Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, said during her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that local authorities should decide whether guns should be barred from American schools — citing the case of a school in Wyoming where a special fence protects students from bears.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy asked Betsy DeVos to explain whether she thought guns belonged “in or around schools.”
DeVos would only say that it wasn’t a matter for the federal government to decide, arguing that some schools — like those in Wyoming — need weapons “to protect from potential grizzlies [bears].”
Here’s a transcript of their full exchange:
MURPHY: Do you think guns have any place in or around schools?
DEVOS: That is best left to locales and states to decide. If the underlying question is—
MURPHY: You can't say definitively today that guns shouldn't be in schools?
DEVOS: I will refer back to [Wyoming] Sen. [Mike] Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.
MURPHY: If President Trump moves forward with his plan to ban gun-free school zones, will you support that?
DEVOS: I will support what the president-elect does. If the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence.
MURPHY: I look forward to working with you, but I also look forward to you coming to Connecticut to talk about the role of guns in schools.
It’s no surprise that Murphy was the Democrat to raise the question. He’s been one of the most vocal senators about strengthening gun control laws since a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his state in 2012 killed 20 children.