Biden to sign bill protecting school shooting sports programs

Bipartisan legislation reverses Education Department’s decision to defund hunting and archery courses

President Biden is expected to sign a bill that would prevent his administration from cutting federal funding for school shooting sports programs, such as hunting and archery. The bill, known as the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act, passed with overwhelming support in both the House and the Senate this week.

The bill was introduced in response to the Education Department’s interpretation of a 2022 law that aimed to prevent mass shootings by prohibiting federal funds from being used to provide anyone with a weapon or training involving a dangerous weapon. The department applied this rule to school programs that teach students about hunting safety, archery, and other shooting sports, effectively defunding them.

However, lawmakers from both parties argued that the department’s decision was a misinterpretation of the law and threatened the educational and recreational benefits of these programs. They said that these programs teach students valuable skills such as public safety, confidence, and comradery, as well as promote the conservation of wildlife and natural resources.

Biden to sign bill protecting school shooting sports programs

Lawmakers from rural states lead the effort to save school shooting sports programs

The bill was championed by lawmakers from rural states where hunting and shooting sports are part of the culture and tradition. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who filed a companion measure in the Senate, said that “the Biden administration has this one flat-out wrong – school hunting and shooting sports education classes are part of our Montana way of life and need to be fully funded.”

Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., who introduced the bill in the House, said that “the benefits of hunter education and archery programs should be fully recognized as these classes teach future generations the important skills of public safety, confidence, and comradery.” He also criticized the Education Department for “overreaching” and “ignoring” the intent of Congress.

The bill received support from a diverse coalition of lawmakers, including Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, and Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. It also received endorsements from various groups representing hunters, conservationists, educators, and sportsmen.

White House confirms Biden’s support for school shooting sports programs

The White House confirmed on Thursday that Biden plans to sign the bill into law, despite his administration’s initial move to defund school shooting sports programs. A White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital that Biden supports the bill, which clarifies Congress’ intent that prohibiting federal education funds for certain weapons does not apply to training in archery, hunting, or other shooting sports.

The spokesperson also cited a statement from Stefanie Feldman, the director of the White House’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention, who said that “the president supports a legislative solution to ensure ESEA funding can be used for valuable school enrichment programs, such as hunter safety and archery.”

The bill is expected to be signed by Biden soon, as it passed with veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers. The House approved the bill on Tuesday by a vote of 424-1, with only Rep. Escobar voting against it. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday by unanimous consent.

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