Reversing an earlier position, President Trump embraced the National Rifle Association’s agenda of armed teachers and incremental improvements to the background check system. Trump blamed a lack of political support for his abandoning the idea of raising the age limit to buy rifles.
President Trump abandoned his promise to work for gun control measures opposed by the National Rifle Association, embracing its agenda of armed teachers and incremental improvements to the background check system, the New York Times reports. After the Florida high school massacre, Trump called on live television for raising the age limit to purchase rifles and backed 2013 legislation for near-universal background checks. On Monday, it was the president who seemed to knuckle under, again dramatizing the sway that the NRA still maintains in Republican circles. Students are planning to march on Washington on March 24. Still, Trump cited a lack of political support for raising the age limit to purchase rifles, which is not evident in public opinion polls but is very much evident in his party.
He said his administration was studying the age issue and suggested that states should decide whether to prohibit people under 21 from buying the kind of assault weapon used by the gunman who rampaged through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl. The president’s retreat is a stark reminder that the gun debate remains stuck where it has been for more than a decade. Despite scores of deaths from mass shootings, Republican lawmakers fear the NRA’s ability to stir up opposition in their districts. They oppose new gun restrictions, and even a Republican president with an unconventional approach is unlikely to challenge the status quo in an election year. Only one gun-related measure, on background checks, seems likely to pass this year. Critics noted that it would only enforce existing law. In the face of NRA opposition, the president retreated from his earlier openness to expanded background checks and a renewal of the expired ban on assault weapons.