WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is ready to sign a bill aimed at preventing school violence like the mass shooting that killed 17 in Florida last month, which would boost funding for coordination between schools and law enforcement and which the House of Representatives is poised to pass later on Wednesday.
As student protesters gathered outside the Capitol on Wednesday to mark a month since the Florida shooting, the White House released a statement saying the bill would protect children through Justice Department grants for identifying and preventing school-targeted violence. The grants, totaling $50 million a year, would fund training, anonymous reporting systems, threat assessments, intervention teams and school and police coordination.
If the bill passes both chambers, Trump would sign it, the statement said.
The legislation, though, does not include a provision that Trump has persistently sought to arm teachers or other school personnel.
The statement said the bill “would be improved by eliminating the restriction on the use of funds to provide firearms training for those in a position to provide students with appropriate, armed defense.”
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters the chamber would pass the bill later on Wednesday. But with the Senate considering other legislation this week and next, the bill may not reach Trump’s desk before April.
Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Republican-led Congress and Trump’s administration have considered a variety of measures to curb gun violence while trying to avoid upsetting the powerful National Rifle Association lobby group or threatening the right to bear arms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Additional reporting by David Alexander and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown