Feb. 26 (UPI) — During a meeting at the White House Monday, President Donald Trump told U.S. governors that the National Rifle Association is on their side — a meeting at which the president said school safety is a top priority.
Trump held a “business session” with the governors for their annual winter meeting to discuss gun violence and a slew of other issues.
Trump said at the meet that he will “write off” bump stocks — with or without the help of Congress — and proposed a revitalization of mental institutions.
“We’re going to have to start talking about mental institutions,” Trump said. adding that “in the old days” it was easier to commit people who acted “like a boiler ready to explode.”
He added that he’d discussed with NRA chief Wayne LaPierre making it easier for law enforcement to take firearms from the mentally ill.
“Don’t worry about the NRA,” Trump said. “They’re on our side.”
Trump said several of the governors in the meeting were “so scared” of the NRA, but acknowledged that the leaders would have to “sometimes” fight against them.
Trump also said he would have confronted the school shooter in Parkland, Fla., earlier this month, even if he hadn’t had a weapon.
“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too,” he said.
When the president opened the floor for ideas, Washington Gov. Jay Insleesaid they needed “a little less tweeting, a little more listening.” He also said he’d listened to teachers who don’t want to train to carry firearms in classrooms.
Last week, Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference he favors allowing teachers and school administrators to carry firearms on school grounds — a prospect he said could have averted the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
On Monday, first lady Melania Trump addressed a group of predominantly female spouses attending a luncheon for the National Governors Association meeting.
“Before I begin I want to be sure we take a moment to reflect on the horrific shooting in Florida,” she said. “Our continued thoughts and prayers go out to all who were affected by such a senseless act. As a parent, I cannot imagine the kind of grief and tragedy like that brings.”
“I have been heartened to see children across this country using their voices to speak out and try to create change. They are our future and they deserve a voice.”
At the Governors’ Ball Sunday night, Trump had also said school safety tops the list of priorities.
“We’re going to have a lot of meetings,” he said. “We’re going to have some very important meetings. We’ll be talking about Parkland and the horrible event that took place.”
Trump also acknowledged other issues with the governors on Monday, including the opioid crisis.
Many governors shared their experiences during the breakout session of leveraging education, data, and science to begin initiatives within their respective states to combat the drug epidemic.