On Wednesday's Erin Burnett Outfront on CNN, host Erin Burnett seemed taken aback over Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, during her confirmation hearing, being open to relaxing gun laws to allow local governments to set their own policies for schools, as the CNN host gave a sympathetic forum to liberal Connecticut Senator and gun control advocate Chris Murphy to fret over the possibility of teachers being allowed to have guns.
Without pushback from Burnett, Senator Murphy pretended that he was speaking for "almost every parent in this country" in finding her pro-gun comments frightening.
As Burnett plugged the segment before a commercial break at 7:13 p.m. ET, she focused on a comment DeVos made about individual local areas having their own reasons for having different policies than other areas as she alluded to some schools in rural areas being endangered by wild bears. After playing a clip of DeVos's remarks, the CNN host looked stunned as she paused before continuing:
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ERIN BURNETT, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: And Trump's pick for Education secretary, asked if guns belongs (sic) in schools, answered this:
BETSY DEVOS, NOMINEE FOR EDUCATION SECRETARY: I would imagine that there's probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.
BURNETT: The Senator who asked that question is my guest tonight.
Later in the show, as Senator Murphy appeared as a guest, Burnett devoted one question to the gun policy and grizzly bear comment. She began:
And you also were, of course, questioning Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick to be Education secretary, testifying before your committee last night, and you asked her specifically, Senator, if guns should be in schools or around schools. I just want to play that exchange for people. This is not something that can be paraphrased. Here's how it happened.
Then came a clip from the confirmation hearing:
DEVOS: I think that's best left to locales and states to decide. If the underlying question is-
SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): You can't say definitively today that guns shouldn't be in schools?
DEVOS: Well, I will refer back to Senator Enzi and the school that he was talking about in Wyoming, I think, probably there -- I would imagine -- that there's probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.
The CNN host brought up the Sandy Hook school shootings from 2012 as she posed: "I don't know, when she said that, if she was thinking about where you're from, Sandy Hook, took place in your state, Senator. What was your reaction when you heard that answer?"
Senator Murphy seemed to suggest that those who suggest arming teachers are not showing an appropriate amount of "compassion" for school shooting victims, even though the purpose of arming teachers is to help ward off similar shootings in the future. Murphy began:
Well, I think maybe you could see that I was pretty stunned when she couldn't articulate just some compassion for what schools are going through when we have had on some years an average of one school shooting every week. And this idea that you need guns in every school -- a ban on gun-free school zones as Donald Trump says he wants -- because we have to protect kids from grizzly attacks, I mean, it's sort of on one hand laughable -- on the other hand, tragic.
The liberal Senator then tried to speak for "almost every parent" as he added:
And the idea that we are going to potentially put somebody into the Department of Education who believes that it's okay for guns to be in our schools, for teachers to be armed, boy, I think that sends shivers down the spine of almost every parent in this country.