WASHINGTON, DC – Pennsylvania U.S. Senators John Fetterman and Bob Casey, along with over a dozen bipartisan Senate colleagues, sent a letter to Senate Appropriators requesting clarifying language to address the Department of Education’s interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as it relates to archery and hunter safety education.
Currently, the law is being interpreted in a way that prevents schools from using certain federal funding to provide hunter safety education and archery classes in schools across the country.
“It’s clear that we need to revisit this regulation to provide better guidance to schools across Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Fetterman. “Hunting is one of the commonwealth’s most important traditions, and it’s clear that our schools need to be able to provide hunter safety education classes. I was proud to join with my colleagues in sending this letter to push for changes to this ruling.”
“Hunting is one of Pennsylvania’s longest and proudest traditions. School archery and hunting education programs are essential to families who pass their traditions of hunting white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and more down from generation to generation,” said Sen. Casey. “I’m pushing back against the Biden Administration’s misguided decision and I’m working to protect funding for this educational programming and preserve the Commonwealth’s hunting culture.”
Last June, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), common-sense legislation to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, increase mental health supports, and reduce the threat of violence across our country. The Department of Education has interpreted part of this legislation to prohibit schools from using their federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act funding to provide hunter safety education and archery classes.
The intent of BSCA was to address America’s gun violence epidemic, not to preclude students from participating in these kinds of opportunities. To remedy this, the Senators requested the inclusion of the following bill text in the FY 2024 LHHS bill:
Sec. _. (a) Section 8526(7) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7906(7)) shall not prohibit the use of funds made available under this Act or any other Act for activities carried out under programs authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that are otherwise permissible under such programs and that provide students with educational enrichment activities and instruction, such as archery, hunter safety education, outdoor education, or culinary arts.
In addition to the Pennsylvania Senators, the letter is signed by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni K. Ernst (R-IA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VT), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Thom Tillis (R-NC) Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).