US House, Senate Restore Federal Hunter Ed Funding; Next Step: Biden Sig

A bill that would reauthorize funding hunter education and archery programs in schools passed the US House of Representatives in a near-unanimous vote yesterday and the Senate today.

HR 5110 would amend guidance from the Department of Education that had blocked using federal funds for the activities because they involved “technically dangerous weapons.”


That drew pushback this past summer when it first came to light and lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have since been working to correct it.

“We are grateful for congressional champions who worked together on a bipartisan solution to safeguard Department of Education funding for hunter safety education programs. We know that for decades, children across the nation have fallen in love with the outdoors through these programs that teach about wildlife management, firearm and archery safety, and habitat conservation,” said Collin O’Mara, National Wildlife Federation president and CEO said in a press release this morning. “We urge Congress to get a bipartisan legislative solution to President Biden’s desk so that we can keep building the next generation of conservationists.” 

The federal agency’s reading came out of 2022’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which amended the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The kerfluffle became public in late July through a Fox News story. The department subsequently said it would be “happy to provide technical assistance on legislative language to address this issue and restore allowability of ESEA funding for valuable enrichment opportunities for students, such as archery and hunter safety programs.”

Among HR 5110’s 71 cosponsors are Washington Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-3) – one of three Democratic cosponsors – and Dan Newhouse (R-4) and Oregon Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-5).

“These are American traditions – and students should be able to learn safe, responsible practices,” tweeted Gluesenkamp Perez this morning.

The entire Northwest delegation voted in favor of what’s known as the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act.

The Senate took up the act today and passed it unanimously, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation reported this afternoon. The bill must now heads to President Biden’s desk.

“We are grateful for congressional champions who worked together expeditiously on a bipartisan solution to safeguard Department of Education funding for these important youth outdoor programs,” said Chuck Sykes, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, in an afternoon press release. “We urge President Biden to swiftly sign this bipartisan affirmation of funding for these important outdoor enrichment opportunities.”