Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosGOP lawmakers urge Cardona against executive student loan wipeout More insidious power grab than one attempted Jan. 6? Betsy DeVos not running for Michigan governor 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 ScottWatchdog: 7 members of Congress allegedly failed to disclose stock trades Pressure builds on Democratic leadership over HBCU funding Democrats hit crunch time for passing Biden agenda MORE (Va.), the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee.
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.
.@BetsyDeVosED "Let me be clear: I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff under the ESEA...Congress did not authorize me or the Department to make those decisions." pic.twitter.com/xbH8UTtZLZ— ED Press Secretary (@EDPressSec) August 31, 2018
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 TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe 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.