Trump Proposes Arming Teachers to Contain Gun Violence in Schools
US President Donald Trump has said arming teachers could prevent school shootings like that which left 17 people dead last week in Florida.
Teachers carrying a concealed gun could end attacks “very quickly”, he said.
Mr Trump floated the proposal – long-championed by the powerful NRA gun lobby – as emotional survivors of the 14 February massacre urged him to take measures to stop similar attacks.
The US leader called for improved background checks on gun buyers.
“It’s not going to be talk like it’s been in the past,” he said.
President Trump listened to pleas for gun reform on Wednesday from about 40 students, teachers and families in the executive mansion’s state dining room.
Hundreds of teenagers from the Washington DC suburbs rallied outside at the time – some voicing support for arming teachers.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow died in last week’s attack – the second-deadliest shooting at a US public school – said: “We, as a country, failed our children.”
“It should’ve been one school shooting and we should’ve fixed it. And I’m pissed. It’s my daughter I’m not going to see again,” he went on to say.
Mark Barden – whose son Daniel was killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut – said more guns was not the answer.
“Schoolteachers have more than enough responsibilities right now, than to have to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life,” he said.
At his White House event, Mr Trump promised to look “very strongly” at calls for educators to be armed with guns – a position long held by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms,” he said, “they could very well end the attack very quickly.”
“Where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them,” he said, while acknowledging the plan was controversial, “they would go for special training and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.
On Thursday morning, Mr Trump criticised reporting of his remarks, stressing that he spoke of the need to train teachers properly.
Lawmakers in Florida’s state legislature rejected a proposal on Tuesday to even debate banning such weapons.
They said, however, that will consider raising the minimum age to buy assault rifles – like the one police say was used in the massacre – from 18 to 21.
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