President Donald Trump tripled down on his calls for arming teachers as a solution to stopping school shootings Thursday, by suggesting that teachers who carry a gun might get “a little bit of a bonus.”
During a meeting with state and local officials at the White House, Trump reiterated his philosophy that allowing “highly adept people, people who understand weaponry, guns” to have a concealed carry permit at school would make students safer and would likely deter attacks.
“You won’t have, in my opinion, you won’t have these shooters because these people are cowards,” he said. “They are not going to walk into a school if 20 percent of the teachers have guns. It may be 10 percent, it may be 40 percent. Now, what I’d recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus. We give them a little bit of a bonus.”
He said he wants to do more to “harden” schools instead of softening them and suggested that a “gun free zone” for someone who wants to be a killer is “like going in for the ice cream.”
“We have to get smart on gun-free zones. That means nobody has a gun except them,” he said, referencing those who attack schools. “Nobody’s going to be shooting bullets in the other direction. They see that it is such a beautiful target, they live for gun free zones.”
He also suggested there are lots of “coaches, who I guarantee you have plenty of experience with weapons” and veterans who go into teaching after serving in the military who would be willing to carry a gun on school grounds. He said it would be best to arm teachers because it would be too expensive for large schools to hire “100 to 150 security guards.”
“Instead of advertising the school has no guns, we are gun free, do the opposite,” he said. “Nobody is going to attack that school. Not everybody agrees with us. I think a lot of people do agree with us but I think we need hardened sites, you come into our schools, you are going to be dead.”
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) February 22, 2018
Trump’s comments Thursday afternoon follow his Twitter tirade on Thursday morning, when he made similar suggestions and attacked the media for not accurately conveying his desire to arm teachers.
During a listening session with the school shooting survivors and parents of victims on Wednesday, Trump suggested that arming teachers would “very well solve your problem,” with school shootings.
Not all Republicans agree. When asked about the idea during a town hall discussion on Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he would not be comfortable with giving teachers license to carry a gun in school.