Maine’s Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins sent a letter Tuesday to the Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona expressing her concern over the agency interpreting the 2022 “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” (BSCA) to withhold federal funds from schools with hunting or archery programs in their curriculum.
Sen. Collins was among 15 Republican Senators who voted in favor of the bill, which was spurred on by calls for gun control legislation following the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
In her letter, Collins says the Department of Education misinterpreted the language of the bill, and reached an “erroneous conclusion” in its use of the law to prohibit schools in Maine and across the country from receiving certain education funding for archery and hunting classes.
“I was a member of the group of 12 Senators that negotiated the BSCA in the aftermath of several horrific mass shootings. Our goal was to help prevent gun violence while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans,” Collins wrote to Secretary Cardona.
“Congress did not intend to reduce the ability for schools to provide healthy and enriching opportunities to students, including archery and hunter education classes,” Collins said. “To the contrary, these are precisely the types of offerings that have long supported Maine’s culture of responsible gun ownership, and I believe that the Department’s misinterpretation of the law will be counterproductive and harmful.”
The section of the BSCA in question, Section 13401, ensures funding for “activities to support safe and healthy students” under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Collins wrote.
Other sections of the BSCA, she added, provide funding for “school hardening measures and school resource officers.”
One such school hardening measure prevented a gunman from perpetrating a shooting at a Jewish day school in Memphis, Tennessee, in late July.
The gunman fled the scene after failing to enter the Margolin Hebrew Academy because of the building’s double security doors, and he was later tracked down and arrested by Memphis Police.
“Thankfully, that school had a great safety procedure and process in place and avoided anyone being harmed or injured at that scene,” said Dan Crow, assistant police chief of Memphis Police in a news conference following the incident.
Collins made news last week on WVOM’s Ric Tyler and George Hale Show with comments on the multiple indictments of former President Donald Trump and the Hunter Biden plea deal.
She said in response to a listener question about the allegations against Hunter Biden that they “deserve the same kind of in-depth investigation” as the allegations against Trump.
Collins said that a judge rejecting Biden’s plea deal was “unusual” and required further investigation.
Read Sen. Collins full letter to Secretary Cardona below: