White House ready to endorse plan for improving school safety

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President Donald Trump has called for bold action to improve school safety after last month’s Parkland shooting, but a set of proposals the White House formally plans to endorse on Monday leaves most authority for reform up to the states and for consideration by a new federal commission led by Secretary of Education Betsy Devos.

The only pieces of legislation Trump is set to endorse formally are two bills he’s previously backed: The FIX NICS Bill, which calls for making improvements to the nation’s background check system, and the STOP School Violence Act, which would provide grants to states in developing anti-school-violence plans. The White House has previously expressed support for both measures.

Additionally, the White House is calling for an audit and review of the FBI tip line, directing the Department of Justice to partner with willing states to train qualified school personnel and calling for a review of expanding mental-health programs and patient-privacy laws.

The White House is also calling on states to pass risk-protection orders that allow law enforcement to remove firearms from individuals who are a demonstrated threat to themselves or others and temporarily prevent those individuals from buying new firearms.

These proposals will be released with little fanfare on Monday, with no specific White House event planned around the occasion.

While Trump has previously suggested he supports universal background checks on all firearm purchases, a senior official explained that the president is supporting the narrow FIX NICS Bill for now is a matter of practicality.

“The president wants to improve our background check system — we want to act now, we don’t want to wait,” a senior administration official said. “We believe that this legislation is important and useful in improving the background check system and can pass virtually immediately if there’s not obstruction in Congress.”

As for the potential for further action on background checks, the official said “that’s something we’ll discuss in the commission.”

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