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Biden Will Withhold Federal Funding From Schools With Hunting, Archery Programs

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The Biden administration apparently thinks that young archers are a real threat to safety. And, of course, getting rid of hunter safety classes for high school students must be an obvious way to improve safety. The Biden administration’s interpretation of the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) will allow them to deny federal funding for schools with hunting or archery classes. The change will end schools having those classes. 


Federal funding for public schools is substantial and hard for schools to ignore, with the average state’s public school receiving about 9 percent of their budgets. 

Amazingly, some Republicans supported this bill – fifteen Senators and fourteen House members – and all the Democrats. Democrats and Republicans from states with lots of hunters voted for this bill. But with the bill passing by a 65-to-33 margin, it had votes to spare and would have passed without their support. There was more to the bill than just cutting off funds for hunter safety and archery classes, with money to encourage states to adopt Red Flag laws. 

Some of these votes are hard to figure out. Democrat Senator Jon Tester represents Montana, the state with the third highest percentage of the population with hunters. Similarly, Senator Angus King comes from Maine and ranks fifth; Joe Manchin from West Virginia ranks ninth; and Baldwin (D-WI) from Wisconsin ranks eleventh. The most surprising Republican Senators were Alaska’s Murkowski (eighth-ranked state for hunters) and West Virginia’s Capito (ninth).

Biden and gun control advocates know that people who grow up around hunting are more likely to own guns when they get older. 

But whether it isn’t banning lead bullets and fishing weights or putting thousands of gun dealers out of business, the Biden administration seems determined to use every option available to eliminate hunting.


The only possible claim for lead poisoning is if people eat the lead pellets from shotgun shells. Even then, the levels would be so far below any plausible health standards that it is hard to see anyone taking them as credible risks.

The Clinton administration looked into this and dismissed concerns about lead poisoning from bullets. You can see two letters written in 1999 and 2000 by Dr. William L. Marcus, then-senior science adviser at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water. In those letters, Marcus wrote that the “assertion that the use of lead-based ammunition is hazardous is in error,” as studies of adult shooters at outdoor ranges have not shown increased blood lead levels, and those shooting at “indoor properly ventilated firing ranges have shown no increases in blood lead levels.” 

Marcus also noted, “Indoor ranges, when cleaned using prescribed protocols, have shown no increases in the blood lead levels of range personnel, and that lead does not pose an environmental threat when used in ammunition.”

A later 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study and the North Dakota Department of Public Health concluded that lead is so prevalent in meat harvested through hunting that pregnant women and children should never eat it. Unfortunately, other sources of lead poisoning weren't accounted for, and obviously, there are multiple sources of lead in the environment (the mean level of lead in the blood in the US is three micrograms, not zero). In addition, the highest level of lead in the blood for one of the 738 people sampled in the North Dakota study was less than what the government defines as elevated, even for children.


Given this skepticism of the underlying safety risks of lead, the Biden administration’s regulations look to be just another excuse to restrict gun ownership.

Finally, Biden’s Zero Tolerance Policy drove 1,826 licensed gun dealers out of business due to a compliance inspection in 2021 and 2022. Compare that to the 96 that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives put out of business in 2020. The numbers for 2021 were lower in part because it undoubtedly took the BATF time to implement the new rules. Biden claims that this policy revokes the licenses for “rogue gun dealers [who] feel like they can get away with selling guns to people who aren’t legally allowed to own them.” But these gun dealers aren’t selling guns out of the back of their stores to criminals. Biden is putting them out of business for trivial, inconsequential paperwork mistakes.  

And it is much more than these regulations, such as Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies that make it costly for firearm companies to raise funds to the pressure Biden is putting on banks and other financial institutions not to do business with gun makers. 

Biden is using the power of government regulation to crush industries that he doesn’t approve of from oil and gas companies to those in the firearms industry. Companies that are forced out of business now won’t be instantly replaced even when a new less hostile administration is elected. But the higher costs of guns means that the poor and the most vulnerable are going to find it much more difficult to defend themselves and their families.



Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “Gun Control Myths.”

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