Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Friday it is up to states whether to spend federal money to buy firearms as officials struggle to find ways to prevent school shootings.

That means, for the first time, federal education dollars could be used to buy guns.

“Let me be clear: I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff” under federal education law, DeVos said in a letter to Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott, D-Va.

DeVos said Congress should determine whether the money can be spent on firearms.

“I will not legislate via fiat from the Department,” DeVos wrote.

Officials in Texas and Oklahoma have asked the department to clarify whether money from an educational grant program can be used to buy firearms or provide gun training in an effort to make schools safer. But no explicit clarification is planned, department spokesperson Elizabeth Hill said.

The use of taxpayer money for guns in schools has drawn criticism from Democrats, teacher unions, education groups and gun-control activists, who fear weapons in classrooms will make schools more dangerous, not safer.

But President Trump has argued that arming teachers would “harden” schools, making them less likely targets for shootings.

But on Friday, DeVos said the agency will not take sides.

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