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August 2, 2023

Biden Defunds School Hunter Safety Programs

The Education Department is using the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as an excuse to withhold money from schools that train hunters.

Apparently, the Biden administration doesn’t only object to so-called “assault weapons” but also to firearms millions of Americans use for hunting. Using the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) passed by Congress last year in response to the school attack in Uvalde, Texas, the Department of Education is withholding funding from schools across the nation that have hunting and archery programs.

Joe Biden’s DOE argued that the BSCA amended the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), prohibiting these funds from being used to provide “training in the use of a dangerous weapon.” It seems that Biden’s oft-repeated vocal support of hunting is all talk, though he could probably use some remedial education himself given his predilection for firing shotguns off balconies and through doors.

According to Republicans, the Biden administration is engaged in a dubious interpretation and application of the new law. Shocking, we know. Senators John Cornyn (TX) and Thom Tillis (NC) last month sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona charging the agency with misinterpreting the law, observing that the BSCA provision in question was intended to preclude the funds from going to the training of resource officers, not to prevent funding of hunting and archery programs for students.

Republican Tennessee Representative Mark Green also blasted the Biden administration for seeking to impose “elitist values on Tennesseans,” saying that such actions weren’t “going to fly.” North Carolina Republican Representative Dan Bishop called the Education Department’s decision “shameful, but not at all surprising.” He added, “The Biden [administration] will take any opportunity to stomp on your constitutional rights — even down to teaching kids archery and hunting skills.”

The decision flies in the face of one of the main demands of the gun control lobby, namely the call for more safety training. Here we have the Biden administration actively doing the exact opposite. The Education Department, using the guise of promoting “safety,” will punish schools (by withholding funding) that dare to teach students firearm safety, which is one of the primary focuses of hunter safety programs.

As Safari Club International Executive Vice President Ben Cassidy observed, “It is ironic that the U.S. Department of Education is actively denying young Americans the chance to educate themselves on basic firearm and hunting safety so that they can go afield knowing how to keep themselves, their friends, and family safe.”

And when it comes to firearms, the Biden administration may be spitting into the wind, not simply because of the estimated number of firearms Americans own, but because of the percentage of Americans who now own firearms. According to a recent study conducted by Rutgers University’s New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center, the estimated number of firearms owners in the U.S. is likely much higher than the widely reported 30%. Indeed, the actual percentage may be as high as 60%.

Reason Magazine’s J.D. Tuccille noted that the study reveals a phenomena some call the “quiet gun owners.” Like the supposed “silent majority” of politically conservative voters, these “quiet gun owners” are individuals who for reasons of privacy when polled deny they own a firearm.

And given the increasingly vehement anti-gun position of leftist politicians, and growing fears that these politicians may seek to crack down on certain firearms, gun owners are reticent to let on that they own any. This may also explain why the push for ever-increasing gun control often fails to gain traction in much of the country. As the Biden administration is demonstrating with the BSCA, if you give them an inch, they’ll try to take a mile.

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