Senate Unanimously Passes Casey Bill to Safeguard Federal Funding for Hunting and Gun Safety Education

Hunting LicensesImage via Pixabay

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced the passage Wednesday of his bipartisan bill to reverse the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) guidance prohibiting the use of certain federal education funding for archery, hunting, and gun safety education classes and extra-curricular programs in schools. ED interpreted the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BCSA) in a way that prevents schools from using some federal funding to provide hunter safety education and archery classes in schools across the country.

“This is a victory for Pennsylvania, where hunting is one of our 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 Senator Casey. “I’m pushing back against the Biden Administration’s misguided decision and I’ll keep working to protect funding for this educational programming and preserve the Commonwealth’s hunting culture.”

Casey joined U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to introduce this bill to compel the Biden Administration to reverse its decision. The U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation overwhelmingly in a 424-1 vote. The bill now heads to President Biden’s desk.

Recently, Casey joined bipartisan groups of his colleagues to call on ED to change the guidance and to request that Senate Appropriators include language to permit hunting education in the Fiscal Year 2024 spending bill.

Last June Casey and his colleagues passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, commonsense gun safety legislation to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, increase mental health supports, and reduce the threat of violence across the country. The Department of Education has interpreted part of this legislation to prohibit schools from using their federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funding to provide hunter safety education and archery classes.

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The intent of BSCA is to address America’s gun violence epidemic, not to preclude students from participating in these enriching opportunities. To remedy this, Casey asked Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to reverse the Department’s guidance. Additionally, Casey pressed the Senate Appropriations Committee to include text in the FY 2024 spending bill to permit funding for these educational programs.

In addition to Senator Casey, the letter to ED Secretary Cardona is signed by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Other signers of the letter to Senate Appropriations Committee leadership in addition to Casey include U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), 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).

The letter to Secretary Cardona can be found here.

The letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee can be found here.

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