Trump’s proposal to arm teachers galvanizes both sides of gun debate

World Today

US President Donald Trump takes part in a “listening session” on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump promised more stringent background checks on gun owners Wednesday as he hosted a group of students who survived last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school. ( AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN)

US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that specially trained teachers carry guns has put the issue at the top of the political agenda.

He suggested the idea this week while hosting families of 17 students and staff shot dead in a Florida high school on Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, the discussion continued – as did the controversy.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough has our report.

U.S. President Donald Trump met school safety experts to discuss preventing another massacre like the one Feb. 14 at a high school in Florida with one of his more controversial ideas–arming some teachers with special training or military experience.

“If they really have that aptitude, because not everybody has an aptitude for a gun, but if they have the aptitude, I think a concealed permit for having teachers, and letting people know there are people in the building with guns, you won’t have in my opinion, you won’t have these shootings,” said the U.S. leader.

Trump’s suggestion was music to America’s most powerful gun lobby at the annual meeting of the American Conservative Union.

“It’s a bizarre fact that in this country our jewelry stores all over this country are more important than our children,” Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association said. “Our office buildings, our movies stars, our politicians, they’re all more protected than our children at school. Does that make any sense? The whole idea from some of our opponents that armed security makes us less safe is completely ridiculous.”

The NRA’s participation at this event was somewhat unexpected. Up until the evening before its appearance, the NRA was not on the official agenda. There are reports that the NRA was concerned about pushback from gun control advocates. But delegates here voiced support for Trump’s idea to arm teachers.

This, as the gun control movement has been given fresh momentum by survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They’ve mounted an all-out campaign to win stricter gun law, leading their peers across the U.S. Wednesday in a mass classroom walkout.

They’re backed by the National Education Association which vehemently opposes having the three million teachers it represents carry guns.

Randi Weingarten discusses President Trump’s school shooting proposal

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Teachers Federation, about President Donald Trump’s proposal to arm select teachers.