President Donald Trump indicated Wednesday that by allowing some teachers to be armed with firearms, it might be possible to avoid school shootings like the one that occurred last week in Parkland, Florida.
During a listening session at the White House with survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Trump explained why letting school personnel carry firearms might make schools safer.
According to the president, if Aaron Feis — the football coach who sacrificed his own life to save students — had been armed, he may have been able to eliminate the threat completely.
“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 would not have had to run,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post.
“He would have shot and that would be the end of it,” Trump added.
The president suggested that only about 20 percent of teachers — those who are “adept” with firearms — should be armed.
“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, 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,” he said, as reported by CNN.
To a “maniac,” Trump said, “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.'” Trump also put forth the idea of hiring veterans to serve as armed security guards in schools.
Trump’s suggestions seemed to popular among the assembled victims and their families. When the president tried to gauge the reaction to his ideas, several people raised their hands to indicate they liked what he said.
“I’m not here to debate, but I lost my sister. And like Mr. President said, if you could find 20 percent of maybe retired law enforcement officers, or a teacher who could go through discreet training to carry a firearm around his waist, it could’ve been a very different situation,” said Hunter Pollack, whose sister, Meadow, died in the shooting.
Teachers unions, though, seem to be opposed to the idea of arming teachers.
“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms,” Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, told The Post. Her group represents 3 million educators nationwide.
“We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that,” she added.
On Thursday morning, Trump took to Twitter to clarify what he said during the session with the shooting victims, specifically noting that he “never said ‘give teachers guns.'”
“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!” the president wrote.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.