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: DOE to investigate if federal regs were broken in college admissions scandal DeVos moves to allow religious groups to provide federally funded services to private schools GOP bill would limit foreign student involvement in sensitive research projects 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 LeahyCitizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Senate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen Patrick Leahy sits at center of partisan judicial nominations 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 mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral 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 NielsenHillicon Valley: Nunes sues Twitter for 0 million | Trump links tech giants to 'Radical Left Democrats' | Facebook settles suits over ad discrimination | Dems want answers over spread of New Zealand shooting video Nielsen calls for greater public-private collaboration on cyber threats The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms MORE, Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump O'Rourke on impeachment: 2020 vote may be best way to 'resolve' Trump MORE and DeVos.