On Tuesday, the House voted to strike down the Biden administration’s attempt to block federal funding for school shooting sports courses – by a stunning bipartisan landslide
In an overwhelming 424-1 decision, the House gave its nod to the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act. The bipartisan support included 216 Republicans and 208 Democrats, with only Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, casting a dissenting vote. The bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn. addresses the Department of Education’s withholding of funds for school hunting and archery courses.
Green emphasized the conservationist role of hunters and fishers, asserting that hunting, with firearms or bows, is a highly effective means of wildlife population control, land protection, and nature connection. He stressed the critical importance of the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act for the education of future generations.
Furthermore, Green highlighted that the Biden administration’s funding decision impacts approximately 50,000 students in his state alone. Advocates argue that many schools have removed such courses from their curriculums due to federal guidance.
Lawrence Keane, Senior Vice President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, criticized the Department of Education’s interpretation of the law, asserting that it wrongfully withholds funding from schools offering valuable courses like hunter safety and archery.
Tommy Floyd, President of the National Archery in the Schools Program, pointed out that nearly 1.3 million students from almost 9,000 schools in 49 states are enrolled in archery courses.
The Department of Education, however, remains firm in its interpretation of the BSCA. They insist that only explicit legislative revision of the 2022 law would prompt a reversal of their stance, allowing funding for shooting sports programs in schools.
The BSCA, initially viewed as a “gun control” bill but championed for promoting safer and more inclusive schools, gained strong bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Joe Biden in June 2022. It included an amendment to a subsection in the ESEA listing that restricted uses for federal school funding, particularly regarding dangerous weapons and training in their use.
In response to the administration’s interpretation of the BSCA, three of the four Senate sponsors, including Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., introduced companion legislation to Green’s bill. Cornyn emphasized the importance of educational enrichment programs like hunting and archery for the development and well-being of the next generation and urged the Senate to swiftly pass the legislation.
Several Democratic Senators, including Jon Tester of Montana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and others, have voiced their opposition to the Biden administration’s interpretation of the BSCA.