Press Release

Giffords Criticizes Final Report from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ School Safety Commission    

December 18, 2018 Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, criticized the final report from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ school safety commision. Formed in the wake of the Parkland shooting, the commission was originally tasked by President Trump with exploring shootings at schools and how to prevent them, but the final report fails to address gun violence.

Robin Lloyd, Giffords Director of Government Affairs:

“The gun violence epidemic has made students afraid of what could happen to them at school and left parents wondering whether they will see their children at the end of the day. Americans want answers. But while Secretary DeVos vowed to study the problem, her final exam shows she failed. We don’t need more school personnel roaming hallways with firearms. We do need real solutions to stop gun violence. It’s time for Secretary DeVos and President Trump to recognize the importance of passing laws proven to make it harder for dangerous people to ever get a gun and cause others harm.”

The new report is not the first time Secretary DeVos has pushed for bringing more firearms onto school grounds this year. In October, Democracy Forward, on behalf of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, sued the Trump Administration for withholding records detailing the administration’s unlawful decision to permit the use of federal grant funds to arm teachers in classrooms across America. The lawsuit was filed after Secretary DeVos refused to fully disclose details about which school districts are seeking to arm teachers and what role the gun lobby played in the administration’s dangerous action.

Giffords Law Center recently released a report outlining the impact of gun violence on children. Among its key findings are that:

  • Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, more than 150,000 students in at least 170 elementary, middle, and high schools have experienced school shootings.
  • 91% of children in high-income countries who are killed with firearms live in the United States.
  • Nearly 60% of all high school students report fears of a shooting at their school or in their community.
  • Nearly 40% of children exposed to a shooting will develop PTSD.