Trump suggests arming teachers & staff could prevent school massacres

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US President Donald Trump hosts a listening session to discuss school safety at the White House. February 21, 2018. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

President Donald Trump has floated the idea that arming teachers and school staff could prevent future massacres, as he met with Florida school shooting survivors, who demanded changes and solutions.

“If you had a teacher with, who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly… And we’re going to be looking at it very strongly, and I think a lot of people are going to be opposed to it, I think a lot of people are going to like it,” Trump said at a ‘listening session’ at the White House on Wednesday, that included some Florida school shooting survivors.

While Trump’s controversial proposal is still up for discussion, the US president noted that such a practice has a high success rate on airplanes. Undercover Federal Air Marshals carry weapons on many US flights. Trump somehow estimated that just 20 percent of teachers and staff armed with guns could effectively thwart potential attacks on school property.

“The attack has lasted on average about three minutes. It takes 5-8 minutes for the responders, for the police to come in,” Trump said, explaining the argument for arming school staff.

“You’d have a lot of people who would be armed, who would be ready,” Trump said. “They may be Marines that left the Marines, left the Army, left the Air Force, and they are very adept at doing that. You’d have a lot of them and they would be spread evenly throughout the school.”

Last Wednesday, a teenager armed with an AR-15 opened fire on students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring over a dozen more. The perpetrator, identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was detained shortly after the shooting and later confessed to the crime.

Students, parents and family members of Florida massacre victims raised their voices at the commander-in-chief, urging the president with tears in their eyes to find a solution to the gun problem, which continues to plague US schools.

Responding to their pain, Trump promised to be “very strong on background checks” and place a “very strong emphasis” on mental health as part of the solution to the deadly problem. “It’s not gonna be talking like it has been in the past. It’s been going on too long. Too many instances. And we’re going to get it done,” Trump said.

Not everyone welcomed Trump’s idea of arming teachers. Mark Barden, the father of one of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut, noted that any would-be shooter “is not going to care if there’s someone there with a gun” working at the school premises.

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