Accuracy in Media

President Donald Trump has often been at the center of fake news controversies, ranging from the moved bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Japanese fish pond on a foreign trip. This past week, the media misreported that on Wednesday, the President wanted to arm teachers.

For example, CNN reported, “Trump suggests arming teachers as a solution to increase school safety.”

Trump disagreed with CNN’s reporting and denied explicitly saying he wanted to arm teachers. Instead, he said that he wanted to arm people who knew how to handle a firearm in order to defend and protect America’s schools. Trump did give an example of teachers using concealed carry, but it was not an explicit endorsement of that specific policy proposal.

The Boston Globe had a transcript of the listening session, in which Trump used arming teachers as an example without explicitly endorsing the practice:

Your concept and your idea about — it’s called concealed carry — and it only works where you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many, and it would be teachers and coaches. If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy — that coach was very brave. Saved a lot of lives, I suspect. But if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run; he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.

And this would only be, obviously, for people that are very adept at handling a gun. And it would be — it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training. And they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. A gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is, let’s go in and let’s attack, because bullets aren’t coming back at us.

And if you do this — and a lot of people are talking about it, and it’s certainly a point that we’ll discuss — but concealed carry for teachers and for people of talent — of that type of talent. So let’s say you had 20 percent of your teaching force, because that’s pretty much the number — and you said it — an attack has lasted, on average, about three minutes. It takes five to eight minutes for responders, for the police, to come in. So the attack is over. If you had a teacher with — who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.

And the good thing about a suggestion like that — and we’re going to be looking at it very strongly, and I think a lot of people are going to be opposed to it; I think a lot of people are going to like it — but the good thing is that you’ll have a lot of people with that. You know, you can’t have a hundred security guards in Stoneman Douglas. That’s a big school. That’s a massive school with a lot of acreage to cover, a lot of floor area.

And so that would be, certainly, a situation that is being discussed a lot by a lot of people. You’d have a lot people that’d be armed. They’d be ready. They’re professionals. They may be Marines that left the Marines, left the Army, left the Air Force. And they’re very adept at doing that. You’d have a lot of them, and they’d be spread evenly throughout the school.

At first glance, Trump indicated he would arm teachers or warm to the idea. But he say that explicitly. It could be interpreted that he favors the idea and that he could push for armed teachers, armed volunteers or armed security personnel. But, the arm-the-teachers idea appears to be a hypothetical idea.

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