MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The White House Monday announced its plan on new gun measures, nearly one month after the deadly school shooting in Florida.
The president’s plan would provide “rigorous” firearms training for some teachers and urges Congress to pass a bill to make federal background checks more effective.
“The flow of information that goes in the background check system from local and state courts is more updated and real time information is made available,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah said.
The National Rifle Association supports both arming teachers and fixing the background check system.
President Trump is not asking Congress to raise the age to buy assault weapons to 21, despite his previous support for the idea.
So what do Minnesotans think of the president’s plan?
Esme Murphy spoke with supporters and opponents.
President Trump’s proposal calling for specially trained teachers to carry guns is drawing opposition from the groups that have been organizing large pro-gun control protests at the Minnesota Legislature, including Minnesota Moms Demand Action.
“We think arming teachers is a really dangerous idea,” the group’s state chapter leader Erin Zamoff said.
“There is also the great risk of unintentional shootings and that would only increase the risk, so rather than making our children safer, this proposal would make our children less safe.”
The Minnesota teachers union, Education Minnesota, which represents 80,000 Minnesota teachers agrees, saying: “Kindergarteners get into everything because they are curious. High school students can often overpower their teachers. Finally, we don’t want law enforcement officers on the scene of a real chaotic indecent to accidentally shoot an armed teacher.”
But a retired professor who helped author Minnesota’s Conceal and Carry law says arming teachers is critical.
“I think it’s excellent,” Professor Joseph Olson said.
Professor Olson, who is also a certified firearms instructor and former national NRA board member, thinks when it comes to mass school shooting like the one in Parkland, Florida, armed teachers are the best defense.
“It doesn’t matter whose gun the counter fire comes from but it has to be right there, right then,” Olson said.
Current Minnesota law bans guns in schools except for law enforcement.
But there is also this little known exception: A Minnesota principal can give written permission to allow a current conceal and carry permit holder to bring their weapon to school.
The Minnesota Department of Education said Monday there is no data on how often that exception is used.