President Donald Trump, while addressing the "senseless act of mass murder" that shocked the nation last week with the Valentine Day school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, repeated his call against "gun-free zones," calling to eliminate the designation not only at schools, but also at the nation's military bases.
"We need a hardened site," Trump said, during a wide-ranging speech that stretched on for almost an hour-and-a-half before a wildly enthusiastic crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference and will be re-aired on Newsmax TV Saturday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m./ET.
"They will sneak in through a window, they will sneak in some way, and again, you're standing there totally unprotected."
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The no-gun zone designation at the nation's military bases is also a troubling issue, said Trump, pointing out that some of a group of soldiers who were killed at a military base four years ago had been marksmen.
"They were at a military base, and a gun-free zone," Trump said. "They were asked it to check their guns quite far away. And a maniac walked in, guns blazing, killed all five of them. He would not have had a chance if these world-class marksmen had a — on a military base — access to their guns, and I'm going to look at that whole policy on the military bases.
"If we can't have — all five were killed. All five. The guy would not have had a chance. But we are going to look at that whole military base gun free zone. If we can't have our military holding guns, it's pretty bad. We have had a number of instances on our military bases, you know that. So we want to protect our military bases. We are going to make our military stronger and better than it's ever been before."
Meanwhile, everyone wants students to be safe where they go, whether they are in school or out, and the administration wants ideas from Americans of all backgrounds and law enforcement about improving school security, including tackling mental health.
Accused school shooter Nikolas Cruz was a "sick person, very sick," said Trump. "We had a lot of warning about him being sick. This wasn't a surprise. To the people that knew him, this wasn't even a little bit. In fact, some said they were surprised that it took so long."
When schools are declared as being gun-free zones, "it just puts our students in far more danger."
The president also repeated his call for some "well-trained gun-adopted teachers and coaches and people who work in those buildings, people who were in the Marines were 20 years and retired, people in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, people who are adept, adept with weaponry and with guns" to be able to have guns to protect their students.
"This would be a major deterrent because these people are inherently cowards," Trump said. "If they thought — like if this guy thought that other people would be shooting bullets back at him, he would not have gone to that school. He would not have gone there."
The Parkland school is a large school with a great deal of acreage and "one guard" who "did not turn out to be real good."
The guard, a Broward County deputy sheriff, resigned after video surfaced showing he didn't enter the school for four minutes, while Cruz was shooting.
"He was tested under fire, and it wasn't a good result," said Trump. "These teachers love their students, and the students love their teachers, and these teachers are talented with weaponry and with guns.
"I'd rather have somebody that loves their students and wants to protect their students then somebody standing outside that doesn't know anybody and it doesn't know the students, and frankly, for whatever reason, decided not to go in, even though he heard lots of shots being fired."
Trump also called on the nation's background checks to be strengthened.
"There's nobody that respects the NRA, they are friends of mine," he said. "They are great people. They are patriots. They are great people. But we really do have to strengthen up, really strengthen our background checks. We have to do that. For the mentally ill, we don't want people that are mentally ill to be having any form of weaponry."
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