Murkowski Helps Secure Congressional Fix to Protect Hunter Safety and Archery Programs

Legislation Now Goes to the President’s Desk

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today helped secure unanimous consent for the Senate to pass H.R. 5110, the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act, which would make congressional intent abundantly clear and reverse a misinterpretation of law that is preventing schools from using federal education funds for hunter safety education and archery programs. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 424-1 yesterday, and next heads to the President’s desk with support from overwhelming, veto-proof majorities in both chambers.  

“The Department of Education has taken congressional intent, stretched it, warped it, and used it to put hunter safety and food security at risk for future generations of Alaskans,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “Today we sent a very clear message that hunting and archery are critical life skill for countless Americans, especially Alaskans. Whether you’re learning hunter safety, how to use a bow and arrow, or simply using an ulu knife in a culinary class, our children should have the option of learning these basic skills at school.”

“The Alaska Department of Fish and Game thanks everyone involved for their efforts to ensure we can continue to provide outdoor education activities in Alaska,” said Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang. “This will help ensure that our hunting heritage can continue throughout our state.”

“The Safari Club-Alaska Chapter thanks Senator Murkowski for her hard work in getting this very important piece of legislation into law. In a state like Alaska the protection of our hunting heritage and the education of our youth on ethical hunting and proper use of firearms is extremely important. Thanks again Senator Murkowski,” said John Sturgeon, President of the Alaska Chapter of the Safari Club International. 

H.R.5110, Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act, corrects a problem created by the Department of Education (DOE) in its guidance for the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). Contrary to congressional intent, DOE sought to prohibit schools from using federal education funding for classes and activities that use “dangerous weapons,” which it defined to include hunter safety and archery programs.

Murkowski held meetings with DOE officials, sent letters urging DOE to rescind its errant guidance, and cosponsored two bills—the ARROW Act led by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and the Defending Hunters' Education Act led by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)—to legislatively restore congressional intent.