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Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:19 AM
In a speech to a large gathering of conservative political activists outside Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump on Friday said he is committed to forcing security changes in America's schools, which he says will cut down on the threat of mass school shootings, like the one last week in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.
"We will act, we will do something," the President said in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. "We will act."
Mr. Trump on Friday again repeated his support for his call to allow certain teachers and administrators to carry a concealed weapon in school, all to form a line of defense.
"Why do we protect our airports, our banks, our government buildings, but not our schools?" the President said.
"Our schools are essentially gun-free zones and that makes them very dangerous places," Mr. Trump added.
Both at the speech, and earlier in the day at the White House, Mr. Trump said he was disappointed in the reaction of an armed deputy, who was stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but did not confront the gunman who was shooting inside.
"When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened. But he certainly did a poor job," the President told reporters before boarding Marine One.
At CPAC, the President also expressed his support for more efforts to put mental health information into the current instant background check system for gun buyers, and said it's time for police and authorities to do more about people who have mental health issues.
"We will really have to strengthen up background checks," the President said. "We have to do that."
Several times, Mr. Trump seemed to be publicly cajoling the National Rifle Association to accept his plans on guns and school security, as the President reminded his audience that he was a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.
"Let's get it done right," the President said of action on a variety of fronts to deal with school shootings. "We really owe it to our country."
The President on Friday did not mention his call to raise the minimum purchase age for a gun like an AR-15 from 18 years old to 21 years old - that proposal has already drawn some concern from Republicans in the Congress, and reports of resistance inside the NRA as well.
Also in his CPAC speech, Mr. Trump ran through a familiar list of achievements during his first term in office, talking up a major package of tax cuts, the end of dozens of regulations, and the confirmation of conservative federal judges.
"Don't get complacent," the President urged the crowd, telling them a victory for Democrats in the Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections would endanger a number of his accomplishments.
"They will take away those massive tax cuts, and they will take away your Second Amendment," the President said of Democrats.
"We've got seven years to go," Mr. Trump said to cheers. "We're finally rebuilding our nation."
There was also a lighter moment, as President Trump noted that the big video boards in the convention hall might show something he tries to avoid.