Former US President Donald Trump said that the Washington government should prioritize funding for school security in the country rather than sending aid to war-torn Ukraine.
Trump made the remarks on Friday at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) ongoing three-day annual convention in Houston, which comes just three days after the deadly shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.
Addressing thousands of supporters, the former President said: “We spent trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and got nothing for it. Before we nation-build the rest of the world, we should be building safe schools for our children in our nation.”
Trump also rejected calls for tightened gun controls, saying decent Americans should be allowed firearms to defend themselves against “evil”, the BBC reported.
Instead, he proposed a “top-to-bottom overhaul” of school safety, with fortified single points of entry including metal detectors and at least one armed police officer on every campus, and accused Democrats of stonewalling such security measures.
The former President also read out the names of the Uvalde shooting victims, with each marked by a bell toll.
In his speech, Trump also called to “drastically change our approach to mental health”.
The annual convention of the NRA, the country’s most powerful gun lobby group, is taking place after a two-year Covid-induced hiatus.
In the wake of the Uvalde massacre, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, both Republicans, have canceled their in-person appearance at the convention, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Governor is expected to address the convention “through pre-recorded video”.
“While a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” Patrick said on Friday.
Meanwhile, protests have been planned against the event. Friday witnessed hundreds of protesters outside the convention venue holding signs saying “NRA kills kids”, “protect children not guns” and held crosses and photos of shooting victims.
In a statement, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged participants to “remain peaceful out of respect to the families of the 19 children and two teachers killed in their classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde”.
The City of Houston is aware that several organizations have planned demonstrations near the convention center, and the Houston Police Department and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management have a public safety plan, Turner was quoted as saying in the statement.
The NRA convention is expected to draw 55,000 attendees, who are prohibited from bringing “firearms, firearm accessories, knives, and other items”, including backpacks and selfie sticks.
The gun lobby group currently has over 5 million members.
The US has witnessed at least 212 mass shootings so far this year, according to the nonprofit research group Gun Violence Archive.
As of Tuesday when the Uvalde school shooting occurred, over 31,300 people have died or been injured due to gun-related incidents in the US this year.
Days after the massacre at the Uvalde elementary school in Texas, in which 19 people lost their lives, including two teachers, and several children, the National Rifle Association held its annual convention in Houston, in the same state where the tragedy. He did it during the protests against easy access to weapons in the United States -the author of the shooting, Salvador Ramos, bought his legally, shortly after turning 18-, and in a climate of pain, because of the Police He has admitted that he made mistakes and did not know how to reduce the assault in time.
Contrary to what is demanded by part of society and the Democratic Party -that is, to complicate the possibility of buying weapons-, the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party defend the right of citizens to bear arms and consider that their use by the right people is what can prevent new mass shootings from taking place in schools.
Their proposals are the following:
Arm more citizens
“The existence of evil is one of the best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens,” former President Donald Trump said yesterday during his speech at the Houston convention. “What stops the bad guys with guns are the good guys with guns,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz said at the same event.
Increase surveillance in schools offer psychological assistance, and arm teachers
The Republicans, as Trump explained yesterday, are also committed to increasing security measures in schools, through single entry points, including surveillance; arming teachers, so they can defend themselves against possible attacks; and improving psychological assistance to young people, so that mental discomfort does not end up leading to violent or aggressive behavior. “Whenever a disturbed or insane person commits such a horrible crime, there is always a grotesque effort by some in our society to use the suffering of others to further their extreme political agenda,” the former president noted.
Pay for the new security measures with the money sent to Ukraine
After laying out his proposals, Trump suggested that one of the best ways to finance these new security measures in schools is to earmark money for them instead of prioritizing sending military aid to Ukraine. ” Before we build nation states in the rest of the world, we should be building safe schools for our children in our nation,” he said. “Whatever our differences on other issues, what the hell is stopping Democrats from immediately passing measures to increase school safety?”