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Former President Donald Trump on Friday called for a “top to bottom security overhaul at schools across our country,” including strict checkpoints and single points of entry at school buildings, but decried President Joe Biden’s appeals for gun reform as a “grotesque effort” in a speech at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston, which comes on the heels of a shocking mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.
Trump said “impenetrable security” measures are necessary to protect schools, such as “strong exterior fencing” and metal detectors at all campuses.
He also backed mostly Republican-led calls to arm teachers, provided they are “highly trained.”
Biden called for finding common ground on “common sense” gun reform in an address following Tuesday’s massacre at a rural Texas elementary school that left 19 children dead, floating ideas like an assault weapons ban and enhanced background checks.
But Trump warned the crowd at the NRA event that Democrats will take gun control measures much further, falsely claiming mass shootings will be used to justify “total gun confiscation.”
Trump also took shots at the likes of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for canceling speaking appearances at the NRA meeting in the wake of the massacre at a school in the town of Uvalde, saying: “Unlike some I didn’t disappoint you by not showing up.”
“We witnessed a now familiar parade of cynical politicians seeking to exploit the tears of sobbing families to increase their own power and take away our constitutional rights.” Trump said in his polarizing speech.
Trump as president appeared open to some new gun control measures after a 2018 mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, before publicly backing down. But the New York Times reported Friday that Trump continued pressing advisors about gun control after 2019 mass shootings, saying at one point: “What are we going to do about assault rifles?” Then-acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney talked Trump out of taking action, advising that doing so would have been a danger to Trump’s reelection chances, according to the Times.
The limited research done on hardening schools suggests it has a very limited impact, if any at all, on deterring mass shootings. But Trump as president repeatedly pushed for tougher security schools as a way to deter violence, which drew blowback from teachers, academics and lawmakers—even fellow Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) notably scoffed at Trump’s calls to arm teachers after the Parkland shooting.
Nineteen children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday by a gunman who bought two assault rifles and a considerable amount of ammunition for his 18th birthday last week. The shooting has led to renewed Democratic calls for gun control, which is being met with usual Republican resistance. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) chose not to bring a vote this week on gun control legislation, signaling it would be pointless since it’s clear there aren’t enough Republican votes to overcome the filibuster. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday there could be some room to negotiate on gun reform, tapping Cornyn to lead the effort for the Republican side. The Senate returns from recess on June 6.
19 Children Killed In Texas Elementary School Shooting As Biden Urges Americans To ‘Stand Up’ To Gun Industry (Forbes)
More Canceled NRA Convention Appearances — Here’s Who’s Going And What To Know (Forbes)
No Gun Vote Soon, Schumer Signals — Here’s Where Gun Legislation Stands In The Senate (Forbes)