DeVos: Safety commission won’t focus on role of guns in school violence

DeVos: Safety commission won’t focus on role of guns in school violence

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosOmarosa: DeVos said black students don’t have ‘capacity to understand’ her goals Omarosa: Trump calls Education chief 'Ditzy' DeVos DeVos ends Obama-era protections for students of for-profit colleges MORE told lawmakers on Tuesday that the White House’s school safety commission will not focus on the role of firearms in gun violence at schools.

“That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se,” DeVos said during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing after being pressed by Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGOP senator: Trump is ‘the only one in the government’ not paying attention to Russian threat to midterms Hillicon Valley: 'QAnon' conspiracy theory jumps to primetime | Senate Intel broadens look into social media manipulation | Senate rejects push for more election security funds | Reddit reveals hack Senate clears 4B ‘minibus’ spending measure MORE (D-Vt.), the panel's ranking member.

"I see,” Leahy responded. “So, you're studying gun violence but not considering the role of guns."

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“We’re actually student school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school,” DeVos said.

Leahy also pressed DeVos on whether she thinks 18-year-olds should be able to purchase assault-style rifles such as the AR-15.

The Education secretary avoided answering the question directly, saying instead that Congress should continue to debate the issue. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE established the Federal Commission on School Safety in the wake of the deadly February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

Trump said in March when establishing the panel that it would “study and make recommendations” on a variety of topics, including age restrictions for certain gun purchases.

The president's directive also said that the Justice Department would help provide firearm training for school personnel. 

DeVos said in March that “everything is on the table” for the commission’s investigations.

Trump has repeatedly called for teachers and school officials to be armed as a way to combat school shootings, a stance that DeVos has also backed.

The commission met for the first time last month, one day before the Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting that left 10 people dead.

The group is comprised of four of Trump's Cabinet members: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenHouston-area Mexican restaurant responds to backlash for serving Sessions, slams family separations Jeff Sessions dines at Mexican restaurant before speech against uncontrolled immigration Celebrities launch 'Dear Ivanka' Instagram campaign MORE, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSwalwell: I would have fired Strzok too Omarosa: Trump calls Education chief 'Ditzy' DeVos Ex-Reagan official: If Mueller had nothing, Trump 'would ignore him' MORE and DeVos.