President Trump suggested that arming teachers would be an effective method of preventing future school shootings while sitting down for a listening session on school shootings at the White House on Wednesday.
"If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly, and the good thing about a suggestion like that -- and we're going to be looking at it very strongly, and I think a lot of people are going to be opposed to it. I think a lot of people are going to like it. But the good thing is you're going to have a lot of [armed] people with that," said the President.
President Trump on concealed carry for teachers: "If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly." pic.twitter.com/SnKjyYH0uw— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) February 21, 2018
Trump said that athletic director at Stoneman Douglas High School, Chris Hixon, had "saved a lot of lives," however if he had been armed, he could have saved more.
"He wouldn't have had to run, he would have shot, and that would have been the end of it," he said, adding that he only supported concealed carry for people "adept" with guns.
Trump also knocked gun-free zones around schools.
"A gun-free zone to a maniac, because they're all cowards, a gun-free zone is 'let's go in and attack,'" he said. "I really believe if these cowards knew that the school was well-guarded from the standpoint of pretty much having professionals with great training, I think they wouldn't go into the schools to start with, it would pretty much solve your problem."
Trump then turned to the attendees for their thoughts, asking "So does anybody like that idea here, does anybody like it? ... Do people feel strongly against it, anybody? Anybody? Strongly against it? We can understand both sides. Certainly, it's controversial, but we'll study that along with many other ideas."
Several attendees voiced their displeasure with the notion.
"Nobody wants to see a shoot-out in school," said Mark Barden, whose son was killed in the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. "And a deranged sociopath on his way to commit an act of murder in a school with the outcome, knowing the outcome is going to be suicide, is not going to care if there is somebody there with a gun," he continued.
"Schoolteachers have more than enough responsibilities right now than to have to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life."
Not all schoolteachers
After Butler County, Ohio Sheriff Richard K. Jones offered free concealed carry training to 50 teachers following the shooting, 250 teachers responded as reported by Fox 91 news. “We have 250 and growing fast. We will start training fast, next week.”
Jones stressed that he wants teachers to understand how to handle an active shooter situation, should they be allowed to carry firearms on campus.
“If the school boards want to give the authority to teachers to be armed…[they] can do that, they have the authority to do it, but I’m going to do my part, and I assume I’m probably the only one in the state of Ohio that’s doing that – but something has to happen.” said the Sherriff.
Parents speak out
Survivors of the Parkland, FL school shooting took turns sharing their pain, with some offering solutions, and others simply vowing to fight for gun control measures.
"How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I'm not going to sleep until it's fixed. And Mr. President, we're going to fix it, because I'm going fix it. I'm not going to rest," said the father of one Parkland shooting victim.
Father of Parkland shooting victim:— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 21, 2018
"How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I'm not going to sleep until it's fixed. And Mr. President, we're going to fix it, because I'm going fix it. I'm not going to rest." pic.twitter.com/H1HjCFO0Jv
In response to the emotional pleas, President Trump promised new measures to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. “We’re going to be very strong on background checks,” said Trump. “There are many ideas I have, there are many ideas that other people have, and we’re going to pick out the strongest ideas, the most important ideas.”
“It’s not going to be talk like it has been in the past,” he added. Trump notably criticized President Obama for failing to pass gun control legislation when they had a supermajority:
Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration. Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018
Indeed, it appears action is right around the corner - which President Trump and Congressional GOP will have to weigh against the wishes of their largely gun-advocating base. At a NRA convention in 2016, for example, President Trump stated “You came through big for me," after the National Rifle Association and its affiliates spent over $50 million towards advertisements in the 2016 election, "and I am going to come through for you."
Trump spoke Friday with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Senate’s No. 2-ranking Republican, about supporting a bipartisan bill in the Senate to improve the federal background check system for gun purchases.
Trump also announced Tuesday that he has directed the Justice Department to propose a ban on bump stocks, which that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire much more rapidly, reinvigorating a ban push that has been stalled for months since the Las Vegas shooting. -The Hill
In response to the shooting, Broward County Deputies have begun patrolling school grounds with rifles, including AR-15s.
Broward Sheriff says trained deputies will start tomorrow carrying rifles including AR-15s on school grounds if qualified to use them - to be able to fight back against school shooters @WPBF25News— Terri Parker (@wpbf_terri) February 21, 2018