by Mark Chesnut - Thursday, October 5, 2023
We told you recently how the Biden Administration had used a gun-control measure passed last year by Congress to begin blocking federal funding earmarked under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 for schools with hunting and archery programs. Now both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate have passed a strong bipartisan measure rebuking the administration’s overstep and extending the funding to those schools.
On Sept. 27, the House in a 424-to-1 vote approved HR 5110, the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act. The Senate immediately fast-tracked the measure, passing it by unanimous consent. It now goes to President Joe Biden for his consideration.
The administration had used last year’s so-called Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as the reason for the funding cuts. The National Rifle Association strongly opposed that legislation when it was being considered in Congress, and also opposed the Biden administration using that legislation as an excuse to force schools to give up archery and hunting programs or lose critical funding.
U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) was the author of the measure and spoke passionately about it on the House floor before the vote was taken.
“The Biden administration’s reckless misinterpretation of the Safer Communities Act unfairly targeted archery and shooting sports in K-12 schools,” Green said. “Democrats and Republicans agree the Biden administration missed the target—by a long shot. Under the Department of Education’s current interpretation of the law, other school activities like fencing and the culinary arts would also be at risk. This is unacceptable.”
In fact, 25 state attorneys also found the scheme unacceptable and signed on to a letter to leaders in Congress asking for action. Like the NRA, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and just about every other hunting and conservation group also opposed the funding cuts and were quick to congratulate lawmakers for the legislation designed to restore funding for these important programs.
The Biden administration’s move to cut funding shows just how out of touch with normal Americans the president is. In the highly polarized political world we live in today, few measures of any type get near unanimous approval by both houses of Congress, yet this one did—and did so very quickly.
The lesson to President Biden is this: Mess with time-honored American traditions like hunting at your own peril. With the legislation now in his hands, it will be interesting to see whether he has learned that lesson.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC in Jenks, Okla. An avid hunter, shooter and field-trialer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years.
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