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 DeVosStudents at school system Pence called 'forefront' of reopening now in quarantine The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Democrats look to go on offense in debate over reopening schools 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 LeahySenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism 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 suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran 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 acting ICE chief to leave post Trump's fight with city leaders escalates Neo-Nazi pleads guilty to 'swatting' Black church, Cabinet official, journalists MORE, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE and DeVos.