Trump proposes arming teachers and veterans to thwart school shootings

Matt Saintsing
February 22, 2018 - 1:02 pm

Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)


President Donald Trump sat quietly Wednesday in the Oval Office while he listened to witnesses of the latest school shooting, and surviving family members of the fallen. When it was his chance to talk, he said that arming teachers and posting armed veterans in schools could help deter or stop school shootings.

Still reeling from the trauma that took 17 lives in Parkland, Fla. last week, survivors and family members who has lost children implored Mr. Trump to do something about gun violence as grief and anger poured out from them.

Trump mentioned strengthening background checks and increasing resources for mental health, but his most piercing policy suggestions came when he spoke about adding additional security to schools by providing firearms for teachers, and posting gun-toting veterans.

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Arming Teachers

“If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy — that coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives, I suspect — but if he had a firearm he would not have had to run. He would have shot and that would be the end of it,” Trump said referring to Aaron Feis, a popular football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who sacrificed himself when he used his body to shield students from a barrage of gunfire.

Mr. Trump also proposed arming 20 percent of school teachers and to hire veterans as armed guards on school campuses.

“A teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer be a gun-free zone,” he continued.

"You’d have a lot of people that would be armed, that’d be ready.”

At a town hall hosted by CNN Wednesday night in Sunrise, Fla., Broward County School Superintendant Robert Runcie, whose district includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, flat out rejected the idea.

“We don’t need to put guns in the hands of teachers. You know what we need? We need to arm our teachers with more money in their pocket,” said Runcie to a crowd who responded with deafening applause.

The public appears split on this issue as a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found 42 percent of respondents claiming armed teachers could have prevented last week’s shooting. 51 percent disagreed.

Veteran Guards

The President also offered a scenario in which armed veterans in every school would be charged with protecting students and teachers.

“They’re professionals, they may be Marines that left the Marines, that left the Army, left the Air Force... They’d be spread evenly throughout the school,” he said.

The idea is that if potential school shooters knew that trained veterans were present on campuses, “they wouldn’t go into the school to start off with.”

This has motivated Brandon Freidman, a combat veteran and former U.S. Army infantry officer, to pen an op-ed in the New York Daily News pushing back against adding more guns in schools as a solution to stem gun violence.

Calling back to the “first (and only) time” he was in “close-quarter combat,” he almost panicked thinking his weapon had jammed.

“Seven years of training led up to that moment. How to react had been drilled into me. And still, I was caught so off guard by the attack that my reflexes had failed initially,” writes Friedman.

“It was nearly fatal.”

He goes on to argue that guns aren’t magical tools, and that arming teachers will eventually “cost kids’ lives.”

But, some veterans support this idea as it could be a way to provide security while working to allieviate veteran unemployment. 

What do you think? Do you support arming teachers and providing armed vets as school guards? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.