President Donald Trump called gun free zones an inviting target for killers during a meeting with state and local officials.
"We have to harden our schools, not soften them up," Trump said. "We have to get smart on gun free zones. When they see it says, "This is a gun free zone," that means that nobody has a gun except them, nobody is going to be a shooting bullets in the other direction."
Much has been made about President Trump's proposal to arm teachers but the president says he doesn't want all teachers armed.
"You can't just give a teacher a gun," Trump said. "One of the fake news networks, CNN last night, was saying I want teachers to have guns. I don't want teachers to have guns, I want certain highly adept people that understand weaponry, guns."
Trump said not everyone has the aptitude for guns. He went on to point to teachers that might have a military background or previous training as being the kind of people that should be armed at schools and while he said he doesn't support arming all teachers, the president said if even a small percentage were armed it would help stop school shootings.
"These people are cowards," the president said of mass shooters. "They're not going to walk into a school if 20% of the teachers have guns."
President Trump mused that perhaps teachers that were armed could be paid a bonus.
In addition to arming some teachers, President Trump has put forward a number of proposals to deal with these shootings in the wake of the Parkland, Florida massacre. The proposals include re-opening mental institutions, dealing with mental health issues, strengthening the background check system, banning bump stocks and even raising the minimum age for buying a firearm.
The president issued a series of tweets early Thursday morning laying out his position.
I never said “give teachers guns” like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC. 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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
....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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
....History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes. It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
....If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018