Congress just passed a bill aimed prohibiting the Biden administration from defunding popular student archery and hunter safety courses across the U.S.
Controversy erupted earlier this year when the Education Department blocked funding for archery and shooting classes based off an interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), a divisive gun-control law passed by Congress last year in response to a series of mass shootings. That bill included an amendment that prohibited using federal school funds to provide “training in the use of a dangerous weapon.”
Critics pointed out that the Biden administration was misinterpreting the law and depriving millions of American students a chance to learn archery and hunter safety skills.
In response, the U.S. House passed the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act on a 424-1 vote, and the Senate followed suit on Sept. 28 with unanimous support. The bill makes congressional intent abundantly clear, and is now headed to Biden’s desk with veto-proof support from Congress.
More than 350 Alaska students in grades 4-12 participated in the NASP archery program last year. This includes hundreds of school-based programs from all across the state.
According to Alaska’s National Archery in Schools Program website, more than 200 schools in Alaska participate in the NASP Program with more teachers being trained as Basic Archery Instructors every year.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game hosts annual student archery tournaments, and has partnered with local Alaska schools to provide hands-on gun safety classes for students who want to get their hunter certification through school courses.
“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 Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang. “This will help ensure that our hunting heritage can continue throughout our state.”
Alaska’s hunter education course provides training in firearms safety, wildlife conservation, and respect for natural resources, landowners and other hunters. Graduates receive a lifetime certification recognized by all states, Canadian provinces, and Mexico. Since its inception in 1949, over 30 million students have completed hunter education training in the United States.
Alaska law requires that hunters born after Jan.1, 1986, who are 18 or older, to pass a hunter safety course in order to hunt in certain areas of the state.