Trump labelled an armed officer who failed to confront the Florida attacker "a coward"
The US President Donald Trump has said an armed officer's failure to protect students during the Florida attack serves to illustrate the need to arm school teachers.
President Trump addressed the American Conservative Conference in Maryland this afternoon.
He was speaking after it emerged that an armed officer was at the scene of the Florida shooting but failed to confront the gunman.
He said the officer, who has resigned over his failure to confront the Florida attacker, was "a coward" who didn't react under pressure.
The officer has been named as Scot Peterson, a school resource officer from the Broward County Sheriff’s office.
It has emerged that he waited outside the school building without ever going inside and attempting to take down the active shooter.
Mr Peterson's actions were caught on video during the massacre.
Addressing the Conservative Crowd in Maryland, President Trump said Officer Peterson “was not a credit to law enforcement” and insisted students would be better protected if some teachers were armed.
He called for an end to gun-free zones in schools, claiming that many teachers are "very gun-adept people" who could act as deterrent to future attackers:
“I would rather have somebody that loves their students and wants to protect their students than somebody standing outside that doesn’t know anybody and doesn’t know the students and frankly – for whatever reason – decided not to go in, even though he heard lots of shots being fired inside.”
“The teachers and the coaches and other people in the building – they want to protect these kids.”
He asked why schools are not protected when “banks, government buildings, airports and the like” are heavily armed.
“Shouldn't schools be the same way?” he asked.
"This would be a major deterrent because these people are inherently cowards."
"If this guy thought that people would be shooting bullets back at him, he wouldn't have gone there."
The US President also warned the crowd that the Democratic Party is aiming to “take away your Second Amendment” and insisted “we will never allow that."
After insisting “nobody loves the Second Amendment more than I do” and noting that the National Rifle Association (NRA) are “friends of mine that backed us all” he admitted measures are needed to tighten gun controls:
“We really do have to strengthen up – really strengthen up - background checks,” he said.
“And for the mentally ill – we don’t want people that are mentally ill to be having any form of weaponry.
“We have to very strong on that.”
He did not mention another policy he has hinted at in recent weeks - raising the age of purchase for some guns such as semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21.
19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz has confessed to carrying out the Florida school shooting, officials said last week.
It was the 18th school shooting in the US this year.
Cruz purchased the AR-15 assault rifle he used to carry out the massacre a year previously.