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Trump suggest arming teachers after Florida massacre

Donald Trump accuses the FBI of neglecting the warning signals that could have prevented the killings of Parkland High School by concentrating its efforts on the "Russiagate". REUTERS/Eric Thayer

US President Trump promised minor changes in gun control rules and suggests the best way to protect American schoolkids is to arm 20 percent of teachers.

US President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers to deter mass shootings as he faced tears and demands for action at a meeting on Wednesday with survivors of the gun rampage that killed 17 people at a Florida high school.

Trump promised "very strong" background checks on gun owners during the "listening session," in which he heard first-hand accounts from bereaved parents and friends, and schoolchildren who narrowly escaped with their lives.

"If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly," Trump said, suggesting that 20 percent of a school's teachers could be trained to carry concealed weapons.

The televised White House meeting came as students staged street protests across the country to demand stricter gun laws following the murder of 14 teens and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Holding signs reading "Never Again" and "Be The Adults, Do Something," teenaged survivors of last Wednesday's shooting rallied outside the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee.

Last week's killing spree was not the first in Florida

In 2016, 49 people were killed at the Pulse club in the city of Orlando.

Many of those protesting yesterday were survivors of that massacre. Brandon Wolf was one of them.

He told the crowd: "After 49 people, including my two brothers, were murdered at Pulse, what did you do? Not a damn thing. You plugged your ears and turned your eyes and hoped that we would stop talking. Now we're here again. 17 people are dead. 14 of them are children. And what did you do yesterday when given the chance to do something about it? Not a damn thing."

Students have vowed to make the Parkland tragedy a turning point, with youths inspired on social media by the activism of their peers staging walkouts from high schools in Florida and elsewhere on Wednesday and demonstrating in cities including Minneapolis, Chicago and Washington.

Urgent calls for action following the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, which left 20 children and six teachers dead in Connecticut, failed to break the national deadlock on gun control.

Rfi’s Washington correspondent, Philip Crowther, says the younger generation’s demands for tighter gun controls could make a difference over time.

But, with a right-wing President, Sentate and Congress, plus the power of the National Rifle Association, major change is not likely any time soon.