The school safety commission established by President Trump after the Parkland, Fl., high school shooting will not recommend new age restrictions for the purchase of firearms, reports the Washington Post. The commission concluded there is no evidence that age restrictions reduce the likelihood of school shootings and instead will recommend that states increase safety training for gun owners. The findings are expected to be included in a report by the Federal Commission on School Safety. The commission is headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, though the section about gun restrictions was handled by the Justice Department.
The commission was the White House’s effort to show it was responding to the national outrage over Parkland. At one point, Trump himself suggested he would take on the National Rifle Association and might back new age limits. He quickly reversed course and, six months later, his commission is echoing the mainstream Republican view that no new laws are needed. The Trump panel was controversial because it excluded most proposals for expanded gun restrictions. Rather, its mandate centered on areas such as mental health, youth consumption of violent entertainment and media coverage of mass shootings. It also looked at arming school personnel to bolster security. The White House directed the commission to consider one possible gun restriction: whether age limits should be raised for firearm purchases. Such a policy would require congressional action. Under federal law, a licensed dealer cannot sell a handgun to anyone under 21, and cannot sell a long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, to anyone under 18. Some states have more restrictive rules. After the Parkland shooting, Florida raised the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21.