(CNN) — President Donald Trump sought Thursday morning to firm up his political positions on the swirling gun debate while also defending the National Rifle Association, which has come under fierce criticism in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Florida.
The President said he supports measures related to gun restrictions and mental health and reiterated his call to arm some teachers as a way to prevent school shootings. He also defended the NRA as “great American patriots” and predicted that they will “do the right thing” as the nation tackles how best to prevent future tragedies.
In a series of tweets Thursday, Trump reiterated his suggestion that some teachers be armed, calling it a “great deterrent.”
“A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people,” he said.
The President also accused the media of mischaracterizing his comments at Wednesday’s listening session at the White House with survivors of school shootings, maintaining that he never said to give all teachers guns, just ones who were properly trained. CNN reporting on Wednesday, however, noted Trump’s distinction.
“20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to … immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions,” he tweeted Thursday.
“If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school,” Trump continued Thursday. “Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!”
Trump proposed “a little bit of a bonus” for teachers who go through “rigorous” training to carry guns in the classroom.
Later Thursday morning, Trump defended the NRA shortly before its executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump tweeted.
Trump also emphasized other changes he wants lawmakers to take action on.
“I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks!” Trump tweeted. “Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!”
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