Former President Donald Trump called for more guns and a security overhaul at public schools during the National Rifle Association convention Friday in Houston, mere days after a shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school killed 19 children and two teachers.
In his proposal, Trump called for more armed security guards and police officers at schools, along with metal detectors and a single port of entry for campuses.
“If the United States has $40 billion dollars to send to Ukraine, we should be able to do whatever it takes to keep our children safe at home,” Trump said in Friday’s speech. “We spent trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan and got nothing. Before we nation-build the rest of the world, we should be building safe schools for our own children in our own nation.”
The former president also said schools need to be more proactive in monitoring students who portray dangerous behavior.
“Teachers, parents, school officials, and community members need to be recognizing and addressing these alarm bells promptly and aggressively,” Trump said. “Our school discipline systems, instead of making excuses and continually turning a blind eye, need to confront bad behavior head-on and quickly.”
The Uvalde gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, injured dozens, including his grandmother before the attack, in addition to those killed at Robb Elementary School. A Border Patrol agent has been credited with shooting and killing the Texas shooter, but it appears it took law enforcement 90 minutes to stop the onslaught after the first calls to police came in Tuesday morning. The shooting remains under investigation.
The atrocity has reenergized calls by Democrats, including President Joe Biden, to pass gun control legislation. Trump argued that restrictive gun measures are not the answer.
“The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens who know how to use their weapons,” Trump said. “The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens.”
Multiple speakers canceled their appearances at the NRA event following Tuesday’s shooting, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). Singers Don McLean, Lee Greenwood, Larry Stewart, and Larry Gatlin also canceled their appearances.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) kept their appearances and spoke at the event. Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) delivered his address in a pretaped message.