(UnitedVoice.com) – In July, the Department of Education acknowledged it was withholding funding from elementary and middle schools with archery or hunting programs. The department argued that it was following the plain interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). Lawmakers argued they got it wrong and have now passed a law to stop the Department of Education. President Joe Biden’s administration has responded.
On September 26, the House voted 424-1 to pass the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act. The Senate unanimously approved the legislation the next day. The bill ensures elementary and middle schools will continue to receive funding for archery and hunting programs. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said the Department of Education got it wrong when they stripped funding for the programs because the students were using “technically dangerous weapons” and shouldn’t be funded under the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
In early August, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) wrote a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and asked him to reverse the interpretation of the BSCA. He said the schools in his states had traditionally “offered shooting sport and hunter safety classes that play an important role in teaching safety and personal responsibility” to kids. He went on to say members of both parties worked together on the BSCA to “improve the safety and well-being of American students” while also protecting the Second Amendment, but the department’s actions hurt those goals.
After the House and Senate passed the legislation, the White House sent Fox News Digital a statement informing them that Biden would be signing the new bill to reverse his administration’s interpretation. They pointed to an earlier statement from Office of Gun Violence Prevention Director Stefanie Feldman, who said Biden supported a “legislative solution” to make sure funding from the ESEA could be spent to fund “valuable school enrichment programs” like archery and hunter safety courses.
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