Trump: Why not arm teach­ers?

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON — US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sug­gested on Wed­nes­day that arm­ing teach­ers could help pre­vent mas­sacres such as last week’s mass shoot­ing at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.

Trump voiced sup­port for the idea dur­ing an emo­tional White House meet­ing with stu­dents who sur­vived the shoot­ing and the par­ent of a child who did not.

“If you had a teacher ... who was adept at firearms, it could very well end the at­tack very quickly,” said Trump, who ac­knowl­edged the idea would be con­tro­ver­sial.

He lis­tened in­tently as stu­dents wept and pleaded for change. He vowed to take steps to im­prove back­ground checks for gun buy­ers.

The meet­ing in­cluded six stu­dents from Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land, Florida, where 17 stu­dents and ed­u­ca­tors were slain on Feb 14 by a gun­man with an AR-15 semi-au­to­matic as­sault ri­fle in the sec­ond-dead­li­est shoot­ing at a US pub­lic school.

“I don’t un­der­stand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war, an AR,” said Sam Zeif, 18, sob­bing af­ter he de­scribed tex­ting his fam­ily mem­bers dur­ing the Florida shoot­ing.

“Let’s never let this hap­pen again please, please,” Zeif said.

An­drew Pol­lack, whose daugh­ter Meadow Pol­lack, 18, was killed, shouted: “It should have been one school shoot­ing and we should have fixed it. And I’m pissed — be­cause my daugh­ter — I’m not go­ing to see again.”

Trump said his ad­min­is­tra­tion would em­pha­size back­ground checks and men­tal health in an ef­fort to make schools safer.

“We’re go­ing to be very strong on back­ground checks, we’re do­ing very strong back­ground checks, very strong em­pha­sis on the men­tal health,” Trump said.

“It’s not go­ing to be talk like it has been in the past,” Trump said.

Trump’s sup­port for any tight­en­ing of gun laws would mark a change for the Repub­li­can, who was en­dorsed by the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion gun rights group dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Thou­sands of pro­test­ers, in­clud­ing many an­gry teenagers, swarmed into the Florida state capi­tol in Tallahassee on Wed­nes­day, call­ing for changes to gun laws, a ban on as­sault­type weapons and im­proved care for the men­tally ill.

The teens were wel­comed into the gun-friendly halls of power, but the stu­dents’ top goal — a ban on as­sault-style ri­fles such as the weapon used in the mas­sacre — was taken off the ta­ble a day ear­lier, although more lim­ited mea­sures are still pos­si­ble.

“We’ve spo­ken to only a few leg­is­la­tors and ... the most we’ve got­ten out of them is: ‘We’ll keep you in our thoughts. You are so strong. You are so pow­er­ful’,” said De­laney Tarr, a se­nior at the high school. “We know what we want. We want gun re­form. We want com­mon sense gun laws. ... We want change.”

Mas­sachusetts At­tor­ney Gen­era Maura Healey said in a tweet on Wed­nes­day, “We know that strong gun laws save lives. It’s time to put politics aside and take ba­sic, com­mon sense ac­tions to en­sure that as we mourn this lat­est tragedy we pre­vent the next one. #NeverAgain”

On Wed­nes­day, stu­dents at high schools across the US staged walk­outs to protest gun vi­o­lence. They in­cluded hun­dreds of stu­dents from Mary­land who ral­lied out­side the US Capi­tol, some car­ry­ing signs say­ing “Make Our Schools Safer”.

Stu­dents at many of the protests called for stronger gun con­trol and said they’re tak­ing ac­tion to pro­tect schools be­cause Congress hasn’t.

On Tues­day, the ac­tor Ge­orge Clooney and his wife, Amal, a hu­man rights lawyer, pledged $500,000 to­ward the March for Our Lives in Wash­ing­ton on March 24.

Oprah Win­frey re­sponded by say­ing she would match the Clooneys’ do­na­tion in sup­port of the Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School stu­dentshoot­ing sur­vivors or­ga­niz­ing the march.

Other Hol­ly­wood A-lis­ters said they would match their do­na­tion, in­clud­ing pro­ducer Jef­frey Katzen­berg and his wife, Mar­i­lyn, and Steven Spiel­berg and his wife, Kate Cap­shaw, the New York Times re­ported on Tues­day.

If you had a teacher ... who was adept at firearms, it could very well end the at­tack very quickly.”

COLIN HACKLEY / REUTERS

Pro­test­ers rally at the Florida State Capi­tol com­plex in Tallahassee on Wed­nes­day, urg­ing law­mak­ers to re­form gun laws in the wake of last week’s mass shoot­ing at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land, in which 17 stu­dents and teach­ers at...

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