WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — As the gun control debate continued to roil the United States Congress, the White House said Tuesday it will be ready to roll out policy proposals on school safety by the end of the week.
On Capitol Hill, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Arizona Republican Jeff Flake proposed new legislation on the issue. The bill would raise the age to purchase most assault weapons to 21, and the concept seems to have the backing of President Trump.
“The president still supports raising the age limit to 21 for the purchase of certain firearms,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday, but wouldn’t clarify the details of what the administration would support.
“We’re meeting with bipartisan members of Congress tomorrow,” she continued. “He knows that will be a topic of discussion, he knows not everyone will necessarily agree.”
For starters, the president knows the National Rifle Association is firmly opposed to that idea, likely making it a tougher sell for Congress. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) signaled Tuesday he isn’t supportive of the proposals to impose new restrictions on gun purchases.
“We shouldn’t be banning guns from law-abiding citizens,” he said. “We should be focusing on making sure that citizens who should not get guns in the first place don’t get those guns.”
Instead, Ryan says he’s focused on gaps in background checks, something the House has already approved in the past, and has wider support.
Student survivors of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Florida spent the day meeting with lawmakers in Washington.
“We in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, owe it to these students to act in a real and significant way,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. “They said universal background checks is number one. We agree.”
They also met with Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), a victim of gun violence himself.
“We talked about policy, but really we talked about a lot of shared experience,” Scalise said. “Obviously it got very emotional. Some of the things that they’ve been through are very similar to some of the things that I’ve been through.”
The students also met with Speaker Ryan, telling him they want an assault weapons ban in addition to a ban on high-capacity magazines. Also, they said the wanted the so-called gun show loophole close. Presently, federal law only requires licensed dealers to conduct background checks.