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How the White House responded to the March for Our Lives rallies

Sarah Chadwick: "This is not a red vs. blue issue"

The White House issued a simple statement Saturday, as hundreds of thousands of people descended on Washington, D.C., New York and cities around the country and world to protest gun violence at March for Our Lives rallies. Mr. Trump is at his club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., this weekend, about 40 miles from the Parkland high school where 17 people were killed last month. 

The president went to his golf club in the area on Saturday, but, like usual, White House aides did not tell the press pool what Mr. Trump was doing there. As of Saturday afternoon, Mr. Trump has yet to issue any comments about the rallies from his Twitter account. 

White House press secretary Lindsay Walters said they "applaud the many courageous young Americans" speaking out Saturday, pointing to what Mr. Trump has done to address gun violence. The omnibus spending bill Mr. Trump signed Friday afternoon — after threatening to veto it — included provisions to strengthen the background check system and fund DOJ resources for stopping school threats. 

On Friday Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions also announced the a new federal rule to ban bump stocks, a device used in last year's Las Vegas shooting that allows legal guns to function like automatic weapons. 

"We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today," Walters said. "Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the president's, which is why he urged Congress to pass the Fix NICS and STOP School Violence Acts, and signed them into law. Additionally, on Friday, the Department of Justice issued the rule to ban bump stocks following through on the president's commitment to ban devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns."  

Mr. Trump has said he wants to be "very strong" on background checks, arm teachers and other campus officials, and perhaps raise the age for purchasing some guns from 18 to 21. But raising the age for gun purchases has little support from Republicans, who control both the House and Senate. The president has said some Republicans are "petrified" of the National Rifle Association, but maintains that the leaders of the NRA are "great people."


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