Betsy Devos’s gun-less gun-violence study is irresponsible — and unsurprising

Betsy Devos’s gun-less gun-violence study is irresponsible — and unsurprising

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies during a Senate subcommittee hearing in Washington on June 5. (Carolyn Kaster/AP) “AN INTERESTING concept.” That was the wry observation by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) to the disclosure that the federal commission on school safety established in response to the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre will study gun violence without actually looking at guns. Other words come to mind. Daft. Misguided. Irresponsible. And — given this administration’s cowardly deference to the national gun lobby — unsurprising. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, chair of the panel convened by President Trump after 17 students and staff were gunned down Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, told an incredulous Senate subcommittee on Tuesday that guns were outside the commission’s purview. Never mind that the alleged 19-year-old Parkland gunman used a military-style assault weapon and that there have been at least 17 school shootings this year. Even Mr. Trump didn’t seem to think discussion of guns would be off the table, given that the White House news release describing the commission’s work said an area of focus would be looking at “age restrictions for certain firearm purchases.” Arguing that it is Congress’s job to create or amend gun laws, Ms. DeVos said the commission will instead focus its research on the “culture of violence,” its potential sources and possible solutions. Issues such as mental-health resources and student discipline practices are clearly worthy of examination; good that the commission wants to cast a wide net. But to […]

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