WASHINGTON ― Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday urged President Donald Trump to lay off Twitter and instead listen to Americans and back away from one of his suggestions for dealing with mass shootings.
Trump has suggested that arming 20 percent of the nation’s teachers could help prevent school shootings like the one that occurred earlier this month in Parkland, Florida, that claimed 17 lives. The president also has said that those teachers trained to use firearms could even receive extra pay.
Inslee directly challenged Trump as he and other governors met at the White House with the president and several senior administration aides.
“I’ve listened to the biology teachers and they don’t want to [be armed] at any percentage,” the former U.S. House member said. “I’ve listened to the first-grade teachers who don’t want to be pistol-packing first-grade teachers. I’ve listened to law enforcement, who have said they don’t want to train teachers [on firearm use]. ... Educators should educate, and they should not be foisted upon this responsibility of packing heat in first-grade classes.”
Inslee ended his remarks by saying, “So I just suggest we need a little less tweeting here, and a little more listening, and I just suggest we take [Trump’s proposal] off the table and move forward.”
Trump responded by noting that “a number of states right now” allow educators to bear arms while in the classroom.
At least eight states allow teachers in some capacity to carry guns on K-12 school campuses. But law enforcement groups and teacher organizations have expressed opposition to the president’s proposal to arm certain teachers, arguing it could lead to accidental loss of life.
The National Rifle Association, the nation’s top gun lobby, thinks it would be a good move.
“Evil walks among us and God help us if we don’t harden our schools and protect our kids,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said last week.
The public seems divided on the matter. Fifty percent of Americans oppose allowing more teachers and school officials to carry guns, while 44 percent support the idea, according to a recent CBS News poll.
Some notable Republicans are among those opposing equipping more teachers with guns, including Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio, both of Florida.
“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,” Rubio said last week during a CNN town hall on gun violence and gun control.