Betsy DeVos says guns in schools may be necessary to protect students from grizzly bears

Trump’s Education nominee tells Newtown’s former representative that bears justify the presence of guns in schools.

Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. CREDIT: AP/Carolyn Kaster
Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. CREDIT: AP/Carolyn Kaster

On Tuesday, Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s Education Secretary nominee, answered a question about the presence of guns in schools during her confirmation hearing by saying students need protection from grizzly bears.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy (D) asked DeVos, “Do you think guns have any place in or around schools?”

DeVos said that is decision “best left to locales and states to decide.”

When Murphy asked her again, DeVos said, “I will refer back to Senator Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming … I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.”

When Murphy was a member of the House of Representatives, he represented the district including Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 elementary school students and six school employees were gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Murphy invited DeVos to come to Connecticut and “talk about the rule of guns in schools.”

When asked whether DeVos would support the president-elect’s plan to ban gun free zones, she said, “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.”

Since January 2013, there have been 201 incidents of firearms being discharged on school grounds, according to findings from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense that were released in November. Black students are disproportionately the victims of school shootings.

You can watch the full clip of DeVos and Sen. Murphy’s exchange below.