Following a high school shooting in the US state of Florida that left 17 people dead, the White House has once again turned down a request to release a photo of President Donald Trump signing a law that made it easier for some people with mental illness to obtain guns.
(News Desk) -reported that it asked for the release of president’s photo for a dozen times, but received only one response in April by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said, “We don’t plan to release the picture at this time.”
A White House photographer confirmed that pictures of the bill-signing exist. On Thursday morning asked again if the White House would release the photo of the signing, but received no response.
It made the request a day after a 19-year-old boy, with mental health issues, killed 17 people at his former high school in Florida on Wednesday. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, is accused of using a legally-purchased gun for the mass shooting.
Trump is now criticized for signing the bill known as HJ Resolution 40 in February last year—just over a month after his inauguration—overturning an Obama-era regulation restricting certain people from buying guns.
Had it been allowed to move ahead, the law would have added an estimated 75,000 names of mentally ill Americans to a database that would have stopped them from buying a gun.
Critics said at the time that removing the legislation made it easier for people with mental illness to purchase guns. Supporters of the action, however, argued that the legislation had stripped Second Amendment rights indiscriminately from people, who are not necessarily dangerous, such as those with eating or sleeping disorders.
The controversial debate over gun laws has once again been triggered after the Wednesday shooting.
In a tweet on Thursday, Trump described the shooter as “mentally disturbed,” saying that it was important to “report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
Trump’s critics, however, say the president’s own annual budget proposed this week would cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for mental health programs.
Trump and first lady Melania, visited Broward Health North Hospital on Friday to honor the victims of Wednesday’s shooting in Parkland. Visiting the hospital, where many of the victims were treated, Trumps told reporters that he spoke to victims of the shooting and that it is “very sad something like that could happen.”
The president, however, did not respond when asked at the hospital whether more gun laws were needed to prevent school shootings.