ABC Fox Montana: Tester shares plans to keep hunter education, archery, gun safety programs funded for schools

by Melinda Lee

Recently, Montana’s senators have spoken out against the Biden Administration’s decision to block federal funds being used for school archery and hunting education classes.

We sat down with Senator Jon Tester who introduced the Defending Hunters Education Act, which would reverse that decision.

In a press release, Tester said schools offering shooting sport and hunter safety classes teach students safety and personal responsibility.

Here is the interview with Sen. Tester:

“As a proud gun owner myself, somebody who has more guns than I did but fewer than I want, it’s a part of our sculpture and knowing how to utilize those guns in a safe way is very very important.

So when we passed the safer community act to make our community safer, it was supposed to do exactly that and then what happened is the secretary of education says ‘we’re not gonna fund Hunter education for weapons and for bows” and I will tell you that’s crazy, Hunter safety is something that’s very fundamental to Montanans and it’s something that teaches people exactly what that title says: Hunter safety. To make handling of guns safer.

So it didn’t make any sense.

When I found out about it in early August I fired a letter off to secretary right away nothing’s really happened on that we’ve had some conversations but nothing’s really moved so we dropped in a bill on Wednesday

Bi-partisan bill that hopefully will do everything possible in our power to get it passed very very soon within the next month I hope maybe even sooner than that and get this use put behind us because quite frankly Hunter safety learning how, what a weapon can do and how to handle that weapon is really fundamentally important to our second amendment rights.”

How successful did you see these (gun safety, hunter education, archery) programs in the schools prior to that removal of funding?

“So I’m gonna tell you something, I just celebrated my 67th birthday. I remember distinctly the hunter’s education classes. A guy by the name of George Rice used to teach them and I’m gonna tell you that those are very very important back in the 60s and the 70s, they’re very important today and they’re just as useful today as they were 50 years ago so they’ve been very successful, and they’ve done what they intended to do and that is teach people to respect a gun and that’s really what it’s about.”

We have a lot of parents that watch our show, what’s one of the biggest takeaways you want them to take when we’re talking about schools that their children are in and programs that their children could or may not be involved in?

“I’m a parent and a grandparent now too and my grandkids are in school and I think it’s really important that if you have the opportunity, I’d your school offers one of these classes, don’t look at it from a negative standpoint, look at it from a positive standpoint because it really provides how to use a gun, how to take care of a gun, how to respect a gun… a gun is a tool and if it’s used in the right way, it can do positive things”