This week, the Biden administration made it official that it does not provide significant government funding to elementary and secondary schools that conduct archery or hunting programs.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), a gun control measure that was officially enacted after a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last year after Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) “extended two decades of political capital” in order to get it passed, was cited by Fox News as saying that the funding derived from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965 had been blocked due to its interpretation.
The government money withheld from ESEA-designated schools offering hunting and archery programs has had an impact on thousands of schools and maybe millions of kids nationwide.
The Department stated that “this prohibition extends to all ESEA funds. The restriction is applicable to all current and future awards made under all ESEA programs, which includes 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and it took effect instantly on June 25, 2022. The bipartisan law, as established by Congress, is being administered by the Department.”
According to Fox News, the BSCA contained “an amendment to an ESEA subsection specifying restricted uses for federal school funding. In accordance with that provision, no one may obtain a hazardous weapon or receive “training in the proper handling of a dangerous weapon with the use of ESEA money.”
Cornyn and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) expressed their alarm in a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona last month, stating that they were “alarmed to discover that the Dept. of Education (the ‘Department’) has misinterpreted the BSCA to require the ceasing of funding of a number of long-running educational and enrichment activities — specifically archery and hunter education classes — for thousands of youngsters who depend on these kinds of activities to acquire life skills, understand firearm safety, and boost self-esteem.”
In related news, actor Matthew McConaughey revealed last week to ABC News that he began his newly formed Green Lights Grant Initiative after finding that schools were having trouble receiving funds from the BSCA.
Twelve schools in the Uvalde area, he claimed, had submitted financial requests, but none had been approved.
The question “What are we doing?” said McConaughey. “There was no success at all. One, there were far too few submissions. We received 0 out of the 12 applications.”
“The administration acknowledges that things shouldn’t be this difficult. You have 14,000 or so schools,” he said. “This award program will link those districts to the billions of resources that are available, willing, and able to be used to protect our children.”