Dick Morris: Trump Must Navigate Gun Control with Care


In the gun control debate which is inevitably following the horrific massacre in Parkland, President Donald Trump and the Republicans have a great opportunity to triangulate, stealing a key issue from the Democrats — or, if they handle it wrong, they could be handing the Democrats an issue that could elevate them to power.

At first, Trump had it right. He proposed common sense gun controls that did not run afoul of the NRA agenda.

His suggestions include raising the age for purchase of certain guns to 21, strengthening background checks and banning bump stocks that can convert weapons into machine guns.

In making these proposals, he is stealing the issue and demonstrating his compassion, flexibility and reasonableness. He is leaving the Democrats to haggle with him over policy details that they will not be able to translate into electoral issues.

But now, he gives evidence of a politically obtuse support for arming teachers.

Knifeman's Rampage Ends with 7 People Dead

Few really can debate knowledgeably the intricacies of gun regulation, but everybody has an opinion about arming teachers. And most of those are against it.

The idea conjures images of dear old Mrs. Plesser, who cuddled me on her lap in first grade, with a Smith & Wesson in her purse.

Even with training, it is hard to see how lifelong civilians can learn to shoot straight enough to kill the gunman and not the children.

Arming teachers would also encourage hostage taking and would likely lead to catastrophe.

True, armed teachers would deter some shooters, but so would a plethora of real live security guards in every school, akin to air marshals on flights. Retired ops and returning military could supply the manpower we would need. They might cost extra money, but if the issue is budgetary, the feds should step in with subsidies. We should not let financial considerations force us to arm teachers.

Why take a chance that one or two days of instruction can make teachers so proficient as to counter terrorist who have practiced their mayhem, potentially, for month or years?

Democrats can run on the issue of not arming teachers and Trump is a fool to hand it to them. Otherwise, Trump’s decision to join in the efforts to strengthen gun controls to prevent such shootings makes a lot of sense both substantively and politically.

Trump also should embrace putting metal detectors in every school in America. This step, which can be done quickly, will afford demonstrable evidence that he is taking the problem seriously and is willing to step in with real solutions.

The Democrats are pathetically out of issues. The success of the Trump tax cut is leaving them with nothing to propose, nothing to say. The Parkland shooting came as a possible salvation for them politically (much as I am sure they genuinely abhorred the attack).

Dick Morris: Trump's Criminal Trials Are Powering Him to Victory

It is the right of every president to change the debate by changing his position and Trump is on the right track. But, please, don’t propose arming teachers.

It will put wind back in the Democratic Party’s sails.

Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, “Rogue Spooks,” was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , ,
Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.