Trump Claims He Didn't Say He Wanted To Arm Teachers — But Says It'll Work

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On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump hit back at reports that he said he wanted to arm teachers in an effort to thwart school shootings — but then went on to say such efforts would prevent future mass shootings.
"I never said 'give teachers guns' like was stated on fake news @CNN & @NBC," Trump tweeted. "What I said was to look at the possibility of giving 'concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience — only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A “gun free” school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!"
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On Wednesday, Trump met with several students who survived the Valentine's Day shooting at Majorry Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and faculty dead.
Trump went on to say that he is also going to push for extensive background checks, raise the age to purchase a firearm to 21, and ban bump stocks. He did not, however, mention anything about banning assault rifles or semi-automatic weapons.
Educators who spoke to Refinery29 said they do not believe giving teachers weapons is the right way to top school shootings. "How am I supposed to teach effectively if I am carrying or there is a gun locked up in my room? The day I am required to carry a gun in my classroom is the day I leave education," one high school teacher in Kansas said.
Experts on gun violence echoed teachers' concerns on having teachers carry weapons. "Arming teachers is a dangerous idea. There's a reason we have SWAT teams to respond to active shooter situations — they train regularly, demonstrate incredible prowess with guns, know how to distinguish between shooters and bystanders, and have the right equipment for the job," Avery Gardiner, Co-President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, tells Refinery29. "eachers aren't SWAT team members. Putting a teacher in the situation of facing down an assault weapon-bearing shooter with a large capacity magazine is unlikely to work well."
Gardiner says that preventing school shootings starts with expanding our nation's background check system and banning assault weapons. "Brady background checks have blocked more than 3 million attempts to buy guns by people who are not legally allowed to have them. The Trump administration has been attacking that system, weakening the definition of 'fugitive from justice' (resulting in thousands of fugitives' names being removed from the background check system) and stopping the Social Security Administration from putting the names of dangerously mentally ill people into the background check system.
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"A common thread among many of these high profile mass shootings is that the shooters choose assault weapons and large capacity magazines, because those are the tools to achieve their goal — killing as many people as quickly as possible. We should ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines."
She also says that a past history of violence — not mental illness — is a predictor of mass murder. "A history of violence is a much more accurate indicator of propensity to gun violence, compared to the broad category of mental illness. A history of domestic violence, of animal cruelty, of other violent crimes is something that doctors and family members should take seriously," Gardiner tells Refinery29. "I don't think that Americans have a higher propensity to violence than people in other countries, but what we do have uniquely in America is easy availability of guns."
Following the shooting, Broward County sheriff deputies will be authorized to carry weapons on school grounds.
This story was originally published on Feb. 22, 2018 at 11:19 a.m. It has since been updated.
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