Trump Claims ‘Not Much Political Support’ For Raising Gun Purchase Age

U.S. President Donald J. Trump returns to The White House in Washington, DC, after attending a political rally in western Pennsylvania, March 10, 2018. Credit: Chris Kleponis / Polaris
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President Donald Trump on Monday claimed that there is “not much political support” for a proposal to raise the purchase age for firearms, a month after a 19-year-old allegedly opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people.

“States are making this decision,” Trump tweeted.

Trump initially voiced support for raising the age of purchase for firearms to 21 years in the wake of the Valentine’s Day mass shooting.

Senior executives from the National Rifle Association reportedly asked the President at a lunch later in February to reconsider his position on the idea. In a televised meeting with lawmakers a few days later, however, Trump told them to “think about” raising the age and mocked Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) when he hesitated at the proposal, telling him “You’re afraid of the NRA.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in March hedged that Trump was simply interested in the “concept” of raising the age of purchase for “some weapons,” and said that the President knew “there’s not a lot of broad support for that.”

After Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) last week signed a bill into law raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 years, the National Rifle Association sued the state of Florida over that part of the legislation on the same day.

The White House on Sunday unveiled a school safety plan without any commitment to support raising the minimum age of purchase for firearms. Instead, the White House announced, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will lead a new commission that will examine the proposal.