President Trump denied on Thursday that he wants to arm teachers with guns, despite seeming to offer that suggestion during a “listening session” about school shootings the day before. In subsequent tweets Thursday, he suggested arming 20 percent of teachers.
“I never said ‘give teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC,” Trump tweeted. “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 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!”
The president added: “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! 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!”
Trump also commended the National Rifle Association, including top executives Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, saying the gun lobby would “do the right thing” on gun control.
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
During a discussion at the White House Wednesday with students, teachers, and parents from communities hit by mass school shootings, Trump said that arming teachers and staff was potentially the best way to prevent tragedies such as last week’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed.
“It only works where you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many, and it would be teachers and coaches,” Trump said. “If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy, that coach was very brave. Saved a lot of lives, I suspect. But if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run; he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.”
“This would only be, obviously, for people that are very adept at handling a gun,” the president continued. “And it would be — it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training. And they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. A gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is, ‘Let’s go in and let’s attack, because bullets aren’t coming back at us.’”
At the same listening session, Trump expressed support for stricter background checks and changing the minimum age to buy guns from 18 to 21. Earlier this week, the president said he signed a memorandum directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to enact a plan to end the sale of so-called bump stocks, like the one used by the shooter in Las Vegas.
Trump reiterated those points on Twitter Thursday morning.
“I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health,” he tweeted. “Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue — I hope!”
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