San Diego

San Diego County Teachers React To President Trump's Suggestion to Arm Them With Firearms

Following a school shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people, mostly students, President Donald Trump suggested teachers could carry guns to school as a way to deter school shootings.

President Trump said during a listening session Wednesday with parents and survivors of school shootings that a teacher adept at firearms "could very well end the attack very quickly." He followed that up with a tweet Thursday that "highly trained teachers would act as a deterrent to the cowards that do this" and later suggested they receive bonuses for the added responsibility.

The suggestion has created contention for those on both sides of the gun debate. Teachers in San Diego County are against the suggestion, according to interviews by NBC 7. But there are non-teachers that believe the President's suggestion could help protect students on campus. 

"Putting more guns into our schools and classrooms is going to do nothing to protect our students and educators," said Lindsay Burningham, President of the San Diego Teachers Association, the union representing teachers in the San Diego Unified School District. "Our students need more counseling and nursing. Our students need more books and art and music, not guns."

A fifth-grade teacher at Language Arts Academy near San Diego State University said arming teachers goes against their beliefs. 

"I think teachers believe in peace, Scott Mulllin said. "We believe in solving problems and we don’t believe in solving problems with violence…A gun in the hand of a teacher is not the answer to somebody coming in after us."

Jaren Enyart, a teacher at Mission Bay High School shared Mullin's sentiment.

"I went into teaching to teach children, but we also feed children, and we also clothe children, and now we are considering having me carry a gun to protect children? it just seems asinine," Enyart said.

When told the President’s suggestion would only apply to teachers adept at handling guns, Enyart said, "I don’t want bullets flying around campus."

Asked about whether he thinks arming teachers would act as a deterrent, Enyart referred to resource officers at campuses with guns.

"They already know there are deterrents, and many of these people don't care," Enyart said. "Many of these things don't end up with the person being arrested… It’s a death sentence for many people.”

NBC 7 could not find a teacher who supported the President’s suggestion.

But at a gun store, truck driver, 22-year-old Anthony Cunningham, said he believes having armed teachers would be a deterrent to school shootings.

'I’m pretty sure if they know teachers are allowed to carry guns, it will possibly prevent [a school shooting]," Cunningham told NBC 7.

No one else at the gun store would talk on record, but one customer said he is okay with the idea "As long as the teachers are well trained, and they want to carry a gun."

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