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WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump held a meeting with state and local officials at the White House Thursday to discuss school safety regulations in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland.
Attendees include Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill. The Mayor of Parkland, Christine Hunschofsky, also participated, along with local police, health and education officials.
At the start of the meeting, the president said he listened to the “heartbreaking stories” of mass shooting survivors Wednesday and said he “asked them for their ideas and pledged to them that we would take action.”
“We’re going to take action,” he said.
Part of that action, according to Pam Bondi is to strengthen our state’s Baker Act.
“In Florida it’s called the Baker Act but it’s the Civil Commitment Act and it’s weak,” Bondi told Trump. She said the state is currently rewriting it.
Watch Pam Bondi’s statements here
“We are going to bring in something called the Gun Violence Restraining Order.” That means, she explained, that if someone is civilly committed then law enforcement can come in and take their gun because they are a danger to themselves or others. “When they are taken to the hospital and when they are released, law enforcement will have 72 hours to determine whether they should give those guns back or they can go to a judge and say, ‘Your honor, please keep these guns, we feel this person is still a danger to himself or others.’”
Bondi also spoke about issues with state’s reporting and tips and wants to create an app for kids because so many kids are on social media.
The app will be designed so “kids can automatically send information to one clearinghouse to state law enforcement in Florida.”
Calling the school shooting suspect “a sicko,” the president said “We are going to be focusing very strongly on mental health” and said “part of the problem is that we used to have mental institutions.”
….If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
“Here’s a case of mental health,” he said. “You take a sicko like this guy, he was sick guy — so many signs, and you bring him to a mental health institution, those institutions are largely closed because communities didn’t want them.”
Mr. Trump also suggested a more controversial measure to allow teachers to carry weapons in schools in an effort to prevent mass shootings.
“We have to harden our schools, not soften them up. A gun-free zone to a killer or somebody that wants to be a killer, that’s like going in for the ice cream. Like here I am – take me,” he said.
He added, “Shooters won’t walk into a school if 20% of people have guns.”
He suggested that “highly adept” teachers that do carry “we give them a bonus” adding that armed teachers would need training and should be paid extra money. He backed that up by saying it was “much less expensive than the guards” and would more effective and “look better.”
Earlier Thursday morning, the president tweeted he will be “strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health.”
I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
“Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks,” he said. “Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!”
The president also suggested that active shooter drills like ones conducted across the country are a “very negative thing” and that it “scares kids.”
As the meeting came to a close, the president was asked if he had concerns about teachers with guns making quick judgments in the chaos of a school shooting – he said no, and that they’d be “experts.”
Asked whether he’d provide federal funding for the armed teachers program, he said he would be open to considering such funding for training.
In the session, Mayor Christine Hunschofsky the mayor of Parkland told the president “you have done a great job.”
“You don’t know how much it meant for those students to be heard. That’s a very empowering thing for the students and we appreciate it immensely. This didn’t just happen in a vacuum. There was a whole timeline that led to this,” said Hunschofsky.
She added, “I’m happy there’s such a commitment to action on all the steps taken that could have prevented it.”
The president has since signaled he would be open to raising the age limit of those who can purchase a weapon like the one used in the Parkland shooting. He announced a proposal for the Justice Department to draft regulations that would ban any devices that would turn legal, semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons, also known as “bump stocks.” On Thursday he also said he would be “strongly pushing” for better background checks with an emphasis on mental health, after signaling he would be open to looking into the bipartisan-crafted “Fix NICS” bill on Monday.
Trump on violent crime, gangs
During his remarks Thursday, he also called out California officials for having sanctuary cities. The president said it was a disgrace and called the state a “crime nest” and threatened to pull ICE agents from California for what he explained as their lack of participation in securing the border from Gang violence. “If I pulled ICE out of California, in two months they would be begging for us to come back,” he said. “And you know what? I’m thinking about doing it.”