President Donald Trump walked back his stance on gun control in his official plan to address school shootings.
A plan put forth by the White House Sunday supports arming teachers, banning bump stocks, and strengthening background checks, but it does not propose raising the age to buy guns to 21 — something the president previously suggested but that the National Rifle Association strongly opposes.
“It should all be at 21,” Trump said of the legal firearm purchasing age in a meeting with state leaders in late February. “And the NRA will back it.”
Though the president surprised many when he suggested raising the age during a meeting following the Parkland, Fla. shooting that left 17 dead, this official plan from the administration lines up more closely with the views of the gun lobby, which spent more than $30 million on Trump’s presidential campaign.
The White House proposed “red flag” laws that would allow law enforcement officials to remove firearms from people who are deemed a danger to themselves or others in hopes of preventing shootings like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Administration officials described the plan as “pragmatic.” It backs legislation in Congress that would provide more data to the background check system and calls for a ban on accessories like bump stocks that make firearms function more like automatic weapons.
These measures have support on both sides of the aisle. Bump stocks could already be on their way out after the Department of Justice submitted a regulation Saturday to ban them.
Trump’s plan also sets up a blue ribbon commission tasked with addressing underlying issues of school shootings, headed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The announcement came after comments at a Pennsylvania campaign rally Saturday night, where Trump criticized presidential commissions as ineffective.
The effectiveness of raising the age to buy a gun will be considered by the commission DeVos is leading, but the decision to change those gun laws will be left to states in the meantime. Walmart, Kroger, and other retailers have changed their age limits on gun purchases following the Florida shooting.
The president tweeted Monday morning that changing the age limits did not have “much political support (to put it mildly).” This brings the president back into agreement with the NRA’s stance.
Along with the possibility of raising the age for purchasing a gun, the commission will study the effects of factors such as violent video games that contribute to what DeVos called a “culture of violence” in U.S. schools.
On Monday she said that “everything is on the table,” stressing the range of issues that the commission will study when pressed about specifics by NBC. The administration set no deadline for the commission to reach any conclusions.