Despite the fact this attempt at dialogue — about what is likely to become a protracted debate over legislation in the coming months — will be criticized and demeaned, possibly by members on both sides of the gun issue, this is a hopeful sign in the wake of the tragic shooting in Florida last week:
NEW: White House on school safety listening session happening later today: President Trump "will hear from students, parents and educators who have directly experienced these horrific tragedies,” including students from Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. pic.twitter.com/M5WvD6m3DG
— ABC News (@ABC) February 21, 2018
Much was made Tuesday about the Florida legislature’s decision to vote down a proposal to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles. Many social media users, proponents of the planned student walk-outs and several using the hashtag “MarchforOurLives, felt the decision not to debate the merits of such a bill was a slap in the face to the grieving students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Others felt the proposal was too quick and emotionally fraught in light of a still-raw community grappling with a shooting that happened merely a week prior.
The legislature instead proposed placing “law enforcement officers in every school in the state,” a measure that would be included as part of a larger education bill the legislature is already considering.
More than half of all Florida schools have officers currently in place that are authorized to carry a weapon on school grounds. The proposal will also reportedly be part of of a U.S. Senate Republican bill that will be released this week.
Trump has already directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to proceed on efforts to ban “bump stocks,” and the listening session, scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon, is intended to help give “a voice” to survivors of school shootings.