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Alaska Delegation Push for Protections on State Hunting, Archery Law

Alaska’s congressional delegation helped pass a bill in the U.S. Senate this week that safeguards certain sport clubs and programs for hunting and archery.

With the help of Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, as well as other state leaders, House bill 5110 — also known as the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act — passed the Senate with a resounding 424-1 vote on Tuesday.

Murkowski’s office said in a statement that the act “corrects a problem” that was created by the Department of Education in its guidance for the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, saying that funding for school archery, hunting, and shooting sport clubs and programs should not be blocked due to the act.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was passed in June 2022 following the Uvalde, Texas, shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead at Robb Elementary School. The act promised to curb gun violence by spending millions of dollars to clarify and boost background checks for those purchasing firearms and enhancing red flag laws in states.

However, Alaska’s senators say the law put constraints on Alaskans who use archery and hunting equipment for sport or subsistence reasons.

Murkowski said in the statement that the Department of Education “stretched it, warped it, and used it to put hunter safety skills at risk for the next generation of Alaskans.”

“Today we sent a very clear message that hunting safety and archery are important life skills for countless Americans, especially Alaskans, and that schools may continue to fund these hunter safety heritage programs,” Murkowski said.

Sullivan said in a release that in addition to providing programs that teach vital skills and cultural values in Alaska, the funding can also help save lives by promoting safe firearm handling practices.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy also chimed in, applauding the passage of the act.

“Hunting is a way of life in Alaska,” Dunleavy said. “The overwhelming support of Congress for this legislation sends a clear message to the Biden administration that archery, shooting sport clubs, and hunting education matters to Americans.”

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