The Latest: Sessions points to background check requirements
Mar. 13, 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on White House proposals on addressing gun violence (all times local):
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling state and local officials to make sure they are providing crucial mental health and criminal history information to federal background check systems.
Sessions on Monday directed the FBI to identify localities that are not fully reporting information about arrests and mental health records to federal authorities. Such information could prevent someone from purchasing a gun if discovered during a background check.
Sessions told the FBI that people who can't legally own guns shouldn't be able to pass background checks "simply because information was not available to you."
Sessions in November ordered a review of the FBI's background check system after the Air Force failed to report the criminal history of the gunman who slaughtered more than two dozen people at a Texas church.
President Donald Trump declared not two weeks ago that he would stand up to the National Rifle Association and finally get results on quelling gun violence.
He is now striking a very different tone as he backpedals from his earlier demands for sweeping reforms.
After last month's deadly shooting at a Florida high school, the president advocated for increasing the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon to 21. On Monday, he tweeted there's "not much political support" for that.
Over the weekend, the White House released a limited plan to combat school shootings that leaves the question of arming teachers to states and local communities and sends the age issue to a commission for review.
Trump has mocked such commissions as something of a dead end.
The White House insists President Donald Trump still wants to raise the minimum purchasing age for assault weapons.
In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump initially pushed for the age requirement to be pushed from 18 to 21. But in a proposal unveiled over the weekend by the White House, the potentially divisive requirement was not part of the initial plan.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the change is still a goal and could still happen. But she says "right now the president's primary focus is pushing through things we know that have broad bipartisan support" on school safety,
She is laying the blame on Capitol Hill, saying there is "not broad-based support" in Congress to push forward the assault weapons change.
President Donald Trump says that he is "watching court cases and rulings" before taking action on age limits for purchasing some firearms. He argues that there is "not much political support (to put it mildly)."
Trump tweeted Monday about a White House gun violence plan. The administration has pledged to help states pay for firearms training for teachers and is seeking to improve the background check and mental health systems. But increasing the minimum age to buy assault weapons is going to a new federal commission for study.
Trump publicly favored age limits last month.
He says: "On 18 to 21 Age Limits, watching court cases and rulings before acting. States are making this decision. Things are moving rapidly on this, but not much political support (to put it mildly)."
The White House has unveiled a new plan to prevent school shootings that backs off President Donald Trump's support for increasing the minimum age for purchasing assault weapons to 21.
Instead, a new federal commission on school safety will examine the age issue as part of a package the White House announced Sunday in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month that left 17 dead.
The administration also pledged to help states pay for firearms training for teachers and reiterated its call to improve the background check and mental health systems.