On Sunday night, March 11, 2018, the Trump administration suggested providing certain school personnel with “rigorous” firearms training and supported a bill that would improve criminal background checks for those who wish to purchase firearms. The White House, however, backed away from the idea of raising the buying age to 21 for certain firearms, a policy President Donald J. Trump claimed he would support.
The many proposals included a plan to establish a commission chaired by Betsy DeVos, the education secretary. The commission will recommend funding and policy suggestions for violence prevention in schools. There is not a set timeline for the commission to report its findings, although an official was hopeful for a year.
DeVos said that on Sunday, they were announcing actions that were meaningful and were steps that could be taken immediately. The White House will advance a pragmatic plan that will dramatically increase school security right away.
At a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump made it clear that he was against Blue Ribbon commissions because all they do it talk. He wants to take action. It was officials in the administration that stressed its importance. Trump said there is a “very cogent argument for having a commission.”
The administration will be working with states on “rigorous” firearms training in specially qualified members of school personnel. This will be voluntary and will include the assistance of the Department of Justice for firearm training and from law enforcement agencies at the state and local level.
There are also plans to support the transition of veterans and retired law enforcement into careers in education. State attorneys general will be encouraged to audit school districts for compliance with state emergency preparedness.
The Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies will partner with state governments for a public awareness campaign modeled after the “See Something, Say Something” anti-terrorism campaign to encourage awareness and reporting of suspicious activity.
The administration is also suggesting the expansion and overhaul of mental health programs. The focus will be on identifying and treating those who could be a threat to themselves or others. The proposal includes integration of mental health, primary care, and family services, as well as programs that are issued by a court order. These things will hopefully keep firearms out of schools.
By Jeanette Smith
10 News: White House proposes arming teachers, backpedals on raising age to buy guns
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