Trump pushes arming select teachers to prevent school shootings, paying bonuses to teachers with guns

Trump wants to arm teachers
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/CNN)

On Thursday, President Trump enthusiastically backed the idea of arming certain teachers in each school as a way of preventing school shootings. On Twitter and in a meeting with law enforcement, state, and local officials, Trump argued that if 10 to 40 percent of American teachers carried a weapon in school, it would "solve the problem instantly," adding, "We have to harden our schools, not soften them."

As an incentive for teachers, "you give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free you have now made the school into a hardened target," Trump said, echoing language used by the NRA, which has advocated arming teachers since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. (Right before Trump's meeting, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre had told fellow conservatives at CPAC that instead of passing new gun laws, lawmakers should enforce the background check system and "harden our schools" with armed guards.) Teachers unions and law enforcement officials denounced the idea as dangerous and impractical, a costly burden on taxpayers and teachers alike.

Trump has proposed other measures, like raising the age limit for purchasing a rifle to 21 from 18 — opposed by the NRA — doing something about mental health, and strengthening background checks, but he has ruled out banning military-style weapons. And he has embraced no idea so passionately as encouraging trained teachers to carry concealed weapons. "Not surprised the NRA reeled President Trump back in," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday evening. "Just amazed at how fast it happened."

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