Dem senator: I hope DeVos 'gets a handle' on school safety commission

The Hill 4 days ago

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Tuesday criticized a recently formed federal commission on school safety as "a tool for continued distraction" from changes to federal gun laws.

“I am hoping that Secretary DeVos gets a handle on this issue and changes her tune, but based on this meeting today, I have no confidence that this commission will be anything other than a tool for continued distraction and safety,” Murray said in a statement.

Murray is the ranking member on the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. She said she met Tuesday afternoon with DeVos, who chairs the recently announced federal commission on school safety.

The White House on Sunday unveiled its proposal to "harden" schools in the wake of a Feb. 14 massacre at a Parkland, Fla., high school. The announcement did not include any federal gun law proposals, but established a commission to assess best practices for improving school safety.

Murray said DeVos did not express interest Tuesday in addressing gun safety policies like universal background checks or raising the minimum age requirement to purchase a rifle. 

“Everything I heard from (DeVos) in our convesation suggested that this is just the latest effort to delay and shift the conversation away from the gun safety reforms that people across the country are demanding,” Murray said.

In addition, DeVos told Murray that only federal officials would be part of the panel. The White House said Sunday the panel would include federal, local and school officials.

DeVos said Monday that "everything is on the table" for the commission, and called for a “broader” approach to the debate over gun laws and school safety following the Parkland shooting. 

“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.

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