It is the job of the Congress to write airtight, unambiguous legislation that allows no opportunity for Executive or Judicial mischief. That’s a tough task to begin with, but an overambitious Executive or Judicial branch can stretch and mangle those words beyond ridicule to do whatever they want. It doesn’t help that the job keeps getting harder with time as long-agreed upon words are intentionally rejiggered to lose their meaning.
The latest example of Executive Overreach is the “reimagining” of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), a gun control law that was passed by government to compensate for the failure of government and placate the insatiable appetites of abusive gun controllers. Fox News reports (archived links):
Biden admin withholding key funding for schools with hunting, archery programs
EXCLUSIVE: The Biden administration is blocking key federal funding earmarked under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 for schools with hunting and archery programs.
According to federal guidance circulated among hunting education groups and shared with Fox News Digital, the Department of Education determined that, under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) passed last year, school hunting and archery classes are precluded from receiving federal funding. The interpretation could impact millions of American children enrolled in such programs.
“It’s a negative for children. As a former educator of 30-plus years, I was always trying to find a way to engage students,” Tommy Floyd, the president of the National Archery in the Schools Program, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “In many communities, it’s a shooting sport, and the skills from shooting sports, that help young people grow to be responsible adults. They also benefit from relationships with role models.”
According to Floyd, his organization boasts 1.3 million students from nearly 9,000 schools across 49 states who are enrolled in archery courses. Some of those schools have already canceled plans to include archery or hunting education courses in their curriculum due to the Education Department guidance.
Why oh why would the Federal Department of Education target hunting and archery in schools? It’s perhaps a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a puzzle to some, but it’s obvious to me that the DoE is trying to nip gun ownership in the bud by choking off exposure and interest in the next generation. Gun controllers are playing a long game, and this is a move to advance their disarmament agenda.
The legislation included an amendment to an ESEA subsection listing prohibited uses for federal school funding. That amendment prohibits ESEA funds from helping provide any person with a dangerous weapon or to provide “training in the use of a dangerous weapon.”
I looked up the text of the law and this is what it says:
Subtitle D–Amendment on ESEA Funding
SEC. 13401. AMENDMENT ON ESEA FUNDING.
Section 8526 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
(20 U.S.C. 7906) is amended–
(1) in paragraph (5), by striking “or” after the
(2) in paragraph (6), by striking the period at the end and
inserting “; or”; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
“(7) for the provision to any person of a dangerous weapon,
as defined in section 930(g)(2) of title 18, United States Code,
or training in the use of a dangerous weapon.”.
I can see how this amendment could be stretched to construe the prohibition of funding for archery and hunting programs.
However, in a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona earlier this month, Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., expressed concern that the agency is misinterpreting the provision which they said was included in the BSCA last year to withhold education funds for programs training school resource officers, not for hunting and archery classes. School resource officer training was funded under a separate provision.
“We were alarmed to learn recently that the Department of Education has misinterpreted the BCSA to require the defending of certain longstanding educational and enrichment programs — specifically, archery and hunter education classes — for thousands of children, who rely on these programs to develop life skills, learn firearm safety and build self-esteem,” Cornyn and Tillis wrote to Cardona.
“The Department mistakenly believes that the BSCA precludes funding these enrichment programs,” they continued. “Such an interpretation contradicts congressional intent and the text of the BSCA.”
Senators Cornyn, Tillis, and every self-proclaimed Second Amendment supporting elected official have some serious explaining to do to their voters. This language slipped under the radar and is now rearing its head. Gun control-supporting apparatchiks at the DoE are taking advantage of it because the text did not explicitly state that such training programs are exempt.
Overall, the ESEA is the primary source of federal aid for elementary and secondary education across the country, according to the Congressional Research Service. The BSCA earmarked an additional $1 billion for educational activities under the ESEA.
Personally, I want to see a complete and permanent separation of School and State and the Department of Education eliminated. But that’s not happening anytime soon.
With so much money at stake, this was a legislative fumble to put it mildly. Let’s see what the Biden DoE does next.