DeVos made her remarks during testimony before a Senate subcommittee, where Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked if the commission would “look at the role of firearms as it relates to gun violence in our schools.”
She answered, “That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se.”
Leahy shot back, “So, you’re studying gun violence but not considering the role of guns.”
“We are actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school,” DeVos responded.
Leahy then asked a question at the heart of the commission’s stated mission: whether an 18-year-old high school student should be able to walk into a store and “moments later come out with an AR-15-style gun and hundreds of rounds in ammunition.”
DeVos didn’t offer her opinion. Instead, she told Leahy that the topic was “very much a matter for debate.”
The commission, which includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, has met once formally since it was formed in March. It is expected to deliver a set of proposals by the end of the year.