Trump denies wanting to arm teachers, advocates for arming teachers in same tweet

He can backtrack all he wants.

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a listening session on gun violence  Credit: Andrew Harrer/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a listening session on gun violence Credit: Andrew Harrer/Getty Images

On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump sent out a series of tweets attempting to defend a point raised in another tweet from 2016 that suggested he was not in favor of arming teachers as a solution to school shootings.

In his Thursday morning tweets, however, Trump still proposed arming teachers, with the caveat that they must be “adept” and have “military or training experience.”

Trump added that a “‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!”

To the president, arming teachers is the way to solve the nationwide epidemic of mass school shootings.

It is the same solution he gave to the victims and their families of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting during a listening session at the White House Wednesday.

“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, 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,” Trump said. “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 that only 20 percent of teachers would be armed.

Not everyone at the listening session agreed with this approach.

Nicole Hockley lost her six-year-old son in 2011 during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She told the president she would rather prevent school shootings from happening in the first place, without the use of firearms.

“Let’s talk about prevention,” Hockley said. “There is so much we can do to help this person before we reach this point.”

Opponents of arming teachers are right to criticize the approach — because it doesn’t work.

A comprehensive study by the Violence Policy Center found guns “are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes.” In 2012, “for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides,” researchers concluded. Another study by the University of Pennsylvania found that someone carrying a gun is “4.46 times more likely to be shot in an assault.”

Training and providing 1 in 5 American teachers with a gun is expensive too. According to analysis from the Washington Post, providing robust training for 718,000 teachers would cost roughly $718 million dollars. Adding in the cost of a Glock G17, heralded as the “world’s most popular pistol,” for 718,00 teachers would bring the total to just over $1 billion dollars.

Teachers themselves don’t want to be armed either. Josh Grubbs, a gun aficionado assistant professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University, posted a series of tweets laying out his concerns.

President Trump ended his Thursday morning Twitter rant by stating he supports raising the age of eligibility to buy an AR-15 style weapon from 18 to 21 and banning bump stocks. The president also tweeted he is in favor of comprehensive background checks with an “emphasis on mental health,” despite rolling back an Obama-era regulation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill individuals during his second month in office.