White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah, faced a litany of questions in Thursday’s briefing over President Trump’s reaction to the school shooting in Florida.
At least four questions focused on Trump’s soft support for arming teachers in the classroom. The president recently called gun-free zones in schools “a magnet for bad people” and said that first responders are typically “5 to 8 minutes” away — but teachers could shoot an attacker “immediately.”
At Thursday’s briefing, a reporter asked about the expense of arming teachers, stating the cost nationwide for bonuses delivered to students who carry guns.
The reporter asked:
You’re talking about $700 million, maybe north of a billion, less than that. In any event it’s a lot of money. Would the federal government pay for something like this? Do you expect the state and local municipalities?
Shah answered the question very bluntly:
Is that too much to pay for school safety?
Earlier in the press briefing, Shah was asked about the White House’s willingness to support the policy of arming 20 percent of school teachers.
There are 3.5 million teachers roughly in the United States. He said it would be about 20%. That’s 700 teachers. How would the president propose arming 700,000 teachers? — how is that wise to have 700,000 more firearms in schools?
Shah said bluntly:
When you have a horrific situation like you had last week and other school shootings we’ve seen these horrible tragedies, what we think and don’t think is practical can change.
When asked about the potential “negative” reaction to the policy, Shah said:
A lot of other folks have been supportive of this idea. The notion that, you know, trained individuals who work within schools that have firearms and can serve as a deterrent could keep a lot of schools in a community safe.