President Donald Trump, in a Thursday morning barrage of tweets, sought to clarify his controversial suggestion the day before that arming teachers may be an appropriate answer to school shootings like the one that killed 17 last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The president seemed to double-down on his stance in his tweets on Thursday, arguing that a well-armed classroom would prevent future tragedies like the Florida school shooting.
Saying “a ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people,” Trump argued that “highly trained, gun adept” teachers and coaches would “instantly” solve the problem of an active shooter and would dissuade would-be attackers.
Trump’s initial suggestion of allowing concealed weapons in schools came during a listening session on school shootings Wednesday and elicited a number of angry responses on social media from teachers and parents.
Trump argues arming educators will act as a deterrent to shooters. Psychologists, though, note that most shooters spend days, sometimes months, planning their rampage, often including lists of who to kill and who not to kill.
Trump’s language in discussing the proposal came with notable wiggle room. He emphasized he was looking at the possibility of giving some teachers weapons, but didn’t say he planned to do so. He did, however, say he planned to raise the age for gun purchases to 21, end the sale of bump stocks, and “strongly push” for “comprehensive background checks with an emphasis on mental health.” On that last point, it’s worth noting that last February, Trump repealed an Obama-era initiative that would have made it harder for people with mental illness to buy a gun.