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 DeVosDeVos calls Democratic presidential hopeful's education plans 'crazy' What the next Education secretary must do Duke-UNC v. DOE: Riding a wave of mutual antagonism 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 LeahyOn The Money: Trump dismisses 'phony Emoluments Clause' after Doral criticism | Senate Dems signal support for domestic spending package | House panel to consider vaping tax Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package This week: Tensions flare over Schiff, impeachment inquiry 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 TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails 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 NielsenTrump's top picks for Homeland Security chief are ineligible for job: reports Singer Brandi Carlile drops out of Fortune event over Kirstjen Nielsen's appearance Trump confirms Rick Perry to step down as Energy secretary MORE, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' Trump's tirades, taunts and threats are damaging our democracy MORE and DeVos.