U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Nominee for education secretary says guns may be needed in schools because of grizzly bears

Jan. 18, 2017
Betsy DeVos answers questions from senators during confirmation hearing.

Betsy DeVos, nominee for U.S. education secretary told lawmakers at her confirmation hearing that guns might have a place in schools because of the threat from grizzly bears.

NBC News reports that DeVos, during testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, also admitted her family may have made donations to the Republican Party totaling $200 million.

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who has been vocal on gun control in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., asked DeVos if she thought firearms had any place in or around schools.

"I think that's best left to locales and states to decide," she said.

Pressed on whether she could say "definitively" if guns shouldn't be in schools, she referred to an earlier remark by Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming who mentioned an elementary school in his state that had erected a fence to protect children from wildlife.

"I think probably there, I would imagine that there's probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies," DeVos said.

Video from NBC:

DeVos has drawn opposition to her nomination because of her support of school choice and voucher programs that critics say would pull resources from public schools. Supporters of choice and vouchers say such programs would provide incentives for schools to be more competitive and foster an environment that would create educational innovation.

DeVos' nomination has also been opposed for her lack of experience in public education and for her family's ties to groups hostile to people who are gay, bisexual or transgender.

More video from NBC:

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