congress does it or not. I’m writing it out myself,” said President Trump. “We’re going to do background checks. If we see a sicko, I don’t want him having a gun.”
At a meeting with the nation’s governors on Monday, the President also stuck by his belief that schools should be arming certain teachers and faculty.
“I don’t want teachers to have guns. I want highly trained people that have a natural talent like hitting a baseball, or hitting a golf ball, or putting — how come some people always make the four-footer, and some people, under pressure, can’t even take their club back, right? Some people can’t take their club back. And you don’t know what it is — those words are, you know, those words are hard to train for. …the bad guy has to understand that there is a big price to pay when they mess around with our students.”
Republican Senator Jeff Flake said he and Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein plan to introduce a bi-partisan bill on Tuesday that raises the age requirement for buying an AR-15 and weapons like it to 21. Though there are already signs that measure will face resistance.
“You’re taking away a lot of peoples’ constitutional right,” said one lawmaker.
Senator Flake said he and fellow Republican Susan Collins also plan to re-introduce a so-called “no fly, no buy” measure that would restrict people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.
The White House said the President will host a bi-partisan meeting with legislators this week to discuss gun legislation.
Gun legislation in Florida
Hundreds of Floridians, including Stoneman Douglas students, converged on the state Capitol Monday in an event called Rally in Tally calling for stronger gun laws.
“My generation is saying, ‘Will I survive another day? Will I be shot in a movie theater or a concert?'” said Houston Barenholtz, 18. “We’re supposed to be protecting these places and now we’re getting shot at.”
Participants had listed a permanent ban on assault-style rifles as one of its aims, but that prospect was dashed Monday.
An amendment to a Florida bill that would have banned assault-style rifles like the one used in the Parkland shooting failed in a vote by a Florida senate subcommittee. Disappointed demonstrators in orange shirts who are pushing for gun safety, pointed their finger at the lawmakers and chanted “shame” and “vote them out.”
The Florida Democratic Party slammed the vote as “a shame that Governor [Rick] Scott and Tallahassee Republicans continue to do the bidding of the gun lobby, instead of listening to the chorus of voices asking for common sense gun legislation.”
The subcommittee rejected the proposal, which was an amendment to Senate Bill 7022. The bill, which lets law enforcement seize firearms from people under certain conditions, advanced without the amendment.
Two more proposals advanced in Florida’s Capitol Monday. They are SB 7026, which relates to active shooter policies, including the creation of a voluntary program that provides “firearm safety and proficiency training for selected faculty and staff strategically focused on providing security” in attacks, and SB 702, which creates an exemption to public record laws for a victim’s address in mass violence on school grounds.
On Tuesday, Parkland parents are expected in Tallahassee to talk to lawmakers and advocate for gun safety measures, reported CNN affiliate WSVN.
“It’s not about the guns, and it’s not about the mental health, and it’s not about the school safety — it’s about it all.” Stoneman Douglas parent Randi Weisselberg told the station. “I want it all put together.”
There are at least five Parkland-related bills for debate before the Florida House and Senate appropriations committee Tuesday morning.