President Donald Trump and a Democratic representative from Florida debated the administration’s controversial proposal to arm teachers during Wednesday’s unorthodox televised White House meeting on school safety and gun violence with lawmakers.
“Please know that there are great differences of opinion on the question of whether having teachers armed with guns firing back at a potential mass shooter is the answer,” said Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who represents the state where a shooter killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School over a week ago.
“I don’t think it is. Many others don’t,” Deutch added.
In response, Trump said that ultimately a lot of the decisions will be up to the states. “And that’s good. The states are going to feel differently.”
“You may be different, and you may have a very good thing for your state,” Trump said to the Florida representative. The president also reaffirmed that he thinks “it’s a good program,” adding that he really believes “it’s going to prevent it from ever happening” because the shooters are “cowards, and they’re not going in when they know that they are going to come out dead.”
The president has argued that he’s for allowing “very gun-adept people” to carry concealed weapons on campus and not for arming all teachers.
“I don’t want a person that’s never handled a gun, that wouldn’t know what a gun looks like, to be armed,” Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week.
However, the administration’s proposal has faced an intense backlash from both Democrats and Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) broke with his party’s leader on the issue during CNN’s town hall event in the aftermath the Florida high school shooting.
“I don’t support that, and I would admit to you right now I answer that as much as a father as I do as a senator,” Rubio said. “The notion that my kids are going to school with teachers that are armed with a weapon is not something that, quite frankly, I’m comfortable with.”
Watch the exchange, via CNN.