White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said at a press briefing Thursday that “a lot of teachers” would be willing to undergo firearm training in order to carry concealed weapons at school to deter gunmen.
Shah declined, however, to offer the administration’s support for specific gun control measures, such as closing the gun show loophole or banning semi-automatic rifles.
Instead, Shah cited less comprehensive measures that the White House has said it’s considering, like beefing up the current background check system — though that system can be circumvented in most states at secondary markets such as gun shows — and arming school faculty members.
“I think there a lot of people who– a lot of teachers who, if they aren’t currently trained, would be willing to get trained,” he said.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that arming school faculty “could very well solve” the “problem” of school shootings.
Shah on Thursday would not commit Trump to a position on universal background checks on every gun sale.
“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” he said, adding that making existing background checks more comprehensive is the “immediate thing under consideration.”
“One solution that the students and family members have called for is a ban on semi-automatic rifles,” Bloomberg News’ Shannon Pettypiece said. “Is that something that is on the table that the President is considering?”
“What we’re looking for are solutions that don’t ban a class of firearms for all individuals but ban all weapons for certain individuals who are identified as threats to public safety,” Shah said.
Trump on Thursday endorsed raising the age of purchase for semi-automatic rifles and predicted that the National Rifle Association would also back that change (it did not).
Asked whether Trump would be willing to push back against the NRA in support of that proposal, Shah said only that Trump is “willing to do what’s right to ensure we have safe schools.”
Separately during the briefing, a reporter asked about Trump’s repeal of an Obama-era rule that allowed the Social Security Administration to share information about individuals with certain mental health issues with the background check system. The regulation would have affected, among other groups, individuals deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs.
“We don’t think that taking away Second Amendment rights from people who essentially have trouble with their checkbooks is the right solution,” Shah said.