Trump has a very strong opinion on letting teacher carry guns. He just doesn't seem to know what it is.
Few issues appear to have Trump more confused and tongue-tied than the proposal to let teachers and school faculty carry concealed weapons. He has changed his tune on arming teachers at least four times in the last 24 hours. At one point, he even changed it mid-tweet.
The first phase of Trump’s dramatic, whiplash evolution on guns in classrooms began on Wednesday afternoon during his “listening session” with school shooting survivors and the families of victims. He advocated “concealed carry for teachers and for people … of that type of talent.”
But after Trump’s remarks provoked condemnation, including from a teacher who had voted for him, Trump was prompted to angrily “clarify” his position on Twitter Thursday morning.
“I never said give ‘teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC,” Trump tweeted, in a seeming disavowal of his first idea.
But then, in the same tweet, he adopted a third stance, saying that we should arm some teachers. “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.”
Later that day, Trump took a fourth swing at articulating his stance in his “school safety” meeting. According to the White House press pool, he argued for a system in which teachers get “a little bit of a bonus” for being armed and asserting that either 10%, 20%, or 40% of teachers would be qualified.
Whatever the specifics, Trump’s idea is in fact vigorously opposed by most teachers and school boards, and for good reason: Asking teachers to double as SWAT team members is a recipe for disaster.
And in some mass shootings, like the 2011 Tucson attack, some bystanders were armed, but could not shoot without hitting an innocent person.
It makes no sense to waste school resources arming teachers, and bear all the attendant risks of accidents or crime that guns in schools would pose, when the chance a teacher could actually engage a shooter through a crowd of screaming students is so low.
Trump should pay attention to educators on this issue. Because while it has taken him four tries and counting to work out the details of his opinion, the opinion of those actually in our schools is quite clear.