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Despite Uproar, Congressional Republicans Reject New Limits On Guns

Screengrab/Guardian News/YouTube

Neither the president nor high school students were able to sway Republican lawmakers.

In the days following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, President Donald Trump issued a handful of policy ideas that he believes would mitigate further tragedies -- arming school teachers garnering the most media attention.

But the ideas Trump put forward seem to be falling on deaf Republican ears.

Republican leaders of the U.S. Congress said on Tuesday that they would not raise the minimum age for gun buyers, in a sign that one of President Donald Trump’s proposals likely will not get far on Capitol Hill after a deadly Florida school shooting.

“We shouldn’t be banning guns from law-abiding citizens. We should be focusing on making sure that citizens who should not get guns in the first place don’t get those guns,” House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told a news conference.

Ryan also said the president's idea of arming teachers is a decision that should fall to state governments.

Ryan met later in the day with Parkland students, who pushed for a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, as well as other school-safety features, according to Representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents the district.

“This isn’t the last time they they’re going to come to Washington,” Deutch said. “It’s really just the beginning of that effort.”

Congressional Republicans showed some interest in passing firearms legislation late last year, following the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A bill to shore up the national background check system, which failed to detect the church shooter, passed the House last December and looks likely to clear the Senate as well.

But Democrats believe that step does not go far enough:

Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said that by itself would not be adequate. He called for Congress to expand the background check system to cover all gun sales, including those conducted at gun shows and over the internet.

That legislation has failed in Congress twice over the past five years, and it fell short again in the House on Tuesday as Republicans rejected an effort by Democrats to bring it up for a vote.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president does not back universal background checks.