The Biden administration recently confirmed that it is withholding federal funding from elementary and secondary schools that have hunting or archery programs. The administration claims it is doing this under the cover of its interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), legislation the NRA opposed.
This decision is expected to impact thousands of schools and millions of American students. What’s more is that this maneuver is yet another example of the Biden administration’s willingness to spin legislation as it sees fit in pursuit of its agenda.
The Department of Education explained in a statement that the BSCA blocked funding from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, the primary source of federal aid for elementary and secondary education. As such, these schools will have to choose between enrollment in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) or doing without federal funding.
“This prohibition applies to all ESEA funds,” a Department of Education spokesperson said. “The prohibition went into effect immediately on June 25, 2022, and applies to all existing and future awards under all ESEA programs, including [21st Century Community Learning Centers]. The Department is administering the bipartisan law as written by Congress.”
The BSCA included “an amendment to an ESEA subsection listing prohibited uses for federal school funding,” reported Fox News. “That amendment prohibits ESEA funds from helping provide any person with a dangerous weapon or to provide ‘training in the use of a dangerous weapon.’”
In response to this development, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) wrote a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona saying they were “alarmed to learn that the Department of Education (the ‘Department’) has misinterpreted the BSCA to require the defunding 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.”
“This is another clear example of an anti-gun, anti-hunting administration abusing a law filled with undefined and overly broad provisions to push its radical agenda,” said Randy Kozuch, NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director. “The Biden administration is once again demonstrating an alarming readiness to take this power as far as they desire.”
When the BSCA was introduced, NRA-ILA warned that this very bill could “be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun-control measures being adopted by state and local politicians. This bill leaves too much discretion in the hands of government officials and also contains undefined and overbroad provisions—inviting interference with our constitutional freedoms.”
And after the bill’s passage, America’s 1st Freedom contributor Charles C.W. Cooke wrote, “[i]n hastily writing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the Senate panicked. Gun owners will be paying the price for decades to come.”
As it stands, more than just gun owners are now paying the price thanks to this egregious piece of legislation.