Trump pulls back from big changes to gun laws after Florida shooting

WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will support a modest set of fixes to gun laws, stepping back from some of the more sweeping changes he had considered after the country's latest mass school shooting, senior officials told reporters on Sunday.

Opting for a plan the administration officials described as "pragmatic," Trump backs legislation proposed in Congress aimed at providing more data for the background check system - a database of people who are not legally allowed to buy guns.

More contentious proposals, such as raising the minimum age for buying guns to 21 from 18, or requiring background checks for guns bought at gun shows or on the internet, will be studied by a commission headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the officials said.

The Justice Department will also provide an unspecified amount of grants to states that want to train teachers to carry guns in school - an idea already in place in a small number of states, and backed by the National Rifle Association gun rights lobby.

Trump has said he believes armed teachers would deter school shootings and better protect students when they happen.

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President Trump's bi-partisan meeting with lawmakers on gun reform
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President Trump's bi-partisan meeting with lawmakers on gun reform
U.S. President Donald Trump announces that the United States will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum during a meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Flanked by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) U.S. President Donald Trump meets with bi-partisan members of Congress to discuss school and community safety in the wake of the Florida school shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump receives a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School bracelet from Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) as Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) passes it over during a meeting with bipartisan members of Congress to discuss school and community safety in the wake of the Florida school shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Chairman, CEO and President of Nucor John Ferriola and U.S. Steel CEO Dave Burritt flank U.S. President Donald Trump as he announces that the United States will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum during a meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly listens as U.S. President Donald Trump meets with bi-partisan members of Congress to discuss school and community safety in the wake of the Florida school shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and press secretary Sarah Sanders listen as U.S. President Donald Trump announces that the United States will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum during a meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting where he announced that the United States will impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with bi-partisan members of Congress to discuss school and community safety in the wake of the Florida school shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) speaks as Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), C, and U.S. President Donald Trump listen during a bi-partisan meeting with members of Congress to discuss school and community safety in the wake of the Florida school shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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The president, who championed gun rights during his 2016 campaign, vowed to take action to prevent school shootings after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

The shooting reignited the national debate over gun control. Students who survived the attack have pressured politicians to crack down on guns, and plan a march in Washington on March 24.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called Trump's plan "tiny baby steps designed not to upset the NRA" and said Democratic senators would push for broader measures.

COURT ORDERS

Trump met with the NRA privately at the White House twice last month as he weighed his response to the shooting - including the day after an unusual televised meeting where he chided lawmakers for being afraid of the group and challenged them to develop comprehensive legislation.

At that meeting, Trump embraced suggestions to close loopholes for gun buyers seeking to avoid the background check system, raise the age limit for buying rifles, and find ways to temporarily seize guns from people reported to be dangerous.

But his initial enthusiasm for restrictions was not shared by many of his fellow Republicans in Congress, wary of measures that could be viewed by some voters as infringing on their constitutional right to own guns, particularly leading up to the November congressional elections.

Trump has now embraced a proposal from John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, which is supported by many but not all Republicans.

"We believe this legislation is important, is useful in improving the background check system - and can pass virtually immediately if there is not obstruction in Congress," a senior administration official said on a conference call.

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President Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety
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President Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif wipes tears next to Nicole Hockley of Sandy Hook Promise as U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school shooting survivors and students to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (C), with US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (2nd L) and Vice President Muike Pence (2nd R), bows his head during a prayer before taking in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, center, speaks during a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump holds his prepared questions as he hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Parent Melissa Blank (L) and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (C) and Julia Cordover (R) listen to other survivors and the families of victims as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety and shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks watches as US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US Vice President Mike Pence takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump promised more stringent background checks on gun owners Wednesday as he hosted a group of students who survived last week's mass shooting at a Florida high school. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicole Hockley, mother of a slain Sandy Hook Elementary School student, attends a listening session hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump for school shooting survivors and students in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (2nd L) and Julia Cordover (2nd R) as well as Jonathan's mother Melissa Blank (L) listen along with U.S. President Donald Trump as survivors and the relatives of victims speak during a listening session with high school students, family members and teachers to discuss school safety and guns at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) Andrew Pollack (2nd L), whose daughter Meadow Pollack was shot to death last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is joined by his sons as he addresses a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session about school safety in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with student survivors of school shootings, their parents, teachers and others in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif cries after his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during his listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to host a listening session with high school students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Samuel Zeif, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, cries after speaking at a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump, second right, on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump vows 'strong background checks' as he met with school shooting survivors. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank receives a hug from Sandy Hook parent Mark Barden (back to camera), whose son Daniel was a victim of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Connecticut, after U.S. President Donald Trump held a listening session with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump departs after a listening session with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School parent Andrew Pollack discusses the death of his daughter Meadow in the Parkland school shooting as he and his sons attend a listening session on school safety and shootings with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump vows 'strong background checks' as he met with school shooting survivors. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif gestures a "zero" and says that he believes Australia solved their school shooting problem by banning firearms, when delivering his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during his listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif (L) talks about a friend who was shot and killed as he delivers his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during a listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (C) and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (R) attends a listening session hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump with student survivors of school shootings, their parents and teachers in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is hosting the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Jonathan Blank and his mother Melissa Blank (L) before hosting a listening session school shooting survivors, their parents, teachers and others in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a listening session on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, greets Samuel Zeif, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, at a listening session on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump listens as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Carson Abt speaks during a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump will call on state governments to allow law enforcement officials to obtain court orders to temporarily seize guns from people reported to be dangerous, officials said.

The administration will provide technical help to state governments looking to pass those laws.

Trump vowed to address mental health issues after the shooting, but his administration's recommendations for reforms included no concrete details, other than reviewing health and education privacy laws.

It will be up to the commission led by DeVos to study an assortment of other ideas, such as rating systems for violent entertainment, best practices for school buildings and security, and ideas for improving mental health services.

Trump has also backed a ban on "bump stocks," accessories that enable semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute. Bump stocks were used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, which took place in October in Las Vegas.

On Saturday, the Department of Justice formally submitted a regulation to ban bump stocks that would not need congressional approval. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Additional reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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