. . . A father drops his daughter off at school, kisses her goodbye, waves to her — she’s walking up the path — and never sees her alive again. Gets a call. Can’t believe it. Thinks it’s a nightmare. Wants to wake up from the nightmare.
So we want to hear ideas from Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs about how we can improve security at our schools, tackle the issue of mental health. Because this was a sick person — very sick — and we had a lot of warning about him being sick. This wasn’t a surprise. To the people that knew him, this wasn’t even a little bit; in fact, some said, were surprised it took so long. So what are we doing? What are we doing? We want to ensure that when there are warning signs, we can act and act very quickly.
Why do we protect our airports, and our banks, our government buildings, but not our schools? (Applause.) It’s time to make our schools a much harder target for attackers. We don’t want them in our schools. (Applause.) We don’t want them.
When we declare our schools to be gun-free zones, it just puts our students in far more danger. (Applause.) Far more danger. Well-trained, gun-adept teachers and coaches and people that work in those buildings; people that were in the Marines for 20 years and retired; people in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard; people that are adept — adept with weaponry and with guns — they teach. I mean, I don’t want to have 100 guards standing with rifles all over the school. You do a concealed carry permit. (Applause.)
And this would be a major deterrent because these people are inherently cowards. If they thought — like, if this guy thought that other people would be shooting bullets back at him, he wouldn’t have gone to that school. He wouldn’t have gone there. It’s a gun-free zone. It says, this is a gun-free zone; please check your guns way far away. And what happens is they feel safe. There’s nobody going to come at them.
This way, you may have — and remember, if you use this school as an example — this is a very big school with tremendous floor area and a lot of acreage. It’s a big, big school. Good school. A big, big school. You’d have to have 150 real guards. Look, you had one guard. He didn’t turn out to be too good, I will tell you that. He turned out to be not good. He was not a credit to law enforcement, that I can tell you. That I can tell you. (Applause.)
But as I’ve been talking about this idea — and I feel it’s a great idea, but some people that are good people are opposed to it; they don’t like the idea of teachers doing it. But I’m not talking about teachers. You know, CNN went on, they said, “Donald Trump wants all teachers.” Okay? Fake news, folks. Fake news. Fake news.
I don’t want a person that’s never handled a gun that wouldn’t know what a gun looks like to be armed. But out of your teaching population — out of your teaching population, you have 10 percent, 20 percent of very gun-adept people. Military people, law enforcement people, they teach. They teach. (Applause.)
And something I thought of this morning. You know what else? And I thought of it since I found and watched Peterson, the deputy who didn’t go into the school because he didn’t want to go into the school. Okay? He was tested under fire, and that wasn’t a good result.
But you know what I thought of as soon as I saw that? These teachers — and I’ve seen them at a lot of schools where they had problems — these teachers love their students. And the students love their teachers, in many cases. These teachers love their students. And these teachers are talented with weaponry and with guns. And they feel safe. And I’d rather have somebody that loves their students and wants to protect their students than somebody standing outside that doesn’t know anybody and doesn’t know the students, and, frankly, for whatever reason, decided not to go in even though he heard lots of shots being fired inside.
The teachers and the coaches and other people in the building — the dean, the assistant dean, the principal — they can — they love their people. They want to protect these kids. And I think we’re better with that. And this may be 10 percent or 20 percent of the population of teachers, et cetera. It’s not all of them. But you would have a lot, and you would tell people that they’re inside. And the beauty is, it’s concealed. Nobody would ever see it unless they needed it. It’s concealed.
So this crazy man who walked in wouldn’t even know who it is that has it. That’s good. That’s not bad; that’s good. And a teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened. (Applause.) They love their students. They love those students, folks. Remember that. They love their students.
And I’m telling you that would work. Because we need offensive capability. We can’t just say, oh, it’s a gun-free school. We’re going to do it a little bit better. Because then you say, “What happens outside?” The students now leave school, and you got a thousand students — you got 3,500 at the school we’re talking about — but you have a thousand students standing outside. The teachers are out there also. If a madman comes along, we have the same problem, but it’s outside of the school. Or they drive cars. There are a lot of things that can happen.
I want to stop it. And I know it’s a little controversial to say — but I have to say, since I started this two days ago, a lot of people that were totally opposed to it are now agreeing. They love their students. They don’t want their students to be killed or to be hurt. (Applause.)
So we have to do something that works. And one of the big measures that we will do, and everybody in this room I think has to agree — and there’s nobody that loves the Second Amendment more than I do. And there’s nobody that respects the NRA — they’re friends of mine. They backed us all. They’re great people. They’re patriots. (Applause.) But they’re great people. But we really do have to strengthen up, really strengthen up background checks. We have to do that. (Applause.)
And we have to do — for the mentally ill, we have to do very, very — we don’t want to people that are mentally ill to be having any form of weaponry. We have to be very strong on that. (Applause.)
So we’re going to do that. And I really believe that Congress is going to get it through this time. And they have a different leader. They have somebody that wants to get it through; not somebody that’s just all talk, no action, like so many of these folks. This is somebody that wants to get it through.
But I also want to protect — we need a hardened site. It has to be hardened. It can’t be soft. Because they’ll sneak in through a window, they’ll sneak in some way. And, again, you’re standing there totally unprotected.
You know the five great soldiers from four years ago, three of them were world-class marksmen. They were on a military base in a gun-free zone. They were asked to check their guns quite far away. And a maniac walked in, guns blazing, killed all of five of them. He wouldn’t of had a chance if these world-class marksmen had — on a military base — access to their guns. And I’m going to look at that whole policy on military bases. If we can’t have — (applause) — all five were killed. All five. The guy wouldn’t have had a chance.
But we’re going to look at that whole military base, gun-free zone. If we can’t have our military holding guns, it’s pretty bad. We had a number of instances on military bases. You know that. So we want to protect our military. We want to make our military stronger and better than it’s ever been before. (Applause.)
We also need to create a culture in our country that cherishes life and human dignity. That’s part of what we’re talking about. (Applause.) A culture that condemns violence and never glorifies violence. We need to foster real human connections and turn classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors that want to fight for us.
We’re not just having a conversation about school safety. You’ve had conversations — in all fairness, I’m pretty new on this job. We’re here a little more than a year. I’ve been watching this stuff go on for 20 years. The President gets up, everybody is enthusiastic for the first couple of days, then it fades, fades, fades. Nothing ever gets done. We want to see if we can get it done. Let’s get it done right. (Applause.) We really owe it to our country. And I’ve been watching for a long time. Seen a lot of words, and I’ve seen very little action.
And, you know, if you think about, most of its just common sense. It’s not “do you love guns, do hate guns.” It’s common sense. It’s all common sense. And some of the strongest advocates about what I’m saying are the strongest advocates — I know them very well — political people — the strongest advocates for the Second Amendment. But this is common sense.