Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, is receiving heavy criticism on social media after saying that it should be up to states to decide whether guns are allowed in schools, adding that they can be used for protection against grizzly bears.
DeVos made the comment Tuesday night at her confirmation hearing. Democrat Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut, a known gun control advocate since the Sandy Hook shooting, asked DeVos her stance on guns in schools.
DeVos responded saying, “I think that’s best left to locales and states to decide.”
However, Senator Murphy wouldn’t accept the response and pressed harder, asking DeVos if she could provide a definitive answer on the issue.
DeVos then cited an elementary school in Wyoming that has a fence to keep out dangerous wildlife, such as grizzly bears.
“I think probably there, I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies,” DeVos said.
Soon after, the hashtag #potentialgrizzlies went viral on Twitter as people tore into DeVos for her response.
— Jemiaule (@jemiaule) January 18, 2017
— Brent M. Diskin (@BrentDiskin) January 18, 2017
— Chasity (@ChasitySpeaks) January 18, 2017
#potentialgrizzlies We on the west coast make sure our schools all have harpoons just in case of potential Orca attacks.
— Tom Moore (@tommoore2004) January 18, 2017
DeVos is confusing “bear arms” with “armed bears.” #potentialgrizzlies
— Tim Street (@timstreetphoto) January 18, 2017
Senator Murphy later asked DeVos, “If President Trump moves forward with his plan to ban gun-free school zones, will you support that proposal?”
“I will support what the president-elect does,” she replied. “But senator, if the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that I, I — my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence.”
Senator Murphy denounced DeVos’ response on Twitter.
Tonight #BetsyDeVos would not oppose putting guns in our schools. I was shaken to the core by her answer. So should every American parent.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 18, 2017