Republican Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso took action this past week to prevent President Joe Biden's administration from keeping federal funds away from elementary and secondary schools that provide training and programming in hunting and archery, as the Daily Wire reports.
According to the lawmaker, the move became necessary after the Department of Education's July declaration that funding pursuant to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) was no longer available due to its interpretation of the recently enacted Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA).
That legislation came into being in the wake of a tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and it included language amending the ESEA to prohibit federal funds from going to any type of school “training in the use of a dangerous weapon.”
The administration, however, used the statute's amendment language to deny funds to schools offering instruction in hunting and archery, something Barrasso and many of his congressional colleagues believe is an unacceptable and inaccurate interpretation of the BSCA.
In response, Barrasso on Thursday introduced the Allowing for Recreational Resources for Outdoor Wellness (ARROW) Act, which is designed to specify that there is no restriction on the use of federal money to fund “sports clubs, teams, training, or related activities for students” in hunting, archery, and the like.
Outlining the rationale for his measure, Barrasso explained, “The Biden administration continues its attack on our constitutional rights and Wyoming values.”
“Now, President Biden's Department of Education is blocking funding for schools with hunter education and archery programs. These important programs help students learn proper firearm instruction and archery safety,” the senator went on.
In support of his contention, Barrasso noted that roughly 500,000 students participate annually in archery and hunting education programming, resulting 50% fewer accidents every year.
Not only that, the lawmaker contended, the programs to which the administration sought to cut funding “also connect our students to the long-standing heritage and traditions of America and the West.”
Barrasso vowed that the ARROW Act “will stop any attempts to block funding for schools with hunter education and archery programs and keep Washington politics out of Wyoming's schools.”
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) lent his support as a co-sponsor of the measure, saying, “It is outrageous that the Biden administration would cut hunting and archery programs that help decrease gun-related hunting accidents. The ARROW Act would preserve these important programs, which train students how to practice their Constitutional right responsibly.”
Another co-sponsor of the ARROW Act, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), outlined her position on the matter, saying, “The Biden Education Department's kneejerk liberal anti-gun policy demonstrates just how much it does not understand or appreciate the valuable lessons instilled in youth who take part in hunter education and archery programs.”
“I fully support this legislation to protect these programs and to stop these misguided threats to withhold funding to schools that offer them,” Hyde-Smith added.
Other notable supporters of the Act include Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Ted. Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and a host of others, including moderate Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, but amid mounting time pressure to pass appropriations bills for coming fiscal year, it remains to be seen whether and when the issue this measure is intended to address might be conclusively resolved.
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