With political pressure for action in the wake of last week's mass school shooting in Florida, President Donald Trump on Thursday said he supports the idea of allowing some teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools, proposing that those teachers get bonuses for helping with security improvements to deter school shootings in the future.
"What I would recommend doing, is that the people who do carry (a weapon), we give them a bonus," the President said in a round table meeting at the White House with state and local officials, arguing that is a much less expensive option than hiring thousands of armed guards.
"So, practically for free - you have now made the school into a hardened target," the President added, as he urged Congress and interest groups to join with him in acting.
"No better time to discuss than right now," Mr. Trump said. "There is a tremendous feeling that we want to get something done."
At the meeting, and earlier in the day on Twitter, the President set out a series of different ideas that he said would help with school security.
+ Stronger school security, by hardening entrance points to schools.
+ Allowing teachers and administrators to carry a firearm in a school.
+ Stronger background checks on guns sales, emphasizing more current mental health information.
+ Raising the minimum age - from 18 to 21 - to purchase a powerful weapon like an AR-15.
+ Doing more to provide mental health treatment to people – like the Florida shooter – who have been identified to authorities.
+ Ending the sale of 'bump stocks,' which can make semi-automatic weapons fire at a faster rate.
Mr. Trump said he was confident that the National Rifle Association would get behind his plans, including the change in the minimum age to purchase long guns.
"I spoke to them, and they're ready to do things - they want to do things," the President said, referring to NRA members as 'patriots and good people.'
But in the Congress, there were already signs that changing the minimum age for buying an AR-15 would face GOP opposition.
"Why should a 20yr old single mom be denied the right to defend herself and her kids?" asked Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) on Twitter. "We should lower the age to buy a handgun to 18, instead of raising the age to buy an AR15."
Democrats also raised red flags about the background checks issue, saying while more mental health information is needed, private gun sales should also be subjected to such reviews.
As for Mr. Trump, while he was publicly nudging the NRA to accept certain changes, he also made sure to note to his supporters of where he stands on guns.
"I'm the biggest believer of the Second Amendment that there is - okay - I am the biggest," the President said.