Trump proposes arming up to 40% of US teachers
US president claims giving guns to trained staff ‘great deterrent’ to school shootings
US president Donald Trump reiterated his suggestion that arming teachers is a solution to gun violence in American schools, as outrage over last week’s mass shooting in Florida continued across the country.
For the second consecutive day, Mr Trump hosted a roundtable discussion at the White House with members of the public to discuss the issue of gun violence.
The US president elaborated on his proposal on Twitter ahead of yesterday’s “School Safety Roundtable”, arguing that arming teachers would be “much less expensive than guards”.
“Highly trained, gun-adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly,” he said, arguing that the policy would be a “great deterrent”.
Later during the meeting he clarified that up to 40 per cent – not all – teachers would be armed under his proposal, with those who had served as Marines particularly suited to the role.
“We have to harden our schools, not soften them,” he said, noting that police take eight minutes on average to get to a gun incident at a school. Instead he said he would like to see “true people with great talent at guns and being adept at guns” carrying weapons in the classroom.
The president also suggested that teachers who were required to carry guns could be paid a bonus.
The White House is coming under intense pressure to act on gun control, as protests take place over last week’s high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 people dead. On Wednesday, Mr Trump hosted survivors of the incident and families of some of the victims, who called for action on gun control.
In addition to arming teachers, Mr Trump has also suggested he may be willing to raise the age at which adults can buy certain guns to 21, as well as support legislation banning “bump stocks”, devices that are attached to guns to simulate automatic fire. Legislative changes would need the support of Congress, however, which returns to session next week.
In a sign of the tough political balancing act ahead, Mr Trump tweeted his support for the National Rifle Association (NRA), describing those who work at the organisation as “great people and great American patriots”.
Yesterday, the head of the NRA lashed out at Democrats and the mainstream media for “exploiting” the Florida shooting tragedy at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. Mr Trump is due to address the conference on Friday.