Trump launches commission to study raising rifle buying age, after saying commissions are useless
President Donald Trump dramatically walked back his plans for gun control Sunday night, announcing that he will push forward on his plan to arm teachers in schools but dropped his call to raise the age to purchase a rifle, the New York Times reported.
Instead, the White House said Trump plans to create a commission to study the impacts of potentially raising the age to purchase a rifle.
The White House’s announcement that he’ll create a commission comes a day after Trump said commissions are not effective at stopping crime.
“Do you think the drug dealers who kill thousands of people during their lifetime, do you think they care who’s on a blue-ribbon committee?” Trump said at a rally Saturday night in Pennsylvania, according to the Washington Post. “The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness.”
The announcement also comes after Trump had multiple meetings with the National Rifle Association — the powerful gun lobby that is against raising the age to purchase rifles — raising questions about whether the NRA influenced Trump’s position.
Just last month, Trump criticized a member of his own party for being “afraid” of the NRA.
“You’re afraid of the NRA,” Trump told Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), after Toomey said a gun control bill he introduced didn’t include a provision raising the age to purchase rifles.
Trump’s gun commission will be led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who supports arming teachers in schools to protect against “potential grizzlies.”
Democrats, for their part, are furious with Trump’s walk back on gun control.
“@WhiteHouse has taken tiny baby steps designed not to upset @NRA when the #gunviolence epidemic demands giant steps be taken,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted Sunday night. “@SenateDems will push to go further: passing universal #backgroundchecks, actual fed legislation on protection orders & a debate on #AssaultWeaponsBan.”
The decision could also be politically perilous.
Polls show a majority of Americans don’t support arming teachers in schools, while a vast majority of Americans do support raising the age to purchase a rifle to 21.