Internal memo contradicts DeVos on using federal money to buy guns for teachers

Internal memo contradicts DeVos on using federal money to buy guns for teachers

Gun Rights

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies Wednesday before the House Education and Labor Committee. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP) Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to say yes — or no — when asked last year whether schools could use federal money to buy guns for teachers. She said the law was vague and she couldn’t take a side. The result was de facto permission for states to go ahead. On Wednesday, House Democrats released an internal Education Department memo that showed the matter was viewed differently inside the agency. The memo advised that the agency’s general counsel believed DeVos did have the power to make a call about the funding and laid out arguments that could be made on both sides. “The Department’s Office of the General Counsel has advised that the Secretary has discretion to interpret the broad language of the statute as to its permissiveness regarding the purchase of firearms and training on the use of firearms,” reads the July 16 memo. The memo was sent to DeVos adviser Kent Talbert from Jason Botel, who at the time was principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. A spokesman for the House education committee, which made the memo public Wednesday, said the internal document was obtained from “a reliable source.” The question of arming teachers has proved emotional following deadly school shootings. Many Democrats, teachers unions, education groups and gun-control activists say weapons in classrooms will make schools more dangerous, not safer. But President Trump and […]

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