The Trump administration unveiled a daring plan to do virtually nothing about guns in its new plan to act like it’s doing something about school shootings. The package of proposals backs off Trump’s earlier statement that he would call for the age to buy long guns to be raised to 21 (already the minimum age for handguns) and instead supports some very modest legislative actions, as well as a pledge to train school staff to carry concealed handguns. But only if they want to, so that’s a relief, isn’t it? The plan will also set up a commission, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, to be tasked with suggesting ways of making schools safer without upsetting the National Rifle Association or its voter base in the least.
DeVos said Sunday that the administration’s inaction plan would include “steps that can be taken right away to help protect students”:
“Far too often the focus has been only on the most contentious fights — the things that have divided people and sent them into their entrenched corners,” she continued. “But the plan that we’re going to advance and talk about is a pragmatic plan to dramatically increase school safety and to take steps to do so right away.”
The commission, CNN notes, is expected to prepare an official report “within one year.”Sen. John Cornyn’s itty-bitty package of improvements to the national instant background checks system, the “Fix NICS” bill, which would tighten requirements for law enforcement agencies to report criminal convictions to the FBI. It’s a good but very incremental step, except it doesn’t close the gun show (or private sale) loophole and the House insists it be paired with national concealed carry reciprocity, which literally could not be a worse response.
The White House also backs the “STOP School Violence Act,” which would train educators and staff to recognize warning signs and develop anonymous ways to intervene before threats become deadly. That one’s supported by Sandy Hook Promise, so we’re good with it.actually a good idea, although few states have them in place yet. And despite that stupid thing Trump said a while back, such laws would involve due process before taking anyone’s guns. (Hey, kids, is this list looking like it was written with zero input from the Great Man Himself?)
Oh, yes, and the plan also calls for improvements in mental health screening and treatment, including “increased integration of mental health, primary care, and family services,” as long as that can be achieved while funding for healthcare gets slashed.
And that’s it for the very modest good ideas in the plan! Now let’s look at the doing nothing/worse than nothing stuff:
The big one is of course the one thing Donald Trump thinks is the absolute neatest: arming and training teachers and other school staff who want to be able to shoot back. The White House wants to coordinate with states to provide “rigorous firearms training” to those volunteer gunsels. Maybe if it’s really good training, armed teachers might hope to approach the NYPD’s ability of hitting their target in gunfights 18 percent of the time and never, ever hit a student in the middle of a panic. Oh, yes, and the administration wants to help retired police and combat veterans who want to have guns on campus get teaching jobs.
Say, does the plan include a penny of funding for arming and training all these teachers? Hahaha, you ask such silly questions! Of course not!
If you ask us, the best screening for such a plan would be to identify the people in any school who are most gung-ho about having a gun on them at all times and being able to take down a shooter, bam! just like that, and then making sure they never get their hands on a gun.
And then there’s the Great Big Commission on School Violence, which will study all sorts of things we could maybe do to reduce the threat of school shootings. This is where Trump’s earlier call to raise the age for buying rifles ended up — as one of several things the commission might look at. To give you an idea of just how serious this commission would be, it would also examine “current entertainment rating systems [and] youth consumption of violent entertainment.” Maybe the commission could call for an end to abortion, since America needs a culture that values life, too. Oh, and since private schools have so few mass shootings, maybe just end public education.
The commission would also assess more potentially useful things like improved school design and security and programs to address “threat assessment and violence prevention.” But there’s one thing it won’t address: any suggestion that easy access to guns could be a problem, because obviously mass shootings are unrelated to the popularity of high-powered semiautomatic assault-style rifles with high capacity magazines.