On the day after President Donald Trump held a listening session at the White House for survivors of the mass shooting in Florida last week, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said that the administration remains in a "listening phase" regarding firearms and safety measures but is not ready to propose legislative action. "The president is proposing ideas -- he's listening right now," Shah told reporters on Thursday during the White House press briefing. 

Shah also told reporters that the Trump administration will examine mental illness when reassessing protocols for background checks carried out for gun purchases. However, Shah said that Trump is not considering a ban on semi-automatic firearms. Trump tweeted on Thursday, “I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks!” The president did not offer more details.

Earlier in the day, President Trump tweeted the suggestion that civilians who are "adept at guns" could receive training and protect schools from armed attacks by carrying concealed weapons. Shah emphasized that Trump would like to see up to 40 percent of school employees trained and armed, and also receive bonuses. "When you have a horrific shooting like you had last week and some other school shootings that we've seen - these horrible tragedies - what we think and don't think is practical can change," Shah said. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 3.1 million full-time teachers in elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

President Trump has directed the Department of Justice to come up with regulations to ban devices that allow legal, semi-automatic firearms to fire at nearly the rate of automatic weapons, such as so-called bump stocks. Trump has mentioned the possibility of imposing age limits for some gun sales, a point on which he differs with the NRA. Trump supports 21 as a minimum age for gun purchases, while the NRA is opposed. 

Also on Thursday, Trump said that he is opposed to active shooter drills in schools. Shah said on Thursday that Trump believes the term "active shooter drill" is too frightening. "Safety drills" would be more appropriate, Shah said. In addition, Shah said that Trump would support any incumbent Republican who support his firearms proposals should they face challenges from primary challengers supported by the NRA. 



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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