Trump, marking Parkland anniversary, cites 'tremendous strides' in making schools safer despite repeated shootings

President Donald Trump on Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, in which 17 students and staff were killed, by saying “we honor their memory and recommit to ensuring the safety of all Americans, especially our Nation’s children.”

“Today, as we hold in our hearts each of those lost a year ago in Parkland, let us declare together, as Americans, that we will not rest until our schools are secure and our communities are safe,” the president said in the written message.

The president recalled an emotional listening session he convened at the White House with members of the Parkland community shortly after last year’s tragic shooting and credits the meeting for sparking ideas to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

“We have made tremendous strides,” Trump said, citing the passage of the STOP School Violence Act, Fix NICS Act, and a bump stock regulation issued by his administration as concrete actions that have been taken.

But some of the strongest proposals endorsed by the president in the immediate wake of Parkland last year, including to raise the minimum age for firearm purchases and his proposal to arm teachers – have fallen to the wayside.

The idea of raising the age limit for gun purchases was ultimately rejected by the president’s commission on school safety, which concluded that such a measure would be ineffective in stopping a future school shooting because attackers could obtain guns illegally.

The concept is also firmly opposed by the powerful NRA gun lobby. But last February, Trump urged lawmakers and the nation’s governors not to be intimidated by the gun lobby in taking strong action.

“Don’t worry about the NRA, they are on our side. Half of you are so afraid of the NRA, there is nothing to be afraid of,” the president urged the nation’s governors last February. “If they’re not with you we have to fight them every once in a while, that’s okay.”

There has also been no action on the president’s call to arm teachers, which he frequently repeats, but which faced a backlash from educators, parents and some lawmakers.

On Capitol Hill, the Democratic takeover of the House has produced some change.

On the eve of the Parkland anniversary, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill out of committee to expand background checks by closing a loophole that allows unlicensed gun dealers to sell firearms without conducting a background check.

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