Today, Sept. 14, the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, together with Safari Club International and Western Michigan Bowhunters Chapter of SCI, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education regarding its reading of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). The lawsuit challenges the department’s misguided interpretation of the act, which has resulted in a loss of federal funding for public-school programs such as hunter education, shooting sports and other outdoor education programs.
When Congress passed the BSCA last year, the gun-control bill contained increased funding for security and mental health resources in schools. However, the bill also included language that prohibited those federal funds from being used to purchase or to provide training for any person in the use of “dangerous weapons.” The intent of Congress was to ensure that these funds were not used for resource officer training, which comes from a different funding source.
The Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, SCI and Western Michigan Bowhunters have taken this legal action to address their concerns that the Department of Education under the Biden Administration is deliberately misconstruing Congress’ intent and violating the spirit and letter of the law. Co-sponsors of the BSCA have consistently asserted that the law was never intended to restrict funding for these essential programs.
“Millions of school children learn valuable social and life lessons in these classes, including skills, safety and conservation. That’s all gone now,” said Todd Adkins, vice president of government affairs for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This entire fiasco shows that even seemingly innocuous gun control can be misconstrued by the government or a presidential administration to advance an agenda that takes away individuals’ civil rights or even safety education for children.”
The lawsuit was filed after the organizations’ gave notice of intent to sue and requested a response from the department, which went unanswered. Research has shown that shooting sports, hunter education, and outdoor education programs have real benefits for students’ mental and physical health while nurturing an abiding appreciation for the outdoors among the next generation of sportsmen. The Sportsmen’s Alliance and our partners believe it’s vital to protect these programs that promote our outdoor heritage.
In addition to the lawsuit, the coalition is working with members of Congress to amend the law and right this egregious wrong. Several members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, have spoken out against the Biden Administration’s interpretation of the BSCA and have proposed legislative fixes. The Sportsmen’s Alliance has also created a petition to send a clear message to Congress that American citizens want this education funding restored.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.