WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday pushed his call to arm teachers following last week’s school massacre in Florida, saying it would be limited to those with military or special training but “would solve the problem instantly.”
His idea has already drawn a strongly divided reaction in a country where there are fierce divisions on how to curb mass shootings and everyday gun violence.
Trump, a Republican who has backed gun rights, raised the idea of arming teachers during an emotional, hour-long discussion on Wednesday with students who survived the attack on a Florida high school and a parent whose child did not.
“Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!” Trump wrote in a series of posts on Twitter early on Thursday.
Seventeen students and staff members were killed in the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the second-deadliest shooting at a U.S. public school.
A 19-year-old former student at the school, Nikolas Cruz, has been charged with carrying out the shooting. Authorities say he was armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 assault-style rifle.
Trump said on Wednesday he would tighten background checks for gun buyers and consider lifting the age limit to buy some kinds of guns. [nL2N1QB0OO]
At Wednesday’s meeting, Trump said, “If you had a teacher … who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.”
Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Susan Heavey and Frances Kerry