The U.S. Department of Education secretary who has argued there is a place for guns in schools has condemned Monday's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Southern California. Betsy DeVos lamented the "senseless violence" of an apparent murder-suicide that also left two students injured in San Bernardino just less than months after she said she could understand why guns could be needed on school grounds.
"My heart and prayers go out to the victims of this horrible act and to all students and members of the North Park Elementary School community," DeVos wrote in a brief statement released late Monday afternoon. "I want to thank the first responders, teachers and school administrators who were there to protect the students in harm's way. As a mother and grandmother, today's senseless violence is a tragedy no parent should ever have to face. I ask everyone to join me in keeping all the victims and those impacted in your prayers."
Two adults were killed, one from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and two children were hurt in shootings that were apparently caused by a domestic dispute between the shooter and a teacher, NBC News reported.
DeVos previously made a case for guns to be in schools while she was testifying during her Senate confirmation hearing in January. It was the states, not the country, that should be allowed to dictate policies surrounding guns in schools, she said at the time. She cited Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi
, who referenced one of the state's schools that as surrounded by a fence in order to keep grizzly bears away from students.
"I will refer back to Sen. Enzi and the school he is talking about in Wyoming," DeVos said at the time. "I think probably there, I would imagine there is probably a gun in a school to protect from potential grizzlies."
President Donald Trump, who nominated DeVos to lead the Department of Education, continued: "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."