While speaking to students, parents, and teachers this week, Donald Trump vowed to take action to better protect country’s children from gun violence.
The president made the comments during a listening session Wednesday at the White House, where he met with individuals affected by high-profile school shootings, including Columbine, Sandy Hook, and, most recently, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“We are going to do something about this horrible situation that is going on,” Trump said, according to CNN. “I want to listen, and then after I listen, we are going to get things done.”
The meeting took place exactly one week after 17 people—including 14 students—were fatally shot at a Parkland, Florida high school. One the people who spoke during the listening session was 15-year-old Justin Gruber, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
“I was born into a world where I never got to experience safety and peace. There needs to be a significant change in this country. This has to never happen again,” he told the room. “People should be able to feel like when they go to school it can be safe. There needs to be a change. People need to feel safe. Parents shouldn't have to go through the idea of losing their child.”
Others, including parents who lost their children in the Parkland massacre, shared their heart-wrenching stories with the president, insisting something must be done to fix the country’s ongoing issue with gun violence.
“We as a country failed our children. This shouldn't happen,” said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting. “How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I'm not going to sleep until it is fixed. And Mr. President, we'll fix it. Because I'm going to fix it. I'm not going to rest. My beautiful daughter, I'm never going to see her again. It's simple. Let's fix it.”
Trump, who received an endorsement from the National Rifle Association in 2016, insisted there would be a change; however, it’s unclear what kind of changes he’ll pursue.
On Tuesday, POTUS announced he had directed the Department of Justice “to propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.” These devices are commonly referred to as bump stock, an accessory that was used in the 2017 Las Vegas massacre. Though many consider this a small—but necessary—step, others have said this ban will do little to prevent another school shooting.
In addition to banning bump stocks, Trump has also expressed his support for strengthening background checks for gun purchases, with an increased focus on mental health history.
“We don't want others to go through the kind of pain you have gone through,” Trump said during the listening session. “It wouldn't be right.”