DeVos won’t say whether state grant money can be used to buy guns for schools

DeVos won’t say whether state grant money can be used to buy guns for schools
© Greg Nash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosSessions: DOJ concerned about suppression of free speech on college campuses Arming teachers: Bad for students, bad for spending DeVos decries lack of free speech on campuses, says US has 'abandoned truth' MORE announced late Friday that her department will not take a position on whether states can use federal grant money to purchase firearms for school officials.

The announcement, which some experts say clears the way for states to spend money on guns, comes after a report earlier this week said DeVos was considering a plan to let states use funds to buy guns for schools.

DeVos wrote in a letter released by the Department of Education that she has "no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff."

“I will not legislate via fiat from the Department,” DeVos wrote in the letter addressed to Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHealthy business vs healthy people — how will this administration address the two? Washington turns focus to child nutrition The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — McConnell warns of GOP `knife fight’ to keep Senate control MORE (Va.), the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee.

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DeVos wrote that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) "provides 'substantial flexibility' in how school districts use these funds to meet the purposes of the program."

"Therefore, I will not take any action that would expand or restrict the responsibilities and flexibilities granted to the State and local educational agencies by Congress," she added.

Experts told The Washington Post that DeVos's decision to not issue guidance on the issue in response to a request from several states is a signal that the funds can be used for purchasing firearms without action from Congress or the courts.

“If they are choosing not to issue the guidance, then that’s a signal to states that [states] could choose to approve those local requests,” Nora Gordon, a Georgetown public policy professor, told The Post.

The New York Times previously reported that DeVos was considering issuing guidance allowing states to use the funding for gun purchases or training for school officials.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE has repeatedly argued for arming teachers and other school officials, arguing that gun-free zones around schools contribute to poor security.

"If they go into a school, a gun-free zone is like target practice for these guys. They see that and that's what they want. Gun-free zones are very dangerous,” Trump said in February.