Former President Trump called for heightened school security mechanisms at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston, Texas on Friday — mechanisms that Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the site of a mass shooting that left 19 kids and two teachers dead earlier this week, had.
Why it matters: The Uvalde tragedy and the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 dead on May 14 have intensified the debate on gun control legislation and renewed scrutiny of gun rights organizations like the NRA, gun manufacturers and lawmakers who maintain close ties with the gun lobby.
- Trump decided on Wednesday to keep his “longtime commitment” at the convention despite the shooting.
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) canceled his in-person appearance at the event but still deliver “pre-recorded video remarks,” while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) called off his speech at a breakfast held by the NRA on Friday.
What they’re saying: Trump said it was time to “harden” schools around the nation, calling specifically for doors that lock from the inside and hired security guards.
- “What we need now is a top-to-bottom security overhaul at schools all across our country,” Trump said.
- “Every building should have a single point of entry. There should be strong exterior fencing, metal detectors and the use of new technology to make sure that no unauthorized individuals can ever enter the school with a weapon.”
- “In addition, classroom doors should be hardened to make them lockable from the inside and closed to intruders from the outside. And above all, from this day forward, every school in America should have a police officer or an armed resource officer on duty at all times.”
- The former president also called for arming teachers and the end of gun-free school zones.
- “Surely, we can all agree our school should not be the softest target. Our schools should be the single hardest target in our country,” Trump said.
Robb Elementary School had both doors that lock from the inside and a hired security officer at the time of the shooting.
- It was unknown if the school used metal detectors, though Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District had its own police force, fencing around all of its schools, threat assessment teams at every campus and was using threat reporting and social media monitoring software at the time of the attack, NBC News reports.
Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said on Friday that the school’s officer was not on the campus when shooting near the school was first reported but immediately proceeded to the scene.
- After arriving at the scene, the security officer drove past the shooter and instead confronted a teacher, McCraw said.
- McCraw said the shooter gained access to the school through a door that had been previously propped open by a teacher.
- The classrooms in which the shooter entered and shot the students and teachers also had doors that locked from the inside.
- The Border Patrol tactical agents that breached the door to kill the suspect after he was in the school for around 80 minutes did so after receiving keys from a janitor to unlock one of the doors, McCraw said.
The big picture: The convention, which started Friday and goes through Sunday, is the NRA’s first since 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Leaders and members of the nation’s two largest teachers unions traveled to Houston Friday to protest the NRA’s convention and advocate for new gun safety legislation.
Go deeper: McConnell directs Cornyn to work with Democrats on gun legislation