Politics & Policy

White House Backs Away from Increasing Age Restrictions on Gun Purchases

(Mike Theiler/Reiters)
The president’s new school-safety plan wouldn’t raise the age for legally buying a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21, a measure he has repeatedly called for in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

The White House released a school-safety plan Sunday that does not include the increased age restrictions on gun purchases that President Donald Trump repeatedly called for in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

The plan would allocate federal money to cover concealed-carry training for school personnel and create a federal commission to study the impact of increased age requirements and other potential legislative measures. But it does not include any endorsement of legislation that would raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 — a measure Trump advocated during a televised discussion of school safety on March 1.

“Today we are announcing meaningful actions, steps that can be taken right away to help protect students,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Sunday. “Far too often the focus has been only on the most contentious fights — the things that have divided people and sent them into their entrenched corners. But the plan that we’re going to advance and talk about is a pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety and to take steps to do so right away.”

Trump seemed to explain his retreat from increasing gun-buying age limits as a political calculation in a Monday morning tweet.

The National Rifle Association sued the state of Florida on Friday after Governor Rick Scott signed a bill increasing the minimum age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21.