â€śWeâ€™re going to get things done.â€ť So said President Trump last month assuring students, teachers and parents affected by school shootings of his resolve to find solutions to gun violence.
â€śYouâ€™re afraid of the NRA.â€ť That was Trump the following week,chastising members of his own party for not backing age restrictions on gun purchases as he challenged lawmakers to pass â€ścomprehensiveâ€ť gun control and stand up to the gun lobby.
Now hereâ€™s Trump when it comes to backing up his statements:
Yes, once again Trumpâ€™s brave words prove to be meaningless as the White House unveils exactly what Trump wants to do about guns.
â€śTiny baby steps designed not to upset the NRA,â€ť said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. That sums up the administrationâ€™s proposal unveiled Sunday in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida The plan, if you can call it that, is centered on a promise (no money or details) to help provide firearms training to school employees, a controversial idea long favored by the National Rifle Association but opposed by most teachers and school officials.
Trump also endorsed some modest improvements in background checksthat are the subject of bipartisan legislation now before Congress. Otherwise, nothing: not the universal background checks that are needed, no ban on weapons of war, not even an increase in the legal age to buy certain weapons, something Trump had said made sense but seems to have abandoned in the face of NRA opposition.
â€śNot much political support (to put it mildly),â€ť he tweeted Monday. Never mind that recent polls show public support for raising the age to 21. Or that big-name retailers (Walmart and Dickâ€™s Sporting Goods) have been applauded for voluntarily making the change. Or that even the gun-friendly state of Florida just raised its age limit. Or that a true leader might do the right thing and try to generate political support.
Trumpâ€™s establishment instead of a federal commission to study school safety would be laughable if it were not so insulting to the student survivors and victimsâ€™ families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who have so eloquently laid out the urgency of action. Not only has Trump made clear his disdain for such commissions as a way to avoid fixing problems, but also his appointment of struggling Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as its head doesnâ€™t inspire confidence in the outcome.
More importantly, Trump seems not to understand that gun violence is not limited to schools, nor that mass shootings are but one part of a problem that also includes too many lives lost to domestic killings, suicides and unintentional shootings. Three women were gunned down Friday night at a California veterans home by a gunman who then turned the gun on himself. A 9-year-old girl in Milwaukee died Saturday after she was accidentally shot by her brother. And on Sunday there was a reminder of the horror of the countryâ€™s deadliest shooting - not in a school but at an outdoor musical festival - with The Postâ€™s account of a womanâ€™s struggle to recover from the terrible wounds she received from a gunman using a military gun with military bullets. Such weapons, of course, go unmentioned in Trumpâ€™s plan.
As weâ€™ve said before, if Congress waits for leadership from this White House, it will wait forever.