President Trump on Sunday unveiled a new plan that urges states to arm teachers and to increase the minimum age to buy firearms.
“Why do we protect our airports and our banks, our government buildings, but not our schools?” asked Trump. “It’s time to make our schools a much harder target for attackers.”
Trump clarified in February that “only the best” teachers and staff - with special training or a military background - would be armed. “Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this…far more assets at much less cost than guards.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the proposal will establish a task force to study gun violence as it relates to school safety and may allocate federal grant money for schools that find ways to approve concealed carry permits for teachers and staff.
The proposal also highlights Trump’s support for two bills currently being considered in Congress - one that aims to improve the national background check system and one that would allocate $50 million for school safety programs.
Sunday's proposal comes one day after the Justice Department announced it had submitted a regulation to ban bump stocks.
“Bump stocks are just about finished, from the standpoint of getting the legal work done,” said Trump. The DOJ's regulation is currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget, which will need to approve the ban before it can take effect.
Teachers and veterans largely oppose the idea that arming teachers will make schools safer.
“Shooting under stress is extremely difficult...A teacher is not going to be able to do this. Cops and soldiers literally get paid to do this and most of them can’t shoot accurately under stress," warns Afghanistan vet Jay Kirell. “If you’re in a school with a shooter and dozens of children, if you’re not shooting accurately you’re just creating crossfire.”
Cheryl Burris, a veteran who now works in a school, argues that teachers are not paid enough to act as bodyguards. “Guns do not belong in classrooms. Period,” tweeted Burris. We don’t pay teachers enough to educate, now you want them to be armed bodyguards too? Are you willing to pay them what you pay your security detail? Doubtful.”
Trump’s proposal comes less than a week after Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law that will allow some Florida teachers to carry guns. The law also raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, extends the waiting period on gun sales, and restricts access to guns from individuals who show signs of violence or mental illness.
Like President Trump’s proposal, the Florida law is a direct response to the school shooting that occurred in Parkland on Valentine’s Day.
Editor's note: Its tough to be the leader and take a stand, but Trump has proposed the solution that addresses the problem directly.