President Donald Trump flexed his political muscle last week, pushing Congress for a “comprehensive” approach to addressing gun violence.
During a televised meeting last Wednesday, Trump even accused lawmakers of being “petrified” of the gun lobby and afraid of the NRA.
While many pushing for our nation’s gun laws to be tightened were stunned and encouraged by the president’s tough talk, others feared his resolve to get something done would be fleeting.
A day later, Trump met with NRA leaders, and they emerged calling it a great meeting. Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s lobbying group, tweeted, “POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control.”
So, it’s unclear exactly where Trump stands on gun reform. His spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told reporters that Trump supports the Second Amendment and he’s interested in improving the background-check system.
Whether the president is truly committed to reforms remains to be seen, but we hope he follows through on the important ones: raising the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21, getting universal background checks for gun purchases, and banning “bump-stock” devices that enable guns to fire like automatic weapons.
There’s broad public support for action, according to a recent CBS News poll, which found 65 percent of Americans support stricter laws covering the sale of guns.
We have to take steps to curb the massacres that have been playing out at schools, concerts and nightclubs, the most recent being the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that claimed 17 lives.
In that vein, Trump is also pushing for increased school security and more mental health resources, which makes sense but are slashed in his current budget proposal. His plan to have gun-adept teachers bring their guns into the classroom should be approached with caution. Only teachers with licenses and training, and who want to bring their weapon, should even be considered.
Of course, there’s more that needs to be done.
Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old accused in the mass shooting in Florida, had serious problems, and law enforcement was warned on several occasions he was a ticking time bomb. Those warnings fell through the cracks, which is unacceptable. And there are also reports emerging that law enforcement waited to go into the building as the massacre was occurring. That, too, is unacceptable.
We need to figure out where the system is broken and to take steps to prevent other tragedies like this, tackling everything from gun control to school safety issues along the way.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.