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Trump Proposes Bonuses for Armed Teachers as Economical Way to Protect Schools

An August 2016 photo outside a school in Claude, Texas. (Creede Newton/Amarillo Globe-News via AP)

A New York City Dem branded the president’s proposal to arm school staff as part of extra offensive and defensive measures against school shootings as “wildly irresponsible, John Wayne-like, something that only President Trump could propose in the midst of a national tragedy.”

During a White House meeting today with state and local officials about a response to the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting, Trump declared “we have to harden our schools, not soften them,” as “a gun-free zone to a killer or somebody who wants to be a killer, that’s like going in for the ice cream.”

“I want certain highly adept people people that understand weaponry, guns, if they really have that aptitude, because not everybody has an aptitude for a gun, I think a concealed permit for teachers and letting people know there are people in the building with a gun, you won’t have, in my opinion, you won’t have these shootings,” he said. “Because these people are cowards. They’re not going to walk into a school if 20 percent of the teachers have guns. It may be 10 percent, it may be 40 percent. Now what I’d recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus, we give them a little bit of a bonus, because frankly they’d feel more comfortable having the gun anyway, you give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free you’ve now made the school into a hardened target.”

“For instance, if the coaches, who I guarantee have plenty of experience with weapons, if they have guns, you need it hard,” Trump added. “Because no matter what you do, you keep it gun-free, they’ll be able to get in there, they’ll crawl through the back of a window or something, and you’re going to have everybody again without any protection… I would like to see true people with great talent at guns and being adept at guns, of which there’s only a percentage of people but whatever that percentage may be it’s a substantial number. Because you can’t hire enough security guards.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a brief statement: “Not surprised the NRA reeled President Trump back in,” he said. “Just amazed at how fast it happened.”

Trump split with the NRA when he said he wanted to explore hiking the age to buy a rifle to 21.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington today, NRA president Wayne LaPierre promoted the “harden our schools” message and offering assistance to “any American school that needs immediate professional consultation and help with organizing and defining these solutions.”

“We will provide immediate assistance, and we will also provide it absolutely free to any school in America,” he said.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told CNN “a very unreasonable, knee-jerk proposal” could have included “some consultation with the actual teachers who would be compelled, not just to be responsible for the education of our children, but, under the Trump model, to be required to train, to carry a gun, and to intervene to the extent that a school is impacted by a mass shooting.”

“One of the things we need to explore is, why is it the case that the NRA has such a vice grip on so many members of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives and in the United States Senate? Presumably, it in part relates to the fact that they heavily fund so many campaigns and invest in political efforts in order to secure such loyalty,” Jeffries said. “But the NRA is funded by the gun manufacturers to the tunes of tens of millions of dollars. And so one of the things that may change the dynamic in this country is to make sure that the American people push back against the actual gun manufacturers, those who are funding the NRA and, by extension, the politicians who are standing in the way of common-sense gun legislation.”