When the New York Times reported earlier this week that the U.S. Department of Education was “considering whether to allow states to use federal funding to purchase guns for educators, according to multiple people with knowledge of the plan,” it ignited hysteria among anti-gun Democrats and gun prohibition lobbying groups.
The Washington Times ran a story quoting Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) declaring, “we’ve authorized Title IV dollars with the assumption that a crazy idea like this would never be authorized by the secretary,” Mr. Murphy said. “We’re in a different world now where DeVos is trying to play to Trump’s base as a means of saving him politically.”
The story also quoted anti-gun California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who commented that such an effort would “pad the pockets of gun manufacturers and the gun lobby, not protect our children.”
John Feinblatt, president of anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, huffed, “This is outrageous. America’s teachers are already forced to spend their own meager salaries on basic school supplies, but the Trump administration would rather use taxpayer money to buy them guns.”
According to NorthJersey.com, Marie Blistan, president of the New Jersey Education Association, “condemned the proposal as ‘dangerous’.”
There appears to be just one problem with all of this. It may be much ado about nothing. According to USA Today, “But the U.S. Department of Education indicated that there was no substance to the reports, which were apparently sparked by a question from the Texas Education Agency about whether its schools were allowed to use federal grants for firearms.”
It may be an example of how a story takes on a life of its own, and in the view of some people, becomes “fake news.” The furor also revealed once again how the gun control crowd goes off half-cocked at any mention of firearms, especially if they are related to school safety measures. The idea of allowing volunteer teachers to be armed as a first line of defense for students is taboo.
The USA Today story noted that the Texas Education Agency “never made any formal request to the federal department on the issue. Instead, a spokeswoman for the Texas agency said state officials were just passing on questions from some of their school districts about whether they could use federal school safety grants to buy firearms.”
“TEA simply sought clarification on allowable uses of Title IV funding for school safety purposes,” said agency spokeswoman Ronnie Burchett, according to the USA Today report. “These were questions being presented to us by some of our school systems. To date, USDE has not provided us with a final answer on this specific issue.”
The USA Today report also said so-called “gun safety groups” had “reacted with alarm.” Then it quoted former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who now heads a gun control lobbying group named for her. She said simply that “arming teachers is not a solution.”
The Washington Times report noted that the Education Department “would not confirm the plans…reported by the New York Times, saying only that it is ‘constantly considering and evaluating policy issues.’”
Anti-gunners fired back, the newspaper said, arguing that “guns in the hands of school officials and workers won’t stop shootings.”
So far, neither have any gun control laws.