President Trump holds School Safety Roundtable discussion

Thursday morning, President Trump hosted a School Safety Roundtable at the White House with State and local leaders, law enforcement officers and education officials. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the best way to keep America’s schools safe following the Stoneman Shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Early Thursday, Trump tweeted his strongest stance on gun control one day after an emotional White House session where students and parents poured out wrenching tales of lost lives and pleaded for action.

Trump said on Twitter, “I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks!” The president did not immediately offer more details.

Trump’s focus on gun violence came as leaders of the National Rifle Association offered a vigorous defense of gun rights during the Conservative Political Action Conference, urging enhanced — and armed — security at schools. An armed Broward County sheriff’s deputy, the regular school resource officer, was on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, at the time of the shooting.

President Trump made his stance on Gun Free Zones clear by stating, “We have to harden our schools not soften them up. A gun free zone to a killer or somebody that wants to be a killer, that’s like going in for the ice cream. That’s like here I am, take me. We have to get smarter in gun free zones. When they see it says this a gun free zone. That means that nobody has a gun except them. Nobody’s going to be shooting bullets in the other direction. And they see that as such a beautiful target. They live for gun free zones.”

When someone proposed an idea for schools to hold Active Shooter Drills to prepare students for the possible event, President Trump quickly turned down the idea. “Active shooter drills is a very negative thing. I’ll be honest with you. If I’m a child and I’m ten years old, and we’re going to have an active shooter drill, I say, ‘What’s that,’ well someone may come in and shoot you, I think that’s a very negative thing to be talking about, if I’m being honest with you. I don’t like it. I’d much rather have a hardened school. I don’t like it. I wouldn’t want to tell my son that you’re going to participate in an active shooter drill. I think it’s crazy. I think it’s very bad for children.” Trump explained.

As the meeting continued, President Trump advocated support for the proposal to arm school staff members. Thursday morning, Trump tweeted his philosophy for supporting the idea.

Trump explained his justification for the proposal he outlined in the tweet saying, “Unless we’re going to have an offensive capability, it’s going to happen again and again and again and it’s going to be the same old story and people are going to be sitting around tables and talking. I like to get things done and to get this done, we do need defense but we also need offensive capability.”

The president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, called arming teachers a horrible idea and said an educator’s handgun would be no match for the assault-style weapons often wielded by attackers.

“The solution is to ban these military weapons from people who shouldn’t have them,” Weingarten said.

Wayne LaPierre, vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, said Thursday that reactions like Weingarten’s are expected after mass shootings.

“The whole idea from some of our opponents that armed security makes us less safe is completely ridiculous,” he told a conference of conservatives in Washington.

Calling schools “virtually wide-open soft targets,” LaPierre added, “It should not be easier for a mad man to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewelry store.”