White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday said that President Donald Trump is “still supportive of the concept” of raising the age of gun ownership to 21, despite the President leaving the proposal out of a discussion of school safety earlier in the day.
“Something is still being discussed but a final determination and legislative piece has not been determined on that front yet,” Sanders said of the proposal at a press conference, adding: “In terms of the concept, there’s still support for that, but how it would be implemented and what that might look like is still very much part of the discussion.”
Trump met with governors at the White House Monday and discussed various steps he would support to prevent more mass school shootings like the one that occurred at Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. He made no mention, as he did last week, of raising the age of purchase to 21.
He also revealed at the same event that he’d had lunch with National Rifle Association’s CEO, top lobbyist and general counsel over the weekend. Sanders confirmed the lunch, which she said was on Sunday, and called it “a productive conversation.”
Two more reporters brought up the age limit proposal later in the briefing.
“The President was pretty forthright about this in the onset and now you just said that it is something that is still being discussed,” a reporter asked. “It feels like a little bit of a downgrade. Why the downgrade? And to those who would say, well, he had lunch with the NRA over the weekend, did the NRA get ahold of him?”
“I don’t think it’s at all a downgrade,” Sanders replied. “I think we’re talking specifically about implementation and what this process would look like, what specific pieces of legislation might look like and we haven’t seen those yet so it would be premature for us to weigh in. But as I said the President is still supportive of the concept.”
The Daily Mail’s Francesca Chambers later noted the NRA lunch and asked, referring to the purchase age proposal, “It does seem like there was a softening of the stance from the President between what we heard last week and what we’re hearing now today. And at this point, is the President firmly committed to that if he can see it in a legislative form?
“Again, we haven’t seen the legislation in form yet and so we are not going to speak to potential legislation that doesn’t exist that may have a lot of different nuanced language,” Sanders said. “In concept, the President still supports it. But in terms of legislation, we’d need to see what that looks like before we weigh in further.”