President Joe Biden signed into law, at the end of the September, a bill called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The bill was, as could be suspected from the name, a “bipartisan” bill designed to implement some of the currently politically actionable gun control proposals.
Passed in 2022, the bill was a response to the shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, both of which were made all the more horrible by the videos of the incidents that emerged, particularly the do-nothing response of the police officers that responded to the Uvalde shooting, one many lambasted as cowardly.
In any case, among the other objectionable parts of the bill, one of its provisions seems to have stopped federal school funds from being used by schools to buy bows, guns, and other things used for school-connected archery, hunting, and school programs. That, at least, is how President Joe Biden’s U.S. Department of Education interpreted the bill.
So, Congress stepped in to right that wrong and reopen access to those important extra-curricular activities. It did so with the recently-passed Protecting Hunting and Heritage Act, a bill that was surprisingly bipartisan, being passed nearly unanimously.
Kendra Wecker, chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, thanked Congress for its quick action in an emailed statement, saying, “We appreciate the quick and decisive action taken by Congress to correct language that negatively impacted youth hunter education, archery, and shooting sports programs in our schools. These are important education activities for Ohio’s students who have shown improved grades and school attendance when mentored in these programs.”
Similarly, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership noted that had Congress not passed the fix, “millions of students who participate in archery programs, hunter education classes, wilderness and outdoor classes, and school-sponsored target shooting teams.”
Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn, commenting on the matter, said, “Educational enrichment programs like hunting and archery are critical to our next generation’s development and well-being, and this legislation would ensure they remain available in schools across the nation.”
Arizona Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, for her part, said, “School-based archery and hunting safety courses help Arizona students learn and grow while enjoying the outdoors. We’re ensuring the Administration follows the law we wrote so Arizonans can continue to benefit from these educational courses. The Department of Education wrongly interpreted the language of our Bipartisan Safer Communities law. We’re holding the Administration accountable and ensuring they follow our law so students can continue to enjoy school-based hunting and archery programs in Arizona and across the country.”
Biden strongly supported the bill at the time it was passed, saying, “The Administration strongly supports passage of S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Last month, President Biden spent hours with the family members whose lives were forever changed by the recent shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The family members delivered a simple message, which the President then relayed to the American people: do something. Do something to stop the carnage of gun violence that leaves behind grief and trauma in communities, both big and small, across the country. The President called on Congress to pass rational, commonsense measures to reduce gun violence.“
In that same message, he supported the school provisions, saying, “S. 2938 would help make our schools safer. For example, it would provide $1 billion to help schools put in place comprehensive strategies to create safe and healthy learning environments for all students. The bill would provide funding to support afterschool, beforeschool, and summer programs, which have all been shown to reduce the risk of violent incidents and law enforcement interactions, while increasing student achievement. The bill would provide $300 million to students and educators for the training and tools they need on how to prevent and respond to violence against themselves and others.“
"*" indicates required fields