Archive for Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Trump pledges action on school shootings, discusses arming teachers

February 21, 2018


Washington — Spilling out wrenching tales of lost lives and stolen security, students and parents appealed to President Donald Trump on Wednesday to set politics aside and protect America’s school children from the scourge of gun violence. Trump listened intently to the raw emotion and pledged action, including the possibility of arming teachers.

“I turned 18 the day after” the shooting, said a tearful Samuel Zeif, a student at the Florida high school where a former student’s assault left 17 dead last week. “Woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don’t understand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war. An AR. How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How do we not stop this after Columbine? After Sandy Hook?”

Trump promised to be “very strong on background checks.” And he suggested he supported allowing some teachers and other school employees to carry concealed weapons to be ready for intruders. But largely he listened, holding handwritten notes bearing his message to the families. “I hear you” was written in black marker.

The president had invited the teen survivors of school violence and parents of murdered children in a show of his resolve against gun violence in the wake of last week’s shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and in past years at schools in Connecticut and Colorado. The latest episode has prompted a renewed and growing call for stronger gun control.

Trump invited his guests to suggest solutions and solicited feedback. He did not fully endorse any specific policy solution, but pledged to take action and expressed interest in widely differing approaches.

Besides considering concealed carrying of weapons by trained school employees, a concept he has endorsed in the past, he said he planned to go “very strongly into age, age of purchase.” And he said he was committed to improving background checks and working on mental health.

Most in the group were emotional but quiet and polite.

But Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed last week, noted the previous school massacres and raged over his loss, saying this moment isn’t about gun laws but about fixing the schools.

“It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it and I’m pissed. Because my daughter, I’m not going to see again,” said Pollack. “King David Cemetery, that is where I go to see my kid now.”

A strong supporter of gun rights, Trump has nonetheless indicated in recent days that he is willing to consider ideas not in keeping with National Rifle Association orthodoxy, including age restrictions for buying assault-type weapons. Still, gun owners are a key part of his base of supporters.

The NRA quickly rejected any talk of raising the age for buying long guns to 21.

“Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving them of their constitutional right to self-protection,” the group said in a statement.

Over 40 people assembled in the White House State Dining Room. Among them were students from Parkland along with their parents. Also present were parents of students killed in massacres at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Students and parents from the Washington area also were present.

The student body president at the Parkland school, Julia Cordover, tearfully told Trump that she “was lucky enough to come home from school.”

She added: “I am confident you will do the right thing.”

Not all the students impacted by the shooting came to the White House.

David Hogg, who has been one of the students actively calling for gun control was invited but declined, said his mother Rebecca Boldrick.

“His point was (Trump needs) to come to Parkland, we’re not going there,” she said.

Throughout the day Wednesday, television news showed footage of student survivors of the violence marching on the Florida state Capitol, calling for tougher laws. The protests came closer to Trump, too, with hundreds of students from suburban Maryland attending a rally at the Capitol and then marching to the White House.

Inside the executive mansion, Trump said at the end of an hour listening to tales of pain and anguish, “Thank you for pouring out your hearts because the world is watching and we’re going to come up with a solution.”

Television personality Geraldo Rivera had dinner with Trump at his private Palm Beach club over the weekend and described Trump as “deeply affected” by his visit Friday with Parkland survivors. In an email, Rivera said he and Trump discussed the idea of raising the minimum age to purchase assault-type weapons.

Trump “suggested strongly that he was going to act to strengthen background checks,” Rivera said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said Wednesday they would introduce a bill to raise the minimum age required to purchase rifles from gun dealers, including assault weapons such as the AR-15.

“A kid too young buy a handgun should be too young to buy an #AR15,” Flake said on Twitter. A buyer must be 21 to purchase a handgun.

The NRA did not respond to a request for comment. Trump embraced gun rights during his presidential campaign, though he supported some gun control before he became a candidate, backing an assault weapons ban and a longer waiting period to purchase a gun in a 2000 book.

On Tuesday, Trump directed the Justice Department to move to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre. The White House has also said Trump was looking at a bill that would strengthen federal gun background checks.

But those moves have drawn criticism as being inadequate, with Democrats questioning whether the Justice Department even has authority to regulate bump stocks and arguing that the background check legislation would not go far enough.

The department said its review of whether bump stocks are federally prohibited is ongoing but did not say how Trump’s order would affect that.

An effort to pass bump stock legislation last year fizzled out.

On background checks, Trump has suggested he is open to a bipartisan bill developed in response to a mass shooting at a Texas church. It would penalize federal agencies that don’t properly report required records and reward states that comply by providing them with federal grant preferences.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said the bill is “a small step,” stressing that Democrats want to see universal background check legislation.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said Wednesday that he’ll probably reintroduce bipartisan legislation that would require background checks for all gun purchases online and at gun shows. He said he planned to discuss the idea with Trump.

That bill first emerged with backing from Toomey and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia following the 2012 slaying of 26 children and adults in Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. It failed then and at least one more time since.


Michael Kort 1 month, 3 weeks ago

So, why doesn't TRUMP arm the White House Staff and the Congress and their Congressional Staffs and tell the Secret Service and the Capitol Police, etc., to go and find a new line of work elsewhere ?

In the name of protecting the rights of the mentally ill to get weapons ( TRUMP overturned an OBAMA executive order making it hard for the mentally ill to get guns ) shouldn't the Wasshington D.C. ( District of Collusion ) Hypocrites like TRUMP and his CONGRESS live by the conditions that they would sugguest onto others that they claim to represent ?

Our Republican leaders live in a protective bubble world and they don't get it ! ..............or what they do get, those corrupting campaign contributions !

Are they really going to arm ministers and churches all over the country with guns, body armor and flack helmets ?, country musicians and concert goers with long guns, scopes and body armor ?.............the arms manufacturers of the NRA would love that !.........Money, Money, Money, Money,........MONEY !

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

There were things in place long before Obama's executive order so don't give the king that credit.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Take the hysteria down a notch, Michael. You're frightening the horses.

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Looks like you're the only one frightened.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Not frightened for myself. Michael might do himself a mischief with all that vein-popping rage.

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Bob's not frightened he just misspoke. He didn't mean horses he met tools.

Tracy Rogers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

He had a fricking card reminding him to say "I hear you" ??? Are you kidding?

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Michael and Tracy highlight part of the reason we can’t enact sensible gun violence solutions. Trump is out there listening to the people, he has committed to banning bump stocks, floats the idea of arming teachers as part of a package of ideas including more funding for and better background checks.

All good stuff but all Michael and Tracy can do his to attack Trump without adding constructively to the discussion. Like many politicians they don’t want solutions they want a political fight.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Wouldn't it be better just to simply ban what are obviously weapons not designed for self defense, including assault weapons? And how is an 18 year old assumed to act responsibly with an assault weapon? Neuroscience has shown that some parts of the brain, especially those involved in decision-making, don't mature until a person is in his/her early 20s.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

P - how do you distinguish between a weapon designed for self defense and one that isn’t? I have an AR 15 that I bought for self defense. My hunting rifles are designed for hunting and not self defense so ban them?

As for your other comment, I will let a tweet I posted this morning address it.

The human brain doesn’t develop fully until we reach 20 something so no prob with raising to 21 with exceptions - military full ownership n exceptions for hunting and competition shooting.

Sharilyn Wells 1 month, 3 weeks ago

why do you need a weapon meant for war? Other countries are not armed to the teeth and they have way less murders look at the united kingdom

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I don’t. The AR was and always has been a civilian weapon. Educate yourself if you’re going to debate the issue.

Again, educate yourself. We are not other countries. We have a 2nd amendment- they don’t. Want to ban all weapons like other countries then repeal the second amendment otherwise respect it as a right and law just like you expect others to respect your rights and abide by the law.

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"The AR-15 was designed above all else to be a lightweight assault rifle, and to fire a new lightweight, high-velocity small caliber cartridge to allow the infantrymen to carry more ammunition."

Opening line. Infantrymen, not civilians.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Read the rest of the story. It failed, was sold to Colt who had to redesign it and its new design was the M16 which was sold to the military. Colt kept the name for its new line of civilian semiauto rifles. The AR 15 was never used by the militaryColt rebranded it the Colt ArmaLite AR-15. Colt marketed the redesigned AR-15 rifle various military services around the world and it was subsequently adopted by the United States military as the M16 Rifle, which went into production in March 1964.[4][7] Colt continued to use the AR-15 trademark for its line of semi-automatic-only rifles marketed to civilian and law-enforcement customers, known as Colt AR-15. The Armalite AR-15 is the parent of a variety of Colt AR-15 & M16 rifle variants.

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Just because it failed does not mean it was not used. It has not always been a civilian rifle.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Tell me then when the military used it? The AR 15 was not used by the military.

Tracy Rogers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

That's all fine and dandy, I'm glad he's saying he's going to do something. I'd just like to hear his explanation of why he had a card with "I hear you" on it. Is that so unreasonable?

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Does it really matter? Is it a bad thing if he used it as a reminder to listen and not speak as Trump is apt to get caught up in the moment and speak without listening?

Tracy Rogers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Yeah I think it's a bad thing to have to be reminded to be a decent human being. But that's just my opinion.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Ask yourself does attacking him for the card and focusing your comments on it help or hurt the conversation looking for solutions?

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

So he's above reproach because that wouldn't be "productive"? Where was this attitude during the Obama administration?

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The explanation would certainly save lives, right?

Scott Burkhart 1 month, 3 weeks ago

He had a card with some notes about gun violence statistics and also about preventive measures. There was no card that said "I hear you." That is another lie put out there on websites that only people like you visit.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Except...he's not really listening.

These groups are saying 'Do X! Do it now', and his response is 'Well how about we try Y and pretend like no one even said X.'

That's not real empathy or consideration...that's a photo op he tried to use.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Maybe, but if you start with that premise then there isn’t any chance to give him the opportunity to do the right thing.

Trump is a simple man. Praise him when he says the right thing and you will motivate him to follow through. Attack him and he will through a tantrum and not do it out of spite.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"Trump is a simple man."

Finally, something we agree on.

"Praise him when he says the right thing and you will motivate him to follow through."

But he hasn't said the right thing though...that's the point. These victims and their families are clearly saying 'We need less guns' and his response is 'yes, but have you considered MORE guns?'

That's the reaction of someone who isn't actually listening to a word these people are saying.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Trump has said he wants to ban bump stocks, enhance and fund the background check system, and consider raising the age for gun ownership. I think these are “right things.”

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Yes, that is the absolute bare minimum he could do.

We'll see if those are platitudes or if he'll actually take action on them.

That said, he's still flat out ignoring the primary thing these groups are saying though...which is what I'm talking about.

Greg Cooper 1 month, 3 weeks ago

And I'll put money on the bet that Chump didn't have any original thought about those phrases, but that his speechwriters put them in front of him so he could sound sympathetic. The man has not shown me an ounce of empathy, sympathy, or human understanding. So, feel warm and fuzzy about the people in the background.

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Is he? Do you think he can remember a single thing anyone said to him while he was there?

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I bought an Armalite rifle while the scary weapons ban was in effect. It doesn't have a bayonet lug or a flash hider. Other than those two things, it is functionally identical to rifles made before and after the scary weapons ban.

Richard Aronoff 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Regarding armed security for the White House and Congress: the White House is covered by armed secret service personnel; the Congress is covered by armed capitol police officers. It is a well known fact that former Sen. Harry Reid carried concealed wherever he went.

Money? Between 1997 and 2017, the NRA made $200 million in political contributions -- $10 million a year. (HRC and the DNC paid more for the Steele Dossier.) In 2017 alone, labor unions made over one billion dollars in contributions.

Note card?

The first order of business should be securing schools. Adopting the Israeli policy for securing schools would be a very good start. At the same time, those things that are required to be reported to the background check database should be expanded

Protective bubble? Every celebrity who talks about banning guns has armed security.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

There are too many armed Liberals.

Harden the schools like banks are, like ACLU rallies are.

Keep the bad guys out of schools.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The lefts response to the Florida tragedy is so predictable ... Do away with "Assault Weapons".

Semi-automatic rifles "Shoot Fast" ... ban them!

I do not believe that many non-gun owners understand that the vast majority of the handguns purchased by the population are also semi-automatic. If take the "feel good" step of banning the private legal ownership of semiautomatic rifles, the next inevitable step would be banning semi-automatic handguns.

Before we work to infringe on the populations right to keep and bear arms, best to reflect on the actions of past and current dictators ... Job 1 of any budding tyrant is to disarm the population. We might also notice that resource rich countries around the globe, populated by peace-loving people, are still at 3rd world status because the power hungry elite in those countries control all the weapons.

Finally,we should be consistent with our desire to infringe on Constitutional rights.

Can we deny the citizens the Constitutional right to protect themselves because disturbed teens are slaughtering other teens ... and then have a hissy-fit when the local government imposes Stop & Frisk policy?

Is stripping the rights from legal gun owners equivalent to insisting that irrational/emotionally disturbed people - like several of the regular contributors to the LJW Comments section - be automatically investigated, put on a no-guns lists, or locked away because they MAY pose a risk to themselves or others?

BTW ... Mr. Knee Jerk (above) should compare the NRA's contribution, which so outrages him, to the various contributors to HRC's $1.1 BILLION Presidential war chest.

Andrew Dufour 1 month, 3 weeks ago

We accept reasonable regulations of literally every other right we have, why is the 2nd amendment considered so untouchable to some. Restricting the type of weapons is not different from restricting the type of speech that is acceptable or having libel/slander laws, or having laws that prevent felons from voting.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Are you serious? No other right is more regulated than the 2nd amendment

Tell me one other right where you have to do the following to exercise.

Pay a fee for a background check, complete an affidavit and pass a background check. Sure there are some exceptions but the majority of people buying guns buy them from a dealer. And in some states you have to be fingerprinted, pass a background check and take training at your expense to carry it concealed.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The right to vote.

Not the exact same process, obviously, but also highly regulated...especially in swing states when the GOP controls their state government.

Richard Aronoff 1 month, 3 weeks ago

From the land of very strict gun control:

Please note this is from ABC news. NPR, among other MSM outlets, is also reporting it. Also note that the weapon used was a hunting rifle.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Let us know when they have have another 33 mass shootings to catch up to our numbers for 2018 so far alone.

Beverly Stauffer Thrower 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the party that gutted mental health care programs in the 80s, tried to prevent having mental health services covered as part of Obamacare, and that (in Kansas at least) doesn't want to adequately fund schools and pay teachers, is falling back on "more mental health services!" and "Arm the teachers!" in this situation? We already have a severe and growing teacher shortage. Asking teachers to become armed security guards in addition to everything else they already do for our kids is asinine. All of this name-calling gets us nowhere. It's time for our elected officials to grow up, work together and DO SOMETHING. Our future is on the line. P.S. Before you call me a gun-hating Liberal, know that I am a gun-owning Liberal. We need mental health funding, we need a background check system that's built for the 21st century, we need ALL gun purchases to require a background check, and we need to allow the CDC to study the root causes of gun violence.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Cruz was checked out by the government.

He passed with flying colors.

Your fantasy sounds typical and moves your fellow travelers to an emotional feeding frenzy.

In this emotional feeding frenzy, should fellow travelers be armed?

Michael Kort 1 month, 3 weeks ago

TRUMP is going to do something ?........just like he did after Las Vegas ? and the Texas Church shooting ?

Is this another plan like his 1.5 Trillion $ Federal Infrastructure Pan that his government is offering to fund only 2 / 15 Ths of ?............( you the people can come up with the remaining 13 / 15 Ths ) which all of the fools looked forward to hearing about, while the Republicans Congress was cutting taxes and dealing with the "harder issues" of life like ? ........of course his 25 cent per gallon proposed gas tax will certainly bring joy to motorists who can pay for their imaginary tax cuts as they drive their cars .

These Florida kids had to dodge bullets for their lives.......and now the TRUMPSTER is going to Listen Them To Death like a good politician on the Manufacturers take ?

So who do we arm next ? The greeters at Walmart ? The drive up workers at Mc Donalds ? The sackers at the grocery store ?........lots of guns to be sold ? !.......welcome to the Middle East........ right here in America !.........we just need to find two American groups to declare war appon each other, here in our armed to the teeth country ?

The history of the AR-15 is all over the Internet for would be knowledgables, which is a great way redirect the discussion of the basic designe of the AR-15s lethality ( and the various knock offs of the basic lightweight design of the AR-15 that have morphs around as this or that gun ) and to ignore how efficiently that basic design of guns can kill people ( can't see the forest for the trees ? )

Michael Kort 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Thank God that our constitution wasn't written in 2000 because it might have include " The Right To Board An Airplane Unscreened " ! ....... and some " obsessive compulsive souls " would insist on not changing that 2000 constitution, no matter what the death toll or loss of expensive buildings was, ......because......... people die, ........buildings fall......... but the rules of anything are " forever " .

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

You think we should all rely on the police to protect us? "...Armed sheriff's deputy stayed outside Florida school while mass killing took place..."

Scott Burkhart 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Regardless of how you feel about semi automatic weapons, the moment a right is surrendered it is gone forever. There is no getting it back. Today it's AR-15s and then tomorrow they're saying, "We tried just banning AR-15s and that didn't work. We'll just have to take them all." Take a look at history and what happened to the millions of people that surrendered their guns to Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. No thank you.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

This is why non-Liberals, people not under the influence of the Liberal gene, wrote the second amendment in the Constitution.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

One topic I haven’t heard discussed is stolen guns. Many crimes are committed with stolen guns. I suspect the penalty for stealing a gun is not very severe so let’s refiew the, and make the penalty 25 years without parole for stealing, selling or possessing a stolen gun. Proglably wont deter but will get the criminals off the street for 25 years.

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