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Trump to propose arming school staff, raising gun purchase age

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Trump to propose arming school staff, raising gun purchase age

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will propose arming school staff and raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase certain firearms in a school safety proposal that the administration will release on Sunday, a White House spokesman said in broadcast comments.

Trump is also likely to back a bipartisan Senate bill that Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy introduced to improve federal compliance with criminal background checks, White House spokesman Raj Shah said on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

A mass shooting in Parkland, Florida last month has renewed a U.S. debate over gun control. Student survivors of the shooting have mobilized to call for stricter gun control laws after the deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A former student is accused of using an assault-style rifle to carry out the massacre.

During his presidential campaign, Trump touted his support for gun rights and was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby group. Since the shooting, he has offered conflicting statements about his views on gun policies, at times calling for new restrictions and at other times rowing back on his comments.

Shah did not say whether Trump’s proposal to raise the minimum age for buying certain arms would be through supporting federal legislation or encouraging states to take it on. Many Republican lawmakers say it should be left to the states. Shah also said there would be a provision that would involve having “trained individuals” in schools, including staff.

On Saturday, the Department of Justice formally submitted a regulation to ban ‘bump stocks,’ a modification to high-capacity rifles that lets them fire like an automatic weapon, that would not need congressional approval. Shooter Stephen Paddock used a bump stock in an October 2017 shooting rampage in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and more than 850 injured.

(Reporting By Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Caren Bohan and Rosalba O’Brien)

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