President Trump has begun advocating for the increased presence of weapons in schools, which he said would act as deterrents against massacres such as the one in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.
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“If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school,” he wrote on Twitter. “Cowards won’t go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!”
That’s a solution endorsed by Tim Schmidt, president of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, who belittled plans to ban bump stocks and employ stricter background checks on potential gun owners as “feel-good legislation.”
“Sure, you can pass this legislation,” he told FOX Business’ Ashley Webster during an interview on Thursday. “Is it going to have any effect on crime? Practically zero. The real effect is when you arm responsible citizens to be in this situation where they can protect our kids.”
The gun control debate was reignited after Nikolas Cruz, 19, reportedly came on the campus of the affluent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day and killed 17 people, mostly students, with his AR-15-style rifle that he’d legally obtained. Cruz, a former student who was expelled from the school, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held without bail. The motive behind the shooting remains unclear.
Had the teachers at the school been armed, Schmidt said it would have created a “powerful deterrent effect” for Cruz and likely would minimize the number of people willing to carry out these types of attacks.
“Because the only thing they understand is violence,” he said. “They don’t want to be shot.” Critics have vocalized concerns that not only is arming teachers a “slippery slope” but because so many shooters ultimately kill themselves, an armed teacher would likely be an ineffective deterrent. Most notably, Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people at a country concert in Las Vegas, killed himself. Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter who slaughtered 26 people, mostly children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School shot and killed himself. Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007, killed himself after the massacre.
“That’s 100% untrue,” Schmidt said. “The good news about this sort of situation is that all you have to do is have 3% to 5% of teachers willing to become responsibly armed. Now you create this powerful deterrent effect, so that when the criminals decide ‘Am I going to attack this school?’ They’re not going to because they’re going to be afraid of being shot.”