During a long and winding speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, President Trump again proposed arming “10 to 20 percent” of American teachers to prevent shootings in schools, saying that had such a policy been in place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, “A teacher would have shot the hell outta [the shooter] before he knew what happened.”
Trump appeared to support several changes to gun policies during the speech, including requiring more thorough background checks and allowing members of the military to carry concealed weapons on bases — a policy that was already changed in 2016.
Trump has voiced support for allowing some teachers to carry concealed weapons several times since the shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, last Wednesday, including Thursday in a White House meeting, where he said that you could give some teachers “a little bit of a bonus” to get trained in firearms: “I don’t want teachers to have guns, I want certain highly adept people, people that understand weaponry, guns — if they really have that aptitude.”
President Trump suggests awarding bonuses to trained teachers who carry guns in school: “Frankly, they'd feel more comfortable having the gun anyway. But you give them a little bit of a bonus.” https://t.co/CHYEUL1KCH pic.twitter.com/DpCocy59BT— CNN (@CNN) February 22, 2018
On Friday, Trump said, “Out of your teaching population, you have 10 percent, 20 percent, very gun-adept people,” and added that while not all teachers would have guns, some would carry concealed weapons to protect students, “and the beauty is it is concealed. Nobody would ever see it. Unless they needed it. It is concealed.”
Trump also said that to stop mass shootings, “we really do have to strengthen up background checks” and that “we don’t want people that are mentally ill to be having any form of weaponry.”
Trump tweeted support for stricter background checks Tuesday night, and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said he spoke last week to Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who has introduced a bill to strengthen the federal background check system.
Referencing the 2015 shootings at military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when a gunman killed five people and injured two others, the president decried “gun-free zones” on military bases. “A maniac walked in, guns blazing, killed all five of them,” he said. “He wouldn’t have had a chance if these world-class marksmen had, on a military base, access to their guns. I’m going to look at that whole policy on military bases.”
The Department of Defense changed that policy in 2016, replacing it with a policy allowing members of the military to get permission to carry a firearm for “individual protection.”
Trump also said he “really believes” that on these proposals, “Congress is going to get it through this time. ... No talk. We’re going to do what it takes to get it done.” No major gun legislation has been passed at the federal level since 2005, and no legislation restricting gun access or enforcing background checks has been passed at the federal level since 1994.
However, other Republicans, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, have already rejected Trump’s proposal, favoring having more armed law enforcement officers on school campuses.