Trump: Why not arm teachers?
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.”
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...