Biden Admin Cuts Funding For School Hunting, Archery Training Programs

Gun Rights

The Biden administration is blocking funding for school hunting and archery programs approved under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.

The Education Department has cut off funding for school hunting and archery programs because of its interpretation of a provision in legislation passed last year, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). The law included an amendment to the ESEA that bans taxpayer funds from being used on “training in the use of a dangerous weapon,” according to Fox News.

Earlier this month, GOP Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina wrote to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona concerned with the Department of Education’s interpretation of the amendment. Cornyn and Tillis introduced the BSCA last year alongside Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ).

“We were alarmed to learn recently that the Department of Education has misinterpreted the BCSA to require the defending of certain longstanding educational and enrichment programs — specifically, archery and hunter education classes — for thousands of children, who rely on these programs to develop life skills, learn firearm safety and build self-esteem,” Cornyn and Tillis wrote, according to Fox News.

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“The Department mistakenly believes that the BSCA precludes funding these enrichment programs,” the senators said. “Such an interpretation contradicts congressional intent and the text of the BSCA.”

The Education Department’s decision to cut funding for school hunting and archery programs has sparked pushback from shooting clubs, hunting industry groups, and others.

“It is ironic that the U.S. Department of Education is actively denying young Americans the chance to educate themselves on basic firearm and hunting safety so that they can go afield knowing how to keep themselves, their friends, and family safe,” said Ben Cassidy, executive vice president at Safari Club International.

The National Rifle Association said, “No surprise! This is another example of an anti-gun, anti-hunting administration abusing an ambiguous law filled with undefined and overly broad provisions to push their radical agenda.”

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The controversy over the BSCA follows a move last month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Administration to ban the use of lead ammunition and tackle from eight national wildlife refuges. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said the regulation would depress hunting and fishing on public lands.

“As this proposed rule brings an increase in cost for sportsmen and women, we can inevitably expect a decrease in the number of individuals who can afford to enjoy the outdoors,” Westerman said in a statement. “Hunters and anglers are without question the Americans with the greatest interest in conservation and they contribute millions of dollars to conservation efforts each year.”

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