DeVos Grilled on Arming Teachers: Students Could Legally Carry Assault Weapons?

| MAR 12, 2018 | 1:01 PM
Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 8.49.13 AM

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos faced tough questions Monday morning regarding the Trump administration's controversial proposal to arm teachers in the wake of the deadly Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

On NBC's “Today” show, DeVos was asked if teachers should be able to carry assault weapons if the administration no longer supports raising the minimum age from 18 to 21.

“I don't think assault weapons in schools, carried by any personnel, is the appropriate thing,” the education secretary said.

“But a student could legally carry an assault weapon? A student over 18?” NBC's Savannah Guthrie asked.

“Not in schools they can't,” DeVos replied.

Guthrie then asked DeVos to clarify if that means she now supports keeping schools “gun-free zones,” leading the secretary of education to somewhat awkwardly reply: “I think schools have to be protected like every other large gathering place.”

“We protect stadiums, we protect theaters, we protect airports, and we need to make sure that schools are protected in the same way. They have our most valuable asset — our students,” she said.

DeVos' comments follow news from over the weekend that the White House would be stepping away from gun policy changes opposed by groups like the National Rifle Association gun rights lobby, including increasing the minimum age to purchase assault weapons — a change the president backed a few weeks ago.

However, on Monday morning, DeVos said that “everything is on the table” in terms of the presidential commission on school safety, which she will lead.

“There are many things that have driven this issue in the first place, and we have to go back to the beginning and talk about how these violent acts are even occurring,” DeVos said.