Following the Florida mass shooting, students addressed the lawmakers on Wednesday with demands to restrict sales of assault rifles.
In an hour-long meeting with students who survived the Florida shooting and a parent whose child did not, President Donald Trump who had other ideas of curtailing the impending problem suggested arming teachers as a way to stop more U.S. rampages. He said arming teachers and other school staff could help prevent future mass shootings.
The Republican president, who has championed gun rights and was endorsed by the NRA during the 2016 campaign, said he would move quickly to tighten background checks for gun buyers and would consider raising the age for buying certain types of guns.
The attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and educators were killed on Feb. 14 in the second-deadliest shooting at a U.S. public school, has revived the long-running U.S. debate over gun rights.
Lawmakers in Tallahassee said they would consider raising the age limit to 21, the same standard for handguns and alcohol, although the state Senate opted on Wednesday not to take up a gun control measure.
The U.S. Constitution protects the right of Americans to bear arms, a measure fiercely defended by Republicans. However, Trump has come under pressure to act.
Trump spoke at length during the televised White House “listening session”, attended by students, parents and people affected by other U.S. school shootings, about how armed teachers and security guards could frighten off potential shooters and prevent more deaths.
“If you had a teacher … who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly,” he said, while acknowledging the proposal was controversial. Some of the meeting participants indicated support. Others were opposed.
Mark Barden, whose son was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, said his wife, Jackie, a teacher “will tell you that school teachers have more than enough responsibilities right now than to have to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life.”