President Donald Trump held a discussion with parents and family members of victims from the Parkland, Florida high school shooting that occurred on February 14, 2018. Trump’s listening session became very emotional while raising numerous points, concerns, and strategies to end gun violence and school shootings in particular. The people who arrived at the listening session with President Trump were very passionate, upset, and still mourning over the loss of life that happened when staff and students were shot at by Nikolas Cruz at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School located not too far from Miami, Florida. Many people voiced their opinions and ideas about how to defeat the threat of school shooters and provide a more safe campus for school students across America.
The listening session went well and President Trump gathered ideas as family members offered their words. Trump listened and then he revealed one way that he will consider as a means to protect students in schools. President Trump stated that he would consider a proposal to arm teachers with weapons that will allow them to react and respond appropriately if their school is the victim of a school shooter. The concept was compared to pilots who carry a firearm to protect passengers from when a plane is hijacked.
Also mentioned was that the average school shooting only lasts for a few minutes. That’s the same amount of time that it takes police to arrive on the scene and eliminate or arrest the shooter. By the time law enforcement comes, the shooting is already over, and the suspect is attempting an escape while mass chaos breaks out. The theory is that if there is an armed person on the school campus, then they can react to the school shooting immediately and potentially save lives. If a potential school shooter knows that the staff of a school is armed, then they are less likely to engage in a shooting. School shootings don’t usually occur on campuses where there are no armed guards.
The Guardian reported more on Trump’s listening session:
“Donald Trump has said he will consider a proposal to arm school teachers in an attempt to prevent mass shootings, a move certain to prove fiercely divisive.
“It only works when you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many,” Trump said during an emotionally searing session on Wednesday that, extraordinarily, was broadcast live on national television. “It would be teachers and coaches.”
Referring to Aaron Feis, a football coach who used his body as a shield to protect a student during the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, the president continued: “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 wouldn’t have had to run, he would have shot him, and that would have been the end of it. This would only obviously be for people who are very adept at handling a gun. It’s called concealed carry, where 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 have a gun-free zone. Gun-free zone to a maniac, because they’re all cowards, a gun-free zone is: ‘Let’s go in and let’s attack, because bullets aren’t coming back at us’.”
Trump added: “An attack has lasted, on average, about three minutes. It takes five to eight minutes for responders, for the police to come in, so the attack is over. If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.”
Knowledge of this would act as a deterrent to a would-be attacker, Trump claimed. “You know, a lot of people don’t understand that airline pilots now, a lot of them carry guns, and I have to say that things have changed a lot. People aren’t attacking the way they would routinely attack and maybe you would have the same situation in schools.”
The president asked for a show of hands in the room over the proposal: some were in favour, others were against. “We can understand both sides and certainly it’s controversial,” he acknowledged, promising to discuss it seriously.
Earlier during the session in the state dining room, where some speakers were tearful but composed as they recalled their experiences, Hockley also issued a challenge to the president. “This is not difficult,” she told him. “These deaths are preventable. And I implore you: consider your own children. You don’t want to be me. No parent does.”
Another point mentioned was improved background checks. Many people believe there should be mental health checks when buying a gun, which could help determine if someone is mentally unfit to carry a weapon. The combination of armed staff members and better background and mental health checks could nearly eliminate school shootings. Add metal detectors to the schools which do not have them, and there could be a massive improvement in school safety.
One must remember that if there was ever a day where teachers were allowed to carry a firearm, that it would only be the best of the best teachers. Any teachers who are liberals who were upset at the Trump victory, unable to control their students, or unable to pass firearm safety and shooting classes should not be eligible to carry firearms. In hindsight, it would be best if teachers were not armed. It would be better for the local police department to assign a few armed and well-trained police officers to each school in the district. It makes more sense to have police working in the schools because they are already trained in firearms and self-defense. We cannot predict how a teacher would handle a situation without freaking out because some won’t know what to do, and that would place our students back in danger.