‘Attacks would end!’: Trump defends proposal to give teachers guns

In series of tweets US president says ‘gun adept’ teachers could fire back if ‘savage sicko’ attacks

US President Donald Trump voiced support for the idea of teachers having access to guns during an emotional White House meeting with students who survived the shooting. Video: The White House

 

Donald Trump doubled down on his proposal to address school shootings by giving some teachers guns on Thursday, tweeting that it would be a “great deterrent” to killers.

The US president on Wednesday held a listening session at the White House with survivors of last week’s Florida school shooting and others affected by gun violence, telling them “teachers and coaches” who were “very adept at using firearms” could be armed.

He said: “If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.”

On Thursday Mr Trump began by denying he had ever proposed giving teachers guns, but then went on to expand on the proposal.

“I never said ‘give teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @nbc,” he said. “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.”

He added: “A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END! 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!”

However, Mr Trump also went his furthest in advocating more control over gun sales on Thursday, saying he would push tougher background checks that screened for mental health, raising the minimum age of buyers to 21, and ending the sale of bump stocks.

Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!”, he wrote on Twitter.

Florida shooting

It emerged after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland that there was an armed security guard on site , but he did not get the chance to engage the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, on the sprawling campus.

In May 2016, during the US presidential election, Mr Trump tweeted: “Crooked Hillary [Clinton] said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!”

Nicole Hockley, whose six-year-old son Dylan died at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, spoke out against the idea of arming teachers. “It’s not personally something that I support. Rather than arming them with a firearm, I would rather arm them with the knowledge of how to prevent these acts from happening in the first place,” she told Mr Trump on Wednesday.

Safety assessment programmes and interventions for troubled children were vital, she added. “Let’s talk about prevention. There is so much that we can do to help people before it reaches that point, and I urge you please stay focused on that as well. It is the gun, it’s the person behind the gun and it’s about helping people before they ever reach that point.” – Guardian/Reuters