WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation aimed at clarifying the intention of the earlier passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Introduced in the House of Representatives by Tennessee Congressman Mark Green, this legislation is identical to the version introduced earlier this month in the Senate.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin were co-sponsors on the Senate version of the bill which aims to reverse the Biden Administration’s strict interpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities act which disallowed programs like hunter education and archery from being taught in schools.
The Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to clarify that the prohibition of use of federal education funds for certain weapons does not apply to the use of such weapons in extracurricular programs such as archery, hunting, other shooting sports, or culinary arts.
Glad to see our Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act pass the House, and I hope the Senate takes action soon, ensuring our students maintain access to activities like archery and hunting safety education.
These are important programs that contribute to our history and…
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) September 27, 2023
The legislation had minimal impact in West Virginia since hunter education and archery programs are not funded by ESA money. Still, the matter had been a priority for both Capito and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin to be clarified. It’s unclear when the House approved legislation will be taken up in the U.S. Senate.
“Glad to see our Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act pass the House, and I hope the Senate takes action soon, ensuring our students maintain access to activities like archery and hunting safety education. These are important programs that contribute to our history and traditions in West Virginia.” Capito posted to social media in response to the House action.
Earlier this month, Manchin led a bi-partisan effort to communicate the displeasure of a group of Senators to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. The Senators sent a letter to the Secretary which said, in part:
“This pivotal piece of legislation provided resources for local, state, and federal agencies to respond to communities in crisis, provide mental health services, and build proactive safety responses to avoid future tragedies. The legislation was also carefully negotiated and drafted to protect and preserve law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” the Senators wrote. “Unfortunately, and contrary to Congressional intent, the Department of Education has misinterpreted the language to exclude certain educational activities from receiving federal resources.”
The letter was signed by 18 Senators including both Capito and Manchin.