News & Politics

Arming Teachers to Stop Gun Violence Is One of the Worst Trump Ideas Yet

The president thinks the solution to school shootings is having more guns in school.

Photo Credit: ABC News

On Wednesday, President Trump endorsed one of the worst ideas to prevent school shootings: Arming teachers.

"If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly," Trump said at a "listening session" with survivors of the recent attack in Parkland, Florida.

Every time the country's attention turns to the problem of gun violence, gun proponents bring up this idea. It never makes any sense.

Here are a few of the many things that could go wrong with teachers having guns at school:

  • A troubled or angry student could gain access to a loaded firearm.
  • Someone could discharge a firearm accidentally (something that happens all the time).
  • A gun could go missing, causing panic.
  • A teacher could misuse a weapon for any number of reasons.

These consequences don't even touch on the effects on students, including those struggling with anxiety.

Even in cases that defenders of this idea think are ideal, it's far from clear that armed teachers improve the situation. Mother Jones found that there's no credible instance of the mythical "good guy with a gun" actually being able to stop a mass shooter. And people who try can cause even more problems for cops who are trying to respond to the situation. The armed teachers could identify the wrong person as the shooter, accidentally fire at a bystander, or be mistaken for the shooter themselves. Teachers are almost certainly better off in these situations doing their best to protect students and letting trained police do their jobs.

But this idea isn't even really meant to be taken seriously. Trump himself once blasted Hillary Clinton for saying he wanted "guns brought into the school classroom," which shows that even he even recognized how bad an idea it is.

The NRA and its allies talk about this idea because they have nothing else to say. They have no actual solutions to reducing gun violence in the United States, and they're absolutely opposed to any of the ideas that would actually work. That's why we're in this mess and we keep having this conversation. 

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.