Last week, Donald Trump held a White House meeting on gun violence, especially as it relates to violence in our public schools. He berated members of Congress for being afraid of the NRA, and said it was time for a president to take action. He said he wanted a strong background check system for gun buyers, wanted to raise the age to buy an assault-style rifle to 21, and wanted to arm teachers and other school employees with a gun.
It was a rather effective bit of public relations, and may even have fooled some people into believing Trump was serious about doing something to reduce gun violence. Trump then met with NRA officials the next day, and as expected by many of us, he has backed down from his boasts about being the president who would act.
On Sunday, he released his proposals, and they don't sound much like what he was proposing in that public relations meeting. The only thing he stuck with was arming teachers and school employees -- the one things he proposed that the public was opposed to (see chart below). Most people understand this would just make schools more dangerous for students.
Trump also proposed more money for mental health. But this was not really money designated for treatment. It is money to identify those who might be dangerous, and to make them known to law enforcement. It would not, however, keep the dangerously mentally ill from buying any kind of weapon they want.
Trump also created a "blue ribbon" panel to investigate school violence, to be headed by Education Secretary Betsy De Voss (who has never attended a public school or sent her children to one). This proposal is a joke, since a "blue ribbon" panel is just the way a politician tells us that nothing will be done about a problem.
Trump also lent his support for the Cornyn-Murphy "Fix NICS" bill. That bill would require agencies to do a better job of reporting people who should not be allowed to buy a gun. However, that bill does nothing to plug the holes in the background check law -- holes that allow up to 40% of gun buyers to avoid a background check every year. Trump decided he would NOT strengthen the background check law by closing those holes.
Trump also decided to back down on requiring people to be 21 to purchase an assault-style rifle.
The NRA opposed closing the holes in the background check law and raising the age to buy an assault-style weapon -- and Trump gave in to them. The NRA supports arming teachers and school employees, and Trump agreed with them.
Trump's making fun of politicians who are afraid of the NRA is more than a bit disingenuous. He's been bought and paid for by the NRA, and that's why his "proposals" amount to a lot of nothing (outside of making schools more dangerous).
NBC News / SurveyMonkey Poll -- done between February 26th and 28th of a random national sample of 2,857 adults, with a 2,5 point margin of error.