Teens Press For Gun Control Outside White House

Demonstrators hold signs during a protest in favor of gun control reform in front of the White House, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

Dozens of teenage students spread their bodies on the pavement in front of the White House to demand presidential action on gun control and symbolize the 17 killed in a school shooting in Florida.

The teenagers were also joined by parents and educators. The protesters held their arms crossed at their chests. Two activists were covered by an American flag. One held a sign asking, “Am I Next?”

Ella Fesler is a 16-year-old high school student in Alexandria, Virginia. She says, “It’s really important to express our anger and the importance of finally trying to make a change and having gun control in America.”

Fesler adds, “Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.” President Donald Trump is at his Florida golf club, some 40 miles from the site of the school shooting.

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12:20 p.m.

A man hired to drive a press van in President Donald Trump’s Florida motorcade has been briefly detained by the Secret Service for bringing a firearm to the job.

The weapon was discovered Monday during a security screening outside Mar-a-Lago as agents checked bags belonging to press and staff. The outside contractor hired to drive a van of journalists in the White House press pool was then pulled aside. He and the other drivers were not allowed to drive the vans on to the club grounds.

The Secret Service said in a statement Monday that the man lawfully possessed a gun that was prohibited in its jurisdiction. It said the incident was investigated with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and no one under Secret Service protection was in danger.

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9:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is spending President’s Day at his private golf club in West Palm Beach.

Trump has been in Florida for the weekend. He spent his time largely at his Mar-a-Lago estate as White House aides advised him against golfing too soon after a deadly school shooting in a nearby community.

The White House did not immediately answer questions about whether the president was playing golf Monday. The president also visited the golf club Sunday evening.

An avid golfer, Trump heads to one of his courses almost every weekend.

President Barack Obama took heavy criticism in 2014 when he went golfing during a vacation just minutes after denouncing the militants who had beheaded an American journalist. He later said he “should’ve anticipated the optics” of immediately going to play golf.

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9:40 a.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump supports efforts to improve the federal gun background check system after a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the president had spoken to Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill designed to strengthen the FBI database of prohibited gun buyers.

Sanders said, “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system.”

The bill would penalize federal agencies that fail to provide the necessary records and reward states that comply with federal grant preferences and other incentives.

Trump has been a strong supporter of gun rights and the National Rifle Association.

FEB 19. 2018 AP

 
 

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