WASHINGTON — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval applauded the president’s action to ban bump stock devices used in the Las Vegas mass shooting but he stopped short Friday of embracing a White House proposal to arm qualified teachers and school personnel.
“This is something that needs a lot more discussion. At first blush it concerns me,” Sandoval told reporters at the Canadian Embassy before addressing a National Governors Association meeting.
Sandoval, chairman of the NGA, met earlier with Vice President Mike Pence where the topic of school violence came up.
On arming school teachers, Sandoval said he was speaking as the father of a student who experienced an incident at a middle school in Reno and the father of a daughter studying to be a teacher.
“You’ve got to look and see what the other alternatives are. Perhaps we just need to secure the schools a little better,” the Nevada Republican said.
Trump’s proposal to arm qualified teachers and personnel comes after emotional sessions with survivors and parents shaken by the Parkland, Florida, school shooting Feb. 14 that killed 17 students and adults.
The president said allowing concealed weapons on adults in schools would deter future attacks without traumatizing children with armed guards and active shooter drills.
But the proposal has been met with mixed reaction.
Many parents in Florida recoiled at the suggestion to put more guns in schools, and Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, called the proposal the worst of many bad ideas to stop school shootings.
Sandoval said he would wait to see the details of any such proposal, but he credited Trump for starting a conversation on firearms.
“We need to do something,” Sandoval said. “The status quo is not acceptable.”
Pence told the governors that the Florida shooting was not an isolated incident.
The governors will meet with Trump at the White House on Monday. The White House said school safety would be the priority of the meeting.
Trump signed an executive directive earlier this week to streamline a review by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms into regulatory authority to ban bump stocks.
ATF has twice ruled it lacks the legal authority to ban the devices that accelerate the firepower of semi-automatic rifles to mimic that of automatic weapons.
Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, had 12 bump stocks on semi-automatic rifles used to fire into a crowd of Las Vegas concertgoers on Oct. 1. The sniper attack killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others.
The massacre in Nevada prompted an outcry against the bump stock devices by elected officials. In Washington, Democrats filed bills seeking an outright ban on the sale of the stocks while Republicans sought administrative action and regulation.
Sandoval applauded Trump for directing the Justice Department this week to ban the bump stocks.
“I fully support the elimination of those,” Sandoval said.
Meanwhile, Sandoval joined a bipartisan group of governors who unveiled a proposal Friday to reform the nation’s health care system to give states more flexibility with federal programs, stabilize insurance markets and lower the costs to patients.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, said the proposal hinges on market-based incentives to provide quality care and rewarding primary care doctors.
The governors are urging Congress and the White House to restore insurer subsidies that were stopped by the president.
Democrats backing the plan are Govs. John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, also helped write the proposal.
Nevada has just one insurer for its public exchange.