January 26th, 2017

Last-Minute FWS Order on Lead Ammo and Tackle Issued

NWS National Wildlife services ammo ban lead tackle

On January 19, 2017, the last day of the Obama Administration, Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), issued a surprise Director’s Order calling for a ban on traditional ammunition and tackle in National Wildlife Refuges. FWS Director’s Order No. 219, issued on January 19th, directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to phase in a ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle for all activities on National Wildlife Refuge lands and waters. According to the NRA, this last-minute “unilateral action was taken without scientific evidence to support it and without consulting state fish and wildlife agencies.”

In response to this eleventh-hour “back-stabbing” by the FWS, the National Rifle Association (NRA) yesterday called on the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Congressman Ryan Zinke (R. Montana) as Secretary of the Interior. The FWS operates under the Department of the Interior. Presumably, FWS Director’s Order no. 219 would not have been issued if Zinke was in charge of the Interior Department. Hopefully Zinke can reverse the damage done, once he is confirmed as Secretary.

NWS National Wildlife services ammo ban lead tackle
Photo courtesy NRAILA.org

“It is more important than ever that we have a Secretary of the Interior who respects the Second Amendment and will stand up for our rights,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of the NRA’s five million members, I urge the Senate to swiftly confirm President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, Congressman Ryan Zinke. The NRA looks forward to working with the Trump administration to reverse this government overreach.”

Operative Provisions of FWS Director’s Order No. 219:

Sec. 5 What steps will the Service take to phase in the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle?

a. The Service will continue to support targeted research to understand the human, fish, and wildlife health benefits of using nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle.

b. The Service will continue to work with states and other partners on education efforts regarding the benefits and effectiveness of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle.

c. To ensure the public experiences a consistent approach to nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle requirements, over the next 24 months, each Regional Director, in coordination with relevant Assistant Directors, should work with individual states, regional state fish and wildlife associations, and tribes to identify opportunities to expand existing state, Federal, or tribal requirements for use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle on Service lands, waters and facilities.

i. Where states have enacted nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle requirements for certain forms of hunting and fishing on state lands such requirements should be expanded to national wildlife refuges in those states through amendments to state or Service regulations, as appropriate.

ii. Where states have enacted nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle requirements for certain forms of hunting and fishing that apply to state, private, and Federal lands throughout their states, Regions should ensure these requirements are enacted and enforced on Service lands, waters, and facilities in those states.

iii. Where individual Federal land units administered by other Federal agencies including the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Defense, or other agencies, have enacted requirements for the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle, Regions should adopt such requirements on Service lands, waters and facilities in the same states as those units through amendments to Service hunting and fishing regulations, as appropriate.

iv. Where individual tribes have enacted requirements for the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle, the Regions should adopt such requirements on Service lands, waters and facilities in the same states as those tribal lands through amendments to Service hunting and fishing regulations, in consultation with the appropriate tribe and state.

d. When available information indicates negative impacts of lead ammunition or fish tackle on sensitive, vulnerable or Service trust resources, the appropriate Regional Director, in coordination with the appropriate Assistant Director(s), will take steps to expeditiously require the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle to the fullest extent practical under Service jurisdiction to benefit such species or resources.

e. The Assistant Director, Migratory Birds, in consultation with National Flyway Councils and individual states, will establish a process to phase in a requirement for the use of nontoxic ammunition for recreational hunting of mourning doves and other upland game birds.

Sec. 6 When is this Order effective? This Order is effective immediately. It remains in effect until we incorporate it into the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, or until we amend, supersede, or revoke it, whichever comes first. If we do not amend, supersede, or revoke it, the provisions of this Order will terminate on July 31, 2018.

[Signed] Daniel M. Ashe, DIRECTOR

Date: January 19, 2017

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June 3rd, 2013

Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit to Ban Traditional Ammunition

ammo ban lawsuit federal courtIn late May, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit filed by the radical anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and six other groups demanding that the EPA ban traditional ammunition containing lead components. NSSF filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last August. The court agreed with NSSF that EPA does not have the authority to regulate traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA had already twice denied attempts by CBD to have the agency ban traditional ammunition, and the court had dismissed an earlier case brought by CBD seeking the same relief.

Traditional ammunition (with lead elements) represents 95 percent of the U.S. market and is the staple ammunition for target shooters, hunters and law enforcement, with more than 10 billion rounds sold annually.

“We are gratified that the court has found this second frivolous lawsuit, which is essentially the same as the one dismissed last year, was equally without merit,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. In addition to NSSF, the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International intervened in the case.

“No sound science [shows that] the use of traditional ammunition has harmed wildlife populations or that it presents a health risk to humans who consume game taken with such ammunition,” said Keane. “Banning traditional ammunition would cost tens of thousands of jobs in America and destroy wildlife conservation that is funded in part by an 11 percent excise tax on the sale of ammunition. The protection and management of wildlife is properly handled by the professional biologists in the state fish and game agencies, as it has been for over a hundred years.”

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October 4th, 2010

Ammo Protection and Korean Gun Import Bills Introduced

Congress Gun LawsThere’s some good news to report from Washington this week. Legislation has been introduced that would: 1) Block efforts to ban ammo (and bullets) that contain lead or lead; and, 2) Allow the import of Korean surplus rifles that have been embargoed by the Obama Administration.

Ammo Protection Bill Introduced in both House and Senate
Following continued attacks by anti-hunting groups to ban traditional ammunition (ammunition containing lead-core components) under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) has introduced legislation (H.R. 6284) to clarify the longstanding exemption of ammunition under the act. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark) has introduced a similar bill in the U.S. Senate.

Bill Would Allow Importation of Korean Surplus M1 Garands and M1 Carbines
U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) is seeking to stop the federal government from interfering with the legal importation of surplus collectible U.S.-made firearms from South Korea, the Billings Gazette reports. Lummis has joined with Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) in introducing a bill called the Collectable Firearms Protection Act. NSSF, which called for a congressional hearing to investigate this ban, supports the bill.

Washington Legislative report from NSSF.

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August 28th, 2010

EPA Rejects Challenge to Lead-Containing Bullets and Ammo

EPA Logo Ammo BanHere is some good news from Washington for a change. Perhaps motivated by official protests from the NSSF and hunting groups across the nation, the EPA announced on July 27th that it has rejected the petition from five environmental groups to ban bullets and ammunition that contain lead. The petition sought to ban lead-based ammo under the federal Toxic Substances Act. The EPA’s surprising reversal came just days after the EPA had invited public comments on the proposed ban.

EPA Lacks Jurisdiction to Ban Hunting Ammunition
In a letter to the petitioners, the EPA declared that it had no jurisdiction under the Toxic Substances Act to order or enforce a ban on bullets and ammo containing lead.

This should put to rest the challenge to lead bullets and ammunition — for the time being. However, the EPA announced it is still reviewing the environmental groups’ request to ban lead fishing sinkers.

8.27.2010 LETTER from EPA Denying Petition under Toxic Substances Act.

CLICK HERE for related story on EPA rejection of proposed lead ammo ban.

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March 28th, 2009

National Park Service Retracts Proposed Lead Ammo Ban

National Park ServiceIn an official press release dated March 10, 2009, the National Park Service (NPS) announced its intention to ban all lead bullets, lead-containing ammunition, and lead fishing tackle in the lands under NPS control. National Park Service director Dan Wenk stated: “Our goal is to eliminate the use of lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle in parks by the end of 2010. We want to take a leadership role in removing lead from the environment.”

Well, it looks like the NPS was not prepared for a firestorm of criticism. This week it back-peddled, issuing another press release stating that there would be no actual lead ban affecting the general public.

National Park Service Clarifies Lead Ammo Policy
Faced with pressure from groups representing hunters and anglers, and criticism from some politicians, the Park Service has disavowed its stated policy to ban lead ammo and lead fishing tackle by 2010. Now the Park Service is saying that it was “misunderstood”. Last week the Park Service issued a “clarification”, stating that the proposed lead restrictions would only apply to Park Service employees and projects. Duly chastened, the NPS pledged to seek input from hunters, anglers, and other interested parties. No future ban on lead ammo or tackle will be imposed without “public involvement, comment, and review”. Here are the key points in the latest NPS release:

“1. Nothing has changed for the public. We are simply announcing the NPS goal of eliminating lead from NPS activities to protect human and wildlife health.

2. We will work to clean our own house by altering NPS resource management activities. In 2009, we will transition to non-lead ammunition in culling operations and dispatching sick or wounded animals.

3. In the future, we will look at the potential for transitioning to non-lead ammunition and non-lead fishing tackle for recreational use by working with our policy office and appropriate stakeholders/groups. This will require public involvement, comment, and review.”

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