WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to lend support to proposals to arm school personnel, telling attendees at a listening session on school shootings that the administration will “be looking at that very strongly.”
“It’s called conceal carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone,” Trump said. “Gun-free zone to a maniac, because they’re all cowards, a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us.’ ”
Trump suggested that if Aaron Feis, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s assistant football coach, had been armed, then he would have been able to stop the shooter.
Feis was killed after shielding students from bullets, an act that Trump commended for its bravery.
Trump acknowledged that the proposal would be controversial, but added that he believed many Americans would support arming teachers.
Wednesday’s listening session brought students, teachers and parents to the White House to air their feelings on last week’s deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla., and to discuss possible ways to preventing future school shootings.
Six students from the site of the shooting were among the attendees.
Trump also said his administration would push for that stronger background checks and enhanced attention to mental health.
While the National Rifle Association recommended arming teachers following 2013’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., teacher groups have been opposed to such measures.
Following Trump’s remarks, Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, issued a statement saying that the proposal “does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence.”
“Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors,” García said. “They do not need more guns in their classrooms.”