Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, raised eyebrows during her confirmation hearing by refusing to say guns shouldn’t be in schools and quipping that in one case in Wyoming, they would help protect against grizzly bears.
When asked by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., during the hours-long hearing Tuesday night whether she thinks guns have any place in or around schools, DeVos said the issue is “best left to locales and states to decide.”
Murphy, who represents Newtown, the site of the 2012 deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, pressed on, saying, “You can’t say definitively today that guns shouldn’t be in schools?”
In her answer, DeVos mentioned something Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said earlier about a school in Wyoming that has fences surrounding it to protect against grizzly bears. The remark garnered some laughs and raised eyebrows in the room.
“I will refer back to Sen. Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies,” DeVos said.
Murphy later took to Twitter to express outrage at DeVos’ answers regarding guns in schools, saying he was “shaken to the core” and “so should every American parent.”
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
When asked about Trump’s pledge to ban gun-free school zones, DeVos told lawmakers she would support him if he moves forward with the plan.
“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,” she added.
ABC News’ Nancy Hiegel and Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.