Federal Funding Blocked for Hunting and Firearms Education in Schools

By Jaclyn Krymowski for Protect The Harvest

In a stroke of his pen, President Biden struck down essential federal funding that has historically supported hunting and archery education and safety programs in schools. Funding had been provided for 58 years under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.

Funding was cut upon Biden signing into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which was passed in both the House and Senate in June of 2022, and supported by gun control advocacy groups that oppose the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The bill was created with the broad, non-specified, talking point goal of offering “safer, more inclusive and positive” environments for students. Part of that legislation was an amendment to ESEA that would halt any funds involving “training in the use of a dangerous weapon.” No mention was made of those who are untrained in firearms and archery being potentially more of a hazard.

A loss for firearms safety and student activity

As a result of this legislation being signed into law, Tommy Floyd, President of the National Archery in the Schools Program reached out to the news media citing his deep disappointment. This law eliminates essential safety training for the handling of firearms by young people. It also removes an opportunity for students to experience the many valuable lessons and benefits of shooting sports, including personal development, improving skills and confidence-building.

Floyd told FOX News:

“You’ve got every fish and wildlife agency out there working so hard to utilize every scrap of funding, not only for the safety and hunter education but for the general understanding of why stewardship is so important when it comes to natural resources. Any guidance where it’s even considered a ‘maybe’ or a prohibition for shooting sports is a huge negative.”

Another notable concern is how the amendment is being interpreted, citing recreational firearms usage as ‘training’ with a “dangerous weapon.”

Even two Republican U.S. senators who worked to introduce BSCA, John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, wrote to the Education Secretary Miguel Cardona sharing their concern at this turn of events.

They wrote:

“We were alarmed to learn recently that the Department of Education has misinterpreted the BCSA to require the defending 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. The Department mistakenly believes that the BSCA precludes funding these enrichment programs. Such an interpretation contradicts congressional intent and the text of the BSCA.”

The future of our schools

Various advocacy groups in the shooting and hunting space have openly expressed their points of view, including Ben Cassidy, Executive Vice President of Safari Club International, who shared that this is the denial of basic firearm and hunting safety to young people which is valuable information that can allow them to keep themselves and their families safe.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) was not surprised by this turn of events, calling the Biden Administration “anti-gun” and “anti-hunting” and citing that this is yet another case of wielding an intentionally ambiguous law to push an anti-firearms, anti-2nd amendment agenda.

For many young people across America, hunting and shooting sports are beloved parts of their lives. Unfortunately, many of them do not have access to the information and equipment to be involved in these activities unless it is provided by friends and family. This is common in rural communities, but not so much in many urban and suburban environments.

Offering these as extracurricular activities in the school systems give so many youth an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise had, in a safe environment, and under the guidance of educated, caring adults.

Standing United

This is another example of vague laws being used against citizens to practice their rights and freedoms, even in safe, controlled spaces. It should stand as a reminder of the importance of legislative wording and how agenda-driven politicians and advocacy groups manipulate legislation that is not necessary in the best interest of “we the people.”

Keeping America free and fed includes safeguarding access to hunting, firearms and proper education. Restricting funding and the education system is one tactic used to threaten these rights. Protect the Harvest exists to inform Americans about the implications behind complex, and often misleading, legislation. Follow our blog and newsletter for updates on current issues impacting our rights concerning food production, food security, property rights and other important freedoms.


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