By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – President Trump praises a Columbine survivor-turned-state lawmaker for his plan to arm teachers.

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“We have to find a way to let good people defend our students,” Representative Patrick Neville told the president at a White House meeting with state officials. Neville has carried a bill to allow Colorado schools to arm teachers for four years and Democrats at the state capitol have killed it each year. But, Neville got a much different reception from the president.

“I agree with you, Patrick. I strongly agree with you,” President Trump said.

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Trump called gun-free schools nonsense, saying they were an open invitation to shooters.

“When they see it says ‘this is a gun-free zone’ that means nobody has a gun but them, nobody is going to be shooting bullets in the other direction,” Trump said. The president says he supports allowing certain teachers to be armed.

“They have to go to training I would say every six months or a year. They have to have a fairly rigorous course,” the president said.

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While others at the meeting suggested high-tech security, better reporting, and active shooter drills, the president said anyone who thinks schools will be safe without armed teachers is kidding themselves.

“If you harden the sites you’re not going to have this problem because these guys who lack courage will never go into these schools. Unless you’re going to have offensive capability, you’re wasting your time,” President Trump said.

Neville says he’s optimistic Congress will do what the state legislature won’t.

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“It’s pretty uplifting for me. Now everyone is talking about it. It’s a common sense solution and we have a President of the United States talking about it, it says quite a bit. I’m hopeful we actually get something done and we can stop these school shootings,” Neville said.

Colorado’s Safe2Tell tipline was also highlighted in the meeting with the president. Florida’s attorney general says she plans to adopt it. It’s received 154 reports of planned school attacks in Colorado in the last week alone.

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Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.