Why it matters: In June 2022, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which included language that prohibited training school personnel in the use of a “dangerous weapon”. Unfortunately, the BSCA is having the unintended consequence of limiting certain U.S. Department of Education funds from being used for important educational programs such as archery in schools, wilderness courses, school sponsored shooting teams, hunter education, and any other activities that utilize a “dangerous weapon”.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is continuing to work with Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) to address this issue in a bipartisan fashion.
- Recently, CSC Member Sen. Jon Tester (MT) introduced a bipartisan bill known as Defending Hunters Education Act ( 2735), and CSC Member John Barrasso (WY) introduced a bill known as the Allowing for Recreational Resources for Outdoor Wellness (ARROW) Act (S. 2736).
- Last week, CSC Member Rep. Mark Green’s bipartisan Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act (R. 5110) passed the House Education and Workforce Committee unanimously, a sign of the strong support to address this issue. Prior to the vote, CSF contacted many offices who serve on the Committee encouraging them to support America’s youth and vote “yes” on Congressman Green’s bill.
With Congress back from the August recess, CSF is continuing to work with members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus to quickly address the issues caused by the BSCA for students across the country who participate in many important outdoor enrichment programs.
In June 2022, the BSCA was signed into law, which included language that amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to prohibit ESEA funds from being used for training school personnel in the use of a “dangerous weapon”, which is defined in federal statute as “a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2½ inches in length”. This sweeping definition is impacting many programs that are foundational to our sporting heritage such as wilderness courses, archery in schools, hunter education, school sponsored shooting teams, etc. Unfortunately, because of the plain definition of “dangerous weapon”, the BSCA language is limiting the funding opportunities for the school programs that are critically important activities for America’s youth.
CSF is encouraged to see several bipartisan efforts in Congress that seek to address this issue. Specifically, CSF is very pleased to see Congressman Green’s bill pass its respective Committee of jurisdiction under a unanimous vote. CSF is currently working to secure cosponsors to the Senate efforts to quickly resolve this issue.
Given the strong momentum and leadership of Rep. Mark Green and Sens. Tester and Barrasso, CSF is hopeful that a legislative fix to amend the BSCA and restore Elementary and Secondary Education Act funds will be signed into law at some point in the near future.