Monday, September 13, 2010

The Grey Lady Speaks on the Lead Ammo Ban

On Friday, I warned that the environmental groups, American Bird Conservancy and the Center for Biological Diversity, were not giving up on their attempts to ban lead based ammunition. With predictable timing and their usual logic, the New York Times editorial page has weighed in on the issue. As SayUncle correctly refers to it, an idiotorial.

They buy the arguments of the environmental lobby without question:
The N.R.A. should consult the hunters among its members. They know that getting lead out of the environment is essential. Lead is as toxic in nature as it is in the form of lead paint in houses. Scientists have established a clear link between lead from ammunition and the poisoning of some 75 species of birds — especially waterfowl and scavengers like condors, eagles and ravens.
As to consulting hunters, I suggest that the NY Times consult hunters instead. They would find that most feel that lead shot and lead bullets let them kill game more cleanly. Moreover, I doubt that many target shooters could afford to shoot Barnes copper-based bullets on a regular basis. It is a great bullet but with the world price of copper so high, it isn't cheap.

The Times concludes with this:
We urge the E.P.A. to reconsider this hasty decision. The agency has the authority it needs to regulate the lead in ammunition as a toxic substance, even though it isn’t authorized to regulate the manufacture of ammunition itself. (It has said it will consider a ban on lead fishing sinkers, which would be welcome, but that is not going nearly far enough.) A bullet fired from a hunter’s gun should kill only once, not go on killing again and again.
The EPA may or may not have the authority to regulate the lead in ammo. It is borderline legally and I predict that regardless of which side ultimately wins, it will end up in court. Frankly, it is time for Congress to clarify that ammunition and its components are outside of the EPA's oversight.


  1. Two things.

    First, it was my understanding that lead shot was not allowed for use in hunting many/most/all forms of water fowl. I'm not a hunter, but I could swear this is already the case.

    Second, I thought the law was clear about the EPA's authority on ammunition, and that was that they cannot regulate it at all.

  2. @Andy

    You are correct in that lead shot is banned for use in hunting migratory waterfowl. Some states also require non-lead shot for upland birds.

    While the EPA is precluded from banning lead-based finished ammunition, the environmental groups are trying to go thru a back door. They are claiming that the components aren't finished ammo so would come under the EPA's authority.

  3. Lead is not very soluble in water to begin with. And in the air, an oxide layer forms on the outside, which is why we find lead Roman artifacts to this day. Note the barren fields of Civil War battlefields that grow now plants to this day (NOT). This is a scam - disarmament is their goal, and they will use any means necessary. Too bad we won't disarm. Ever. We're not Europeans (any more). Thank God Almighty.

  4. The CBD lost this same case in California where our Fish & Game were not fooled by their fake-science, so they threw a Hail-Mary pass at the EPA where they have many co-religionists.

    My understanding is that the early waterfowl ban was not examined with as much scientific scrutiny or resistance. At the time it passed they were allowed a slam-dunk on shaky ground, one which hasn't been revisited.

  5. Regulating a component in manufactured ammunition is regulation of the manufacturing process. Thus, it is regulating the manufacture of ammunition if it regulates a substance contained in the ammunition.