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Trump says arming "adept" educators is "up to states," raising questions over federal role

Last Updated Feb 24, 2018 3:44 PM EST

President Trump -- who has been advocating arming teachers and other personnel on school campuses in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting -- said in a tweet Saturday that doing so is "up to States." His tweet raises questions over whether he will actually push any federal policy or funding for one of his most frequently suggested ideas for preventing future school shootings. 

The president tweeted, "Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again - a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States."

Mr. Trump has floated the idea of arming teachers, ex-military personnel and even janitors -- as long as they are well-trained and "adept" with firearms -- to keep schools safe. He has also suggested providing teachers bonuses, up to 40 percent of their annual salaries, to compensate them for being prepared. 

But it's unclear if Mr. Trump will push for more federal funding to provide such bonuses, or for any laws related to arming school grounds. The president has also said his administration is going to be "very strong" on background checks, although it's unclear what that means.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the school's armed guard, Scot Petersen, stayed outside of the school buildings instead of entering. He has since resigned. Mr. Trump said guards don't love the students but teachers do and would protect them.

"See, a security guard doesn't know the children, doesn't love the children," he said Friday at a news conference with the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull. 

A teacher would act differently, he told conservative activists the same day.

"A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened," Mr. Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.