House and Senate nearly unanimous in vote to protect school archery and hunting courses defunded by Biden admin

September 28, 2023
Ben Marquis

It was revealed earlier this year that the Biden administration, citing its interpretation of the bipartisan gun control bill passed last year, had cut off federal funding to schools that offered students courses on archery and hunting, given that such courses involve the use of "technically dangerous weapons" by minors.

The House on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly, however, 424-1, in favor of legislation that would restore and protect federal funding for schools that offered such archery and hunting courses as extracurricular activities for students, Fox News reported.

That affirmative vote included 216 Republicans along with 208 Democrats, with decidedly anti-gun Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) being the lone vote against the bill.

"Congress has spoken loud and clear"

Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) first introduced the bill titled the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act, and told Fox News after its passage of the House, "Hunters and fishers are the best conservationists. Hunting, whether it be with a firearm or bow, is one of the most effective ways to control wildlife populations, protect our beautiful lands, and connect with nature. My Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act is critical for our children."

According to Just the News, just one day following the near-unanimous vote in the House, the Senate also approved the legislation without a vote by declaring unanimous consent with no objections.

Congressman Green said in a statement, "This is an incredible win for students across America. Congress has spoken loud and clear, and I urge President Biden to sign my bill into law."

"I’m grateful for the overwhelming bipartisan support this bill garnered in the House, the Senate, and across the country. Both sides of the aisle agree that shooting sports and archery programs in schools contribute to the well-being and development of students," he added. "The passage of this bill in the Senate within a day of its passage in the People’s House is proof of that. The tremendous benefit of sports and extracurricular activities, especially those that get kids outside, cannot be overstated."

Biden admin's "misinterpretation" of gun control bill led to defunding of schools

Fox News had previously reported in July that President Biden's Education Department had quietly announced that it would strip federal funding from any and all schools that continued to offer archery or hunting courses for students.

That decision was based on an interpretation of provisions within the 2022 gun control bill known as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and a determination that since such courses involved "technically dangerous weapons" they "may not be funded under" provisions of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is the main source of federal funding for most schools across the nation.

However, both special interest groups and legislators from both sides of the aisle, including those who had a hand in crafting the BSCA law, were quick to assert that the Biden administration had grossly and unfairly misinterpreted the Act to further its own anti-gun agenda.

That includes Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who was joined by several other Republican and Democratic senators in opposing the administration's move, who said Tuesday, "The Biden administration’s misinterpretation of these provisions has jeopardized educational enrichment programs like hunting and archery, which play a critical role in our next generation’s development and well-being," and added, "This legislation would ensure these programs remain available in schools across the nation, and I urge the Senate to pass it as soon as possible."

White House says Biden will sign bill protecting archery and hunting courses

Following the Senate's unanimous passage of the bill to restore and protect federal funding for schools that offer archery and hunting courses, Fox News reported on Thursday that the White House indicated that President Biden would sign that legislation into law.

A spokesperson for the White House pointed to a prior statement from Stefanie Feldman, director of the White House's Office of Gun Violence Prevention, who said earlier in the week, "The President supports a legislative solution to ensure ESEA funding can be used for valuable school enrichment programs, such as hunter safety and archery."

Sen. Cornyn, who had introduced with bipartisan support companion legislation to Rep. Green's bill in the Senate, reiterated his previous remarks following the Senate's passage of the measure, and denounced "The Biden administration’s shameful and deliberate misinterpretation" of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and added, "I urge the President to immediately sign it into law and right this egregious wrong."

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