Donald Trump: "Give Teachers Guns"
Donald Trump has emphasised he wants to see trained teachers able to carry concealed guns to ward off potential school shooters, saying he's spoken with the National Rifle Association about his ideas.
During an hour-long meeting on Thursday with state and local officials on school safety in the wake of last week's mass shooting in Florida, Trump brushed aside a suggestion of mandatory active-shooter drills for schools, and said he did not like the idea of having more armed guards in schools.
Trump also said he wanted to explore the idea of reopening closed mental institutions and said violence in movies watched by children should also be examined.
The February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 17 students and staff members were killed, was the second-deadliest shooting at a US public school and has spurred unprecedented youth-led protests.
Trump initially raised the idea of arming teachers during an emotional, hour-long discussion with people affected by school shootings on Wednesday at the White House.
Trump's earlier tweets on Thursday showed him seeking a balance between satisfying those calling for controls on weapons, and not alienating the powerful NRA gun lobby.
He praised the NRA's leadership and others working at the organisation as "Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing.
"Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!"
Later, NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre delivered a defence of using guns to stop gun violence.
"We must immediately harden our schools," he said, adding students are "virtually wide open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder".
He said it should not be easier to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewellery store and claimed: "The elites don't care not one whit about America's school system and school children."
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has long opposed gun control measures, and a teacher who protected more than 60 people in her classroom in the Florida massacre, both questioned the notion of armed teachers during a CNN discussion.
"Schools without guns are magnets for bad people” – that’s the latest statement from Donald Trump, who has again called for teachers to be armed in the classroom. @lizziepearl #9News pic.twitter.com/cSNRKXY6UX— Nine News LA (@9NewsLA) February 22, 2018
Trump reiterated he would advocate tightening background checks for gun buyers, with an emphasis on mental health, and lifting the age limit to buy some kinds of guns.
Trump also stressed he would push for an end to the sale on bump stocks, which allow rifles to shoot hundreds of rounds a minute and which were used during another massacre in Las Vegas last year.
Trump responded on Twitter with the following:
I never said “give teachers guns” like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC. What I said was to look at the possibility of giving “concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience - only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
....immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
....History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes. It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
....If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
Will be meeting with Lawmakers today at 11:30 A.M. to discuss School Safety. Next week it will be with our Nation’s Governors. It’s been many years of all talk, no action. We’ll get it done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018