Sullivan, Congress Rebuke Biden Administration, Restore Funding for School Archery & Hunting Programs
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and his Senate colleagues today voted unanimously to pass the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act, legislation restoring funding for school archery, hunting and shooting sport clubs and programs that has been blocked by the Biden Education Department’s implementation of the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). While supporting some of the mental health provisions of the BSCA, Sen. Sullivan ultimately opposed the BSCAdue to concerns over its implementation and how it could impact the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding American citizens. The House passed the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act earlier today by a vote of 424 to 1.
“This is a problem that should’ve never happened, but I’m glad we have fixed it. I opposed the 2022Bipartisan Safer Communities Act based on serious concerns I had about how the bill’s vague language could be used by the Biden administration to impede Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened,” said Sen. Sullivan. “My team and I have heard from hundreds of Alaskans, including a bipartisan group of Alaska legislators, who are rightly outraged at the Biden Education Department’s effort to subvert school hunting and archery programs—programs that teach vital skills and cultural values integral to Alaska’s way of life. I’m glad my Senate colleagues have come together in a bipartisan way to restore this funding that actually saves lives by promoting safe firearm-handling practices.”
“Hunting is a way of life in Alaska,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “The overwhelming support of Congress for this legislation sends a clear message to the Biden administration that archery, shooting sport clubs, and hunting education matters to Americans.”
“I applaud Senator Sullivan’s leadership on his efforts to restore funding to school archery and hunting programs caused by the misguided and misinformed actions of the Biden Administration,” Alaska Speaker of the House Cathy Tilton stated. “Senator Sullivan has long been an ardent defender of Second Amendment rights and this affirms that long-standing position. Having recently passed the first major Second Amendment legislation in Alaska in a decade, I’m proud to stand with Senator Sullivan celebrating the passage of this important measure reaffirming our constitutional rights and the cultural and historical significance that shooting sports, archery and hunting has as part of the fabric of Alaska.”
“The Alaska Department of Fish and Game thanks everyone involved for their efforts to ensure we can continue to provide outdoor education activities in Alaska,” said Doug Vincent-Lang, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “This will help ensure that our hunting heritage can continue throughout our state.”
“Hunting and archery education programs are incredibly important to the culture of self-sufficiency, subsistence and safety that Alaska is known for,” said John Sturgeon, President of the Alaska Chapter of the Safari Club International. “Our state is all too familiar with the federal government trying to dictate our unique way of life. I’m grateful that Senator Sullivan has stayed on top of this issue since the beginning to keep these programs available to Alaska’s next generation of hunters and outdoorsmen.”
- On September 7, Sen. Sullivan, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and 25 of their Senate colleagues introduced the ARROW Act, legislation similar to the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act. The ARROW Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to clarify that the prohibition of the use of federal education funds for certain weapons does not apply to the use of funds for sports clubs, teams, training, or related activities provided for students. The BSCA, which amended the ESEA, prohibited the use of federal funds for purchasing or training anyone in the use of items that could broadly be considered a weapon. This prohibition was interpreted by the Department of Education to preclude certain educational programs from receiving federal education funding.
- On August 11, Sen. Sullivan, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and 17 of their Senate Republican colleagues sent a letter to President Biden urging the administration to withdraw any plans to block funding for schools with hunting and archery programs.
- On June 3, 2022, Sen. Sullivan voted against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which explicitly prohibited the use or training in the use of a “dangerous weapon” in federally-funded school programs. According to the legislation’s own definitions, dangerous weapons includes knives with blades greater than 2.5 inches, such as cooking knives, guns, archery equipment or anything else that could cause death or bodily injury.
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