White House officials “expect” to release a list of “specific policy proposals” aimed at safeguarding schools from mass shootings later this week, said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. President Donald Trump still supports an idea that pits him against a powerful pro-gun organization, she said.
The administration is looking at “every possible action” to keep the country’s school children safe, Sanders said Tuesday.
White House aides inched away Monday from the president’s previous backing of setting the age for purchasing AR-15s and similar semiautomatic guns at 21.
Sanders was more clear Tuesday on the matter, which the National Rifle Association opposites. Trump still supports raising the age limit from 18 to 21, she said, pitting Trump against a pro-gun organization that is heavily influential in Republican circles and tremendously popular with his conservative and largely southern base.
The president said he met with NRA leaders, including a Saturday lunch at the White House, and feels they want to “do the right thing.” (He has not defined what that is, in the eyes of the association’s pro-gun stalwarts.)
Any policy proposals would come only after the president has completed a number of listening sessions on the subject, White House aides have said for a week. Those meetings are set to conclude Wednesday when Trump huddles with Republican and Democratic lawmakers at the White House. He also has met with survivors from the Valentine’s Day Parkland, Florida, high school massacre, victims of other school shootings, state and local officials, and a group of governors.
Part of Trump’s task Wednesday will be to determine whether Republicans and Democrats might find ample common ground that would allow them to send him some kind of legislation designed to help prevent future deadly school shootings.
Lawmakers have been back in town after a week-long recess period, but there is no coalescing around possible bills that could pass both chambers.
House GOP leaders want the Senate to take up legislation they already passed that would overhaul the federal background check system, a measure that also contains an NRA-backed provision to allow states to honor concealed carry permits from other states. Senate Democrats, however, oppose the latter and say the former would be even less than a modest improvement of the status quo.