Trump endorses guns for teachers to stop shootings

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Media captionFather of Florida shooting victim to Trump: ‘I’m pissed’

US President Donald Trump has expressed support for arming teachers and ending gun-free zones near schools at a White House event on gun violence.

He floated the proposal as survivors of last week’s Florida school shooting implored him to make sure it never happens again.

The Republican president also backed calls for improved background checks for gun buyers.

Other survivors meanwhile lobbied Florida lawmakers on gun control.

“We’ll be very strong on background checks, very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody,” Mr Trump told students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the televised event at the White House on Wednesday.

“It’s not going to be talk like it’s been in the past,” he added. “It’s been going on too long, too many instances, we’re going to get it done.”

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Media captionUS students walk out to demand firearms control

The US president also endorsed proposals that have long been backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), a powerful gun lobby group.

He pledged to look “very strongly” at a plan for teachers and other staff to be armed with guns.

“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms,” he said, “they could very well end the attack very quickly.”

He added that “this would only be obviously for people who are very adept at handling a gun”.

This plan has been endorsed by the NRA at state legislatures throughout the US.

Mr Trump also criticised gun-free zones in schools.

“A gun-free zone to a maniac – because they’re all cowards – is, ‘let’s go in, and attack’,” said Mr Trump.

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Media captionAround 100 students made the bus journey of more than seven hours to reach Florida’s capital

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was among the 17 killed in the Valentine’s Day attack in Parkland vented his anger to the president.

“We’re here because my daughter has no voice,” said Mr Pollack.

“She was murdered last week and she was taken from us – shot nine times on the third floor. We, as a country, failed our children.”

“I’m pissed!” he added.

On Wednesday, survivors of the shooting poured into the Florida state capital, Tallahassee, to demand lawmakers restrict sales of assault rifles.

Demonstrators joined protests in several US cities – from the streets of Washington DC, to Chicago, Illinois, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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