For Prairie Staters – Call For Witness Slips

Illinois Carry issued a call for witness slips in reaction to a bill that could outlaw lead-based ammunition for use in hunting in the state. They note that most non-lead alternatives are banned under state law. I presume this is because they are considered “armor piercing”.

While the state of Illinois and its General Assembly come under a lot of criticism for a number of factors, one thing that they do get right is witness slips. Not everyone can leave their job and travel to Springfield to testify in person on a bill. Witness slips allow citizens of the state to register his or her opinion on a bill before legislators. I don’t know whether witness slips are more or less effective than letters and emails to your own legislator but it is definitely a plus.

Call to Action
Witness Slips Needed
After taking last week off, our Call to Action this week asks your help with a number of bills. Some of these, taxes on firearms and bans on arbitrarily defined “assault weapons”, are included for obvious reasons. Others, though still obvious, have potential ramifications beyond the language of the bill alone. SB1985 Wildlife Cd Lead Ammunition Ban is one of these.
Introduced by Senator Don Harmon out of concern for the environment, it ignores that fact that most alternatives to lead ammunition are banned under Illinois law. The result? Whether one agrees with the Senator or not his bill, if it becomes law, will effectively end all handgun hunting in Illinois. Coupled with SB1722 Safe Neighborhoods Reform Tech, a bill seeking to drastically increase the penalties for the use of lead-alternative ammunition and other non-violent firearm offenses, an environmentally aware hunter could easily face a minimum 7 to 14 years in prison. We include only SB1985 in our current Action Alert, and will continue to monitor developments on SB1722.
Please help us keep Illinois on the right course by filing witness slips on the bills listed below.
Hearings will occur in a variety of committees as early as the morning ofMarch 7, 2017.
Don’t delay!
File Witness Slips Now!
To avoid having to complete each field manually, Log on to your ILGA Dashboard (or Create a New Account if you have not already done so) then return to this email and click on the links for each witness slip. If you do not wish to create an account, simply click on each witness slip link and complete the required fields manually:
I, IDENTIFICATION: Enter your personal information. Enter “NA” for the Firm/Business or Agency and Title fields unless you are officially representing an organization.
II. REPRESENTATION: Enter “Myself” unless representing an organization.
III. POSITION: Unless instructed otherwise for a particular bill leave the description field at its default value “Original Bill”. Indicate your position by selecting the “Proponent” or “Opponent” radio button.
IV. TESTIMONY: Select the “Record of Appearance Only” radio button.
If filing manually, complete the Captcha challenge and agree to the ILGA Terms of Agreement.
Then click Create Slip.


Witness slips can be tracked here:

Ryan Zinke Doesn’t Waste Time

Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke was confirmed yesterday. Today he rode in to work on a horse and in one of his first acts got rid of the lead ammo and fishing tackle ban. That ban, Directive No. 219, was the work of former Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe who signed it on the last full day of the Obama Administration.

Sec. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, obviously knows to have to get things done.

Safari Club International released this statement on his order:

Safari Club International was one of nearly twenty pro-hunting organizations invited to meet with Secretary Ryan Zinke today, on his first day at work as Secretary of the Interior. We applaud Secretary Zinke for reversing Dan Ashe’s last minute Director’s Order that directed the phase-out of traditional lead-based ammunition and fishing tackle use on all 81 million acres of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters by 2022. Former FWS Director Ashe issued Director’s Order 219 on the last day of the Obama Administration, imposing severe ammunition restrictions without input from the states, the public, and ammunition and tackle manufacturers.

Ashe’s Director’s Order failed to take into account the harm that eliminating lead-based ammunition could cause to wildlife conservation and habitat management programs supported by the sales of firearms and ammunition. It ignored the question of whether adequate alternate ammunition types would be available to substitute for lead-based ammunition. The former Director’s measures would have seriously undermined hunting and the important role it plays in wildlife conservation. In issuing Director’s Order 219, Ashe sought to impose Obama Administration prejudices into FWS management of lands for the next five years and beyond.

Today, Secretary Zinke returned science and reason to federal decision-making about ammunition use. By reversing Director’s Order 219, the Secretary has prevented the harm the former administration’s hasty and thoughtless attack would have caused the hunting community.

The NRA was represented at this event by NRA-ILA Director Chris Coxe who released this statement:

The National Rifle Association applauds Secretary Zinke’s decision to withdraw Director’s Order No. 219, a decree imposed on the final day of the Obama presidency to ban the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on national wildlife refuges. Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, attended the official signing of Secretarial Order 3347.

“This was a reckless, unilateral overreach that would have devastated the sportsmen’s community,” said Cox. “The Obama administration failed to consult with state fish and wildlife agencies or national angling and hunting organizations in issuing this order. This was not a decision based on sound scientific evidence — it was a last second attack on traditional ammunition and our hunting heritage.”

Issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on January 19, 2017, Director’s Order No. 219 bans the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on lands, waters, and facilities managed by the Service. Today’s action demonstrates Secretary Zinke’s commitment to protecting our country’s treasured outdoor legacy.

“The fact is that traditional ammunition does not pose a significant population-level risk for wildlife. On behalf of the five million members of the NRA and tens of millions of American sportsmen, we thank Secretary Zinke for eliminating this arbitrary attack on our hunting heritage,” Cox concluded.

Parting Shot At Shooters And Hunters From The Obama Administration

Yesterday was the last full day of the Obama Administration. It did not pass without a last parting shot by the anti-hunting, anti-shooting so-called environmentalists. US Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe issued a Director’s Order that will ban the use of traditional, lead-based ammunition on Federal lands within five years. Thus it gives groups like the Center for Biological Diversity and Project Gutpile a win that they could not achieve in the courts.

Here in western North Carolina, the few public outdoor ranges that we have are on National Forest land. Checking the prices of copper based .223 ammo versus traditional ammo, the cheapest I can find a box of 20 rounds is for about $17 for copper versus about $6 for Tula or $8,.50 for American Eagle. Forcing shooters to use non-lead ammunition will drive up the cost exponentially and drive people from the shooting sports for economic reasons.

The NSSF is crying foul on this move.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, condemned the decision by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe banning the use of traditional ammunition on Service lands in just five years.

The parting shot, Director’s Order 219 , was issued on the final full day of President Obama’s administration. The last-minute action revives an effort the administration undertook eight years ago to ban the use of traditional ammunition.

“This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “The timing alone is suspect. This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this, and instead create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”

The order requires several initiatives to go into effect immediately. Regional Directors are to work with state agencies to ban the use of traditional ammunition. It also ends the use of traditional ammunition on Federal land, including National Parks, tribal lands and national wildlife refuges in order to mirror policies in states where traditional ammunition is already restricted. The order “expeditiously” bans traditional ammunition “when available information indicates” that lead is harmful to wildlife, without requirement of a scientific threshold on which to base that action.

It also requires creation of a timeline to restrict traditional ammunition for dove and upland bird hunting.

Notice that last bit. They want to ban traditional ammo for dove hunting as well.

I hope this is one order that is rescinded after noon today when the Trump Administration takes office. I certainly hope so.

UPDATE: The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies which represents the fish and wildlife departments throughout the 50 states issued a very strong statement disagreeing with Director’s Order 219. They make the point that in the past any sort of move like this would have been a cooperative effort between state and federal wildlife agencies and that the states were caught by surprise by this order.

January 20, 2017

Statement from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Regarding U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director’s Order 219

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies expresses utter dismay with the release of Director’s Order 219, Use of Non-Toxic Ammo and Fishing Tackle, by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) on January 19, 2017. Association President Nick Wiley states that “this action flies squarely in the face of a long and constructive tradition of states working in partnership with the Service to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources.” He adds, “the Association views this Order as a breach of trust and deeply disappointing given that it was a complete surprise and there was no current dialogue or input from state fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance. It does a disservice to hunters and anglers, the firearms and angling industries, and the many professionals on staff with the USFWS who desire a trusting and transparent relationship with their state partners.” This is unacceptable federal overreach into the states’ authority to regulate the methods of take for sport fish as well as complete disregard for the states’ concurrent jurisdiction with the Service for the management of migratory birds. Further, the economic impacts of this action, which likely will be felt most by rural Americans, is likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars.” The Association looks forward to working with a new Administration in the redress of this poorly timed and executed decision.

A point I didn’t make yesterday with the original post is that this order also impacts anglers as it also includes the phase-out of fishing tackle that includes lead. 

I want to emphasize that Dan Ashe’s Director’s Order 219 seeks to accomplish what court battles and petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency from 2010 through 2013 did not – the elimination of traditional ammo and fishing tackle. I foresee that this order will be reversed when Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) is finally confirmed as the Secretary of the Interior.

Nothing Like Walking The Dog To Get A Bill Signed

While there may be other meanings to walking the dog, taken literally it might just have been the deciding factor in California Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to sign the ban on lead ammunition.

The biggest proponent of the lead ammo ban was the anti-hunting Humane Society of the US. And who just happens to walk Jerry Brown’s dog Sutter on a regular basis? None other than Jennifer Fearing who is the state director for HSUS in California.

Does the hand that holds the leash of California’s “first dog,” cuddly corgi Sutter Brown, also have a hand in guiding policy with the dog’s master, Gov. Jerry Brown?

That’s the question being raised about Jennifer Fearing, the senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States, who critics suggest has turned her role as regular walker of the governor’s dog into a cannily effective way to lobby the state’s chief executive on animal rights issues.

Fearing scored a perfect 6-for-6 record this legislative season in getting bills signed by Brown, placing her in the ranks of Sacramento’s most effective lobbyists.

Among the coups for the Humane Society was legislation banning lead ammunition that Fearing said endangered as many as 130 species in California. It was one of 11 bills signed by Brown out of the 18 that the Legislature passed to restrict guns or ammunition.

Fearing denies any impropriety and says she hasn’t talked to Gov. Brown or his wife personally about the bill in question.

Others are not so sure. The gun-rights group Free California has filed a complaint with California’s Fair Political Practices Commission saying the dog-walking is an in-kind payment to the governor. Ethics experts are also unsure about this.

Fearing is “a powerful person who wants something from the government,” said Jessica Levinson, an expert on law and governance issues and associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

With her role in the dog’s life, “she has access to Gov. Brown,” Levinson said. “There are a variety of ways to exercise influence.”

California taxpayers, for instance, would have a right to know if “Brown had a kid, and his tutor was head of the California Teachers Association,” Levinson said.

I know I, for one, would be more favorably disposed towards someone my dog liked. Conversely, if my dog didn’t like you, then there is something about you that might be suspect. Regardless of the intent, Fearing’s regular walks with Sutter who seems to like her has to have made Brown more receptive to her arguments. It would be hard for Brown to dismiss Fearing and her group’s agenda out of hand given the personal relationship in question. I don’t know if Fearing started walking Sutter in order to get Brown’s attention but it seems to have worked anyways.

UPDATE: The Washington Times is wondering if this should be called “Corgigate”. Attorney Chuck Michel who handles much of the NRA’s legal work in California had this to say of Fearing.

“For someone who did not hesitate to take the moral high ground in denigrating the ethical standards of hunters during the campaign to ban lead ammunition, it is disappointing to see that Jennifer Fearing does not hold herself to those same ethical standards in properly disclosing her relationship with the governor,” said Chuck Michel, California attorney for the National Rifle Association, in a statement.

Two New Bills Introduced In Congress; One Good, One Bad

Two more pieces of Federal legislation dealing with firearms were introduced in the House of Representatives on Friday.

The first bill was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and seeks to remove the budget restriction that prohibits the Center for Disease Control from doing “research” that promotes gun control. It has 31 co-sponsors all of whom are Democrats.

HR 321 – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR]
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [D-MA]
Rep Chu, Judy [D-CA]
Rep Cicilline, David N. [D-RI]
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [D-PA]
Rep Ellison, Keith [D-MN]
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ]
Rep Himes, James A. [D-CT]
Rep Holt, Rush [D-NJ]
Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX]
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [D-TX]
Rep Lee, Barbara [D-CA]
Rep Levin, Sander M. [D-MI]
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA]
Rep Markey, Edward J. [D-MA]
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [D-CA]
Rep McCollum, Betty [D-MN]
Rep Moore, Gwen [D-WI]
Rep Moran, James P. [D-VA]
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC]
Rep Pingree, Chellie [D-ME]
Rep Quigley, Mike [D-IL]
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [D-NY]
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL]
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [D-CA]
Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [D-PA]
Rep Shea-Porter, Carol [D-NH]
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [D-NY]
Rep Speier, Jackie [D-CA]
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD]
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL]
To amend the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (Public Law 112-175) to permit research on firearms safety and gun violence.
Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee

The second bill was introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL). It would reinforce and clarify that the Environmental Protection Agency has no authority to regulate lead bullets, ammo, or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. It has 67 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

HR 322 – Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Rep Alexander, Rodney [R-LA]
Rep Bachus, Spencer [R-AL]
Rep Bishop, Rob [R-UT]
Rep Black, Diane [R-TN]
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN]
Rep Bonner, Jo [R-AL]
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [R-LA]
Rep Broun, Paul C. [R-GA]
Rep Cassidy, Bill [R-LA]
Rep Chabot, Steve [R-OH]
Rep Coffman, Mike [R-CO]
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [R-TX]
Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [R-AR]
Rep DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN]
Rep Duncan, Jeff [R-SC]
Rep Fincher, Stephen Lee [R-TN]
Rep Franks, Trent [R-AZ]
Rep Graves, Sam [R-MO]
Rep Griffin, Tim [R-AR]
Rep Hanna, Richard L. [R-NY]
Rep Hartzler, Vicky [R-MO]
Rep Hastings, Doc [R-WA]
Rep Huelskamp, Tim [R-KS]
Rep Huizenga, Bill [R-MI]
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [R-CA]
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [R-NC]
Rep Jordan, Jim [R-OH]
Rep King, Steve [R-IA]
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [R-IL]
Rep Kline, John [R-MN]
Rep Latta, Robert E. [R-OH]
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R-MO]
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [R-WY]
Rep Matheson, Jim [D-UT]
Rep McIntyre, Mike [D-NC]
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [D-ME]
Rep Miller, Gary G. [R-CA]
Rep Nugent, Richard B. [R-FL]
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [R-MS]
Rep Olson, Pete [R-TX]
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [R-MS]
Rep Pearce, Stevan [R-NM]
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [D-MN]
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [R-PA]
Rep Pompeo, Mike [R-KS]
Rep Roe, David P. [R-TN]
Rep Rogers, Harold [R-KY]
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [R-AL]
Rep Ross, Dennis A. [R-FL]
Rep Scott, Austin [R-GA]
Rep Sessions, Pete [R-TX]
Rep Shuster, Bill [R-PA]
Rep Simpson, Michael K. [R-ID]
Rep Smith, Adrian [R-NE]
Rep Southerland, Steve II [R-FL]
Rep Stivers, Steve [R-OH]
Rep Stutzman, Marlin A. [R-IN]
Rep Terry, Lee [R-NE]
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [D-MS]
Rep Thompson, Glenn [R-PA]
Rep Thornberry, Mac [R-TX]
Rep Tipton, Scott R. [R-CO]
Rep Walden, Greg [R-OR]
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [R-GA]
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [R-VA]
Rep Womack, Steve [R-AR]
Rep Young, Don [R-AK]
To amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency with respect to certain sporting good articles, and to exempt those articles from a definition under that Act.
Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

EPA Says No Again To Petition To Ban Lead Based Ammo

The Environmental Protection Agency has again turned down a petition to ban lead based ammunition. The petition came from the Center for Biological Diversity and a number of other “green” groups including the nonsensical Project Gutpile.

I cannot find an official letter or release from the EPA but have to rely on a release from the Center for Biological Diversity. It appears that they will sue again in Federal court which is what they did the first time they were sent packing by the EPA.

WASHINGTON— The Environmental Protection Agency today rejected a request for federal regulation of toxic lead in hunting ammunition, again abdicating its responsibility to protect the environment from toxic substances. Earlier this year, 150 organizations in 38 states petitioned the EPA for federal rules requiring use of nontoxic bullets and shot for hunting and shooting sports to protect public health and prevent the lead poisoning of millions of birds, including bald eagles and endangered condors.

“It’s shameful that the EPA refuses to save wildlife from senseless lead poisoning,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The poisoning of bald eagles and other wildlife is a national tragedy the EPA can easily put an end to, since there are plenty of safe, available alternatives to lead ammo.”

In 2010 the EPA refused to review a petition by conservation and hunting groups asking for a ban on lead bullets, shotgun pellets and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the federal law that regulates toxic substances. So last month, more than 100 groups, representing conservationists, birders, hunters, zoologists, scientists, American Indians, wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians, submitted a new petition seeking federal rules requiring use of nontoxic bullets and shot for hunting and shooting sports. The EPA today responded in a letter to the petitioners that it will not review an “identical petition” and repeated the false (sic) claim that it cannot regulate lead ammunition.

The Toxic Substances Control Act allows the agency to regulate any chemical substance for a particular use; the lead used in shot and bullets is defined as a toxic “chemical substance” under the Act.

The EPA claims lead bullets and shot fall under an exception that exempts regulation of items subject to an Internal Revenue Service section 4181 excise tax imposed on sales of shotgun shells and bullet cartridges; yet the IRS itself has ruled that section 4181 “does not apply to sales of separate parts of ammunition such as cartridge cases, primers, bullets, and powder.” Furthermore, a House report on the legislative history and intent of the Act states it “does not exclude from regulation under the bill chemical components of ammunition which could be hazardous because of their chemical properties.”

“We look forward to putting this issue before a court, since the law is very clear that EPA has the responsibility to protect wildlife and people from toxic lead exposure,” said Miller. “The EPA never evaluated the merits of regulating toxic lead ammo, nor has a court ruled on its authority to act under the federal toxics law — well, that will soon change.”

On the website for the Center for Biologicial Diversity, they are asking people to sign a letter “to stop the NRA’s lead poisoning legislation.” Of course it is the “evil NRA” who wants to kill the California condors, blah, blah, blah. If I remember correctly, the impetus behind the Sportsman’s Heritage Act of 2012 is actually the NSSF. However, the “evil NSSF” doesn’t have quite the same ring to their lefty followers as does “evil NRA”.

UPDATE: The National Shooting Sports Foundation has posted a release on the EPA’s denial of yet another petition from CBD and Project Gutpile. The denial letter from the EPA can be found here.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday denied yet another frivolous petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) — an established anti-hunting group — calling for a ban on the traditional ammunition (containing lead-core components) for hunting and shooting.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, applauds the EPA’s latest decision and called upon Congress to immediately pass the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act (S.838/H.R.1558). In the House of Representatives, the bill is also included in the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089), an important piece of legislation that combines three other legislative priorities for sportsmen. The bill (S.838/H.R.1558) amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to clarify that the Congress has excluded traditional ammunition from regulation by the EPA. The legislation is supported by more than 35 national conservation and sportsmen’s groups. The bill is even supported by the Fraternal Order of Police because a ban on traditional ammunition would apply to law enforcement and the U.S. military.

NSSF opposed the petition, which was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and other like-minded groups. This was the second attempt by the CBD to ban traditional ammunition since it first petitioned the EPA in August of 2010. In rejecting the CBD’s latest petition the EPA agreed with NSSF, telling the CBD that it did not have jurisdiction under TSCA to regulate ammunition. The CBD’s petition purported to narrow the scope of the ban sought, but the EPA concluded that this change was a “distinction without a substantive difference.” The EPA went on to say the new petition “contains no new information.”

The CBD’s serial petitions erroneously claim that the use of traditional ammunition by hunters poses a danger to human health and wildlife, in particular raptor populations such as bald eagles. The truth is that wildlife populations, including raptor and bald eagle populations, are soaring. The myth of a human health risk has been thoroughly debunked by a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found the health of hunters consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition was not at risk.

The excise taxes raised from hunters’ purchases of the very ammunition the CBD tries to demonize is a primary source of wildlife conservation in the United States. Restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation. “Hunters have done more for wildlife than the CBD ever will,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “These relentless and unfounded attacks against traditional ammunition by agenda-driven groups like the CBD are exactly why Congress must take immediate action and pass the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.”

Keane is referencing the federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent), which is dedicated to the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Committee Hearings Today On HR 4089 – Sportsman’s Heritage Act Of 2012

The House Natural Resources Committee is holding hearings today on H.R. 4089, the Sportman’s Heritage Act. Included in the bill are significant protections for access to Federally-owned public land for the purposes of recreational shooting.

The NSSF is asking people to contact the committee and urge the passage of this bill out of committee.

The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources is expected to vote later TODAY on the “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012″ (H.R. 4089).

The bill combines four legislative priorities that will expand recreational hunting, shooting and fishing opportunities while also protecting the firearms and ammunition industries from detrimental regulations under the Environmental Protection Agency.

NSSF urges that you call the House Natural Resources Committee IMMEDIATELY and urge members of the committee to support H.R. 4089. Call the Republican Committee Staff at 202-225-2761. Call the Democrat Committee Staff at 202-225-6065. Readers can also help by sharing this blog post on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets.

Included in H.R. 4089 is the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which is the firearms industry’s top legislative priority. The bill amends the Toxic Substances Control Act to clarify the original intent of Congress to exclude traditional ammunition with lead components from regulation by the EPA, and also excludes fishing tackle from the EPA’s jurisdiction. The bill is a response to anti-hunting and fishing organizations, as well as extreme environmental groups, that are actively seeking to ban these products even though wildlife populations have not been negatively impacted by their use. Banning traditional ammunition will drive the cost of ammunition up by as much as 190 percent and curtail wildlife conservation funding supported by the sale of ammunition. For more information about the critical importance of this bill, click here.

H.R. 4089 includes other key legislative priorities of the sportsmen’s community:

The Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act, which requires federal land managers to support and facilitate use and access for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting.
The Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which requires National Monument land to be open to access and use for recreational shooting.

The Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act, which will allow the importation of polar bear parts taken in a sport hunt in Canada, if legally harvested before certain dates.

In addition to calling the staff on both sides of the House Natural Resources Committee, it is important that you also call your Congressman/woman (202-224-3121) to urge them to support H.R. 4089.

My congressman, Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC-11), is one of the co-sponsors of the bill. While there are a number of things I disagree with Heath about, he has always stood solid on Second Amendment issues as well as hunting and fishing. He is not going to seek reelection and I just hope the Republican contenders will be as solid on the Second Amendment as he has been.

NSSF Reports In-Fighting Between Lead Ammo Foes

The NSSF Blog had this report this morning about in-fighting between the Center for Biological Diversity and the American Bird Conservancy. Both of these groups have tried to get the EPA to outlaw lead-based ammunition as well as the use of lead in fishing tackle.

Infighting Begins Amongst Traditional Ammunition Foes
May 20, 2011 By Larry Keane View Comments
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A recent article in Audubon Magazine (“Bad Shot”) notes a budding feud between the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) concerning the issue of traditional ammunition. In the article, Michael Fry, director of conservation advocacy at ABC, derides the CBD for petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the manufacture and sale of traditional ammunition, shot and fishing tackle. Fry, concerned that the CBD was going too far in trying to ban all traditional ammunition, noted “It was not helpful to have the center involved.”

This infighting, demonstrating that the CBD is considered extremist even amongst its allied groups, could not have come at a worse time for anti-ammunition special interests. Last week, 35 members of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP), a coalition of the nation’s leading conservation groups, joined with NSSF in encouraging federal lawmakers to become co-sponsors of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, legislation that will clarify that Congress has not given the EPA authority to regulate ammunition and its components under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The CBD has yet to respond to the ABC attack.

Learn more about the fight to protect traditional ammunition here:

The National Shooting Sports Foundation also has a letter generator that will send either an email or paper letter to your Senators and local Congressman urging their support of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act. As we saw with the ATF and the multi-rifle reporting requirement, numbers – not quality – count. You can access the letter generator here. It also allows you to modify the message if you so wish which is what I did.

NSSF On Traditional Ammunition

The National Shooting Sports Foundation took exception to the comments of a Minnesota DNR employee’s attack on traditional ammunition. By traditional, I mean ammo that contains lead. Here is their response.

Earlier this month at a Minnesota Association of Conservation Professionals event, a Minnesota DNR employee, Molly Tranel, used dubious science and questionable statistics to attack the use of traditional ammunition (ammunition containing lead-core components) by sportsmen and shooters.

In her presentation, Ms. Tranel implied that the use of traditional ammunition poses a danger to (1) wildlife, in particular raptors such as bald eagles, that may feed on entrails of unrecovered game left in the field and (2) that there is a human health risk from consuming game harvested using traditional ammunition. Perhaps most troubling is the depths to which agenda-driven researchers will stoop. In one slide an experiment where researchers “force-fed” lead pellets to doves is discussed. And hunters are the bad guys?

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, opposes efforts to ban or restrict the use of traditional ammunition unless there is sound science conclusively establishing an adverse impact on a wildlife population, the environment or on the human health of those consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition.

In recent years traditional ammunition has come under increased attack from anti-hunting groups. As such, when misinformation related to traditional ammunition surfaces, NSSF believes it must set the record straight. Let’s do that now:

With very limited exceptions, such as waterfowl and possibly the California condor, where, in the latter case the evidence of a causal connection to spent ammunition fragments is far from conclusive, there is simply no sound scientific evidence that the use by hunters of traditional ammunition is causing harm to wildlife populations. In the case of raptors, there is a total lack of any scientific evidence of a population impact. In fact, just the opposite is true. Hunters have long used traditional ammunition, yet raptor populations have significantly increased all across North America — a trend that shows no sign of letting up. If the use of traditional ammunition was the threat to raptor populations some make it out to be, these populations would not be soaring as they are.

Furthermore, it is the excise tax dollars (11 percent) manufacturers pay on the sale of ammunition – the very ammunition some choose to demonize – that is the primary source of wildlife conservation funding in the United States and the financial backbone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The bald eagle’s recovery, a truly great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition. Not surprisingly, recent statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service show that from 1981 to 2006 the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States increased 724 percent.

Needlessly restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation efforts – efforts such as those that aided recovery of the Bald Eagle – because fewer hunters will take to the field, thereby undercutting financial wildlife management resources. Alternatives to traditional ammunition are not economical. The higher costs associated with this ammunition will price many everyday consumers out of the market. This is evidenced by the low 1 percent market share of metallic nontraditional ammunition –neither its higher cost, performance or benefits are justified.

Also necessary to clarify is the notion that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition poses a human health risk. This unjustified fear stems from a politically-motivated dermatologist in North Dakota who, in 2008, claimed to have collected from food pantries packages of venison that contained fragments from lead bullets. Many people became concerned and some officials overreacted to the allegations made by the dermatologist, who sits on the board of the Peregrine Fund, that consuming game posed a human health risk.

The state of North Dakota failed to conduct its own study. Instead, it merely accepted the lead-contaminated samples hand-picked by the dermatologist and submitted those samples to a lab in Iowa for testing. Based on those test results, North Dakota health officials ordered state food pantries to destroy all donated venison and to stop accepting further donations. The Iowa lab official in charge of the testing, Rick Kelly, was highly critical of North Dakota, “I think North Dakota is drawing the wrong conclusions. We did what they asked, but they did not take an arbitrary sample.” And the least fortunate among us were deprived of a high-protein, low-fat, organic food source.

To put this issue in perspective, consider this statement from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), a state agency that has tested the blood lead level of Iowa residents for over 15 years: “IDPH maintains that if lead in venison were a serious health risk, it would likely have surfaced within extensive blood lead testing since 1992 with 500,000 youth under 6 and 25,000 adults having been screened.” Iowa has never had a case of a hunter having elevated lead levels caused by consuming harvested game.

A study from 2008 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on blood lead levels of North Dakota hunters confirmed that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition does not pose a human health risk. Calls to ban or restrict the product by groups opposed to traditional ammunition, like the Peregrine Fund, and anti-hunting groups, like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are scientifically unfounded and nothing more than a scare tactic to advance their agenda. In looking more closely at the CDC study results, perhaps most telling is the fact that the average lead level of the hunters tested was lower than that of the average American. In other words, if you were to randomly pick someone on the street, chances are they would have a higher blood lead level than the hunters in this study. Studies regarding the use of lead in other applications have no application when considering the use and utility of lead in ammunition for hunting, on shooting ranges or for self-defense.

The science of wildlife biology and conservation is based on managing populations of species, not on preventing harm to individual members of a species. Absent sound scientific evidence demonstrating a wildlife population or human health impact arising from the use of traditional ammunition, there is no justification for banning its use.

HR 1445: Removing EPA’s Authority To Regulate Lead In Ammo (Updated)

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) introduced HR 1445 on Friday. This bill would, according to its title, “prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating, based on material composition, any type of firearm ammunition or fishing tackle.”

While the text of the bill is not yet available, I am assuming it is directly aimed at the lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, Project Gutpile, and others to ban lead in ammunition and fishing tackle. These groups have a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to force the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate (ban) lead as a toxic substance.

The Shooting Wire had a feature story today on a report just released by the American Bird Conservancy that seeks to link lead and mortality in California condors.

This survey, conducted by scientists at the University of California/Santa Cruz, the University of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service is “especially important and unique” according to Dr. Michael Fry, an avian toxicologist and Director of Conservation Advocacy for the ABC, not just because it cites lead as a major factor, but it “cites lead ammunition specifically.”

Dr. Fry contends the survey provides the smoking gun, if you will, that dismisses a key argument from the ammunition industry: the lack of specific data to identify a source or sources of lead poisoning. This survey, he says, “connects the dots between condor deaths and lead ammunition.”

HR 1445 is currently co-sponsored by eight representatives from both sides of the aisle.

Rep. Broun’s biography has this to say about his interest in hunting, fishing, and the Second Amendment.

Dr. Broun participates in many diverse organizations and activities ranging from politics and religion to cooking and sports, including: the National Rifle Association, Gideons International, Rotary International, Trout Unlimited, Gun Owners of America and University of Georgia President’s Club. He was the founding President of the Georgia Republican Assembly, and President of the Georgia Sport Shooting Association (the NRA state affiliate). Dr. Broun is an avid outdoorsman, having a passion for conservation, hunting, fishing, and Second Amendment rights.

It also notes that he was a volunteer lobbyist for Safari Club International.

As soon as the text of this bill becomes available, I will post it. I don’t know if Rep. Broun knew of the “study” before introducing his bill but it was certainly timely.

UPDATE: Here is the text of HR 1445:

H.R.1445 — To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating, based on material composition, any type of firearm ammunition or fishing tackle. (Introduced in House – IH)

HR 1445 IH


1st Session

H. R. 1445
To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating, based on material composition, any type of firearm ammunition or fishing tackle.


April 8, 2011
Mr. BROUN of Georgia (for himself, Mr. BOREN, Mr. ROSS of Arkansas, Mr. ALTMIRE, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. BISHOP of Utah, Mr. REHBERG, Ms. JENKINS, and Mr. MILLER of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating, based on material composition, any type of firearm ammunition or fishing tackle.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency may not prohibit, limit, or control, based on material composition, any type of firearm ammunition or fishing tackle.

I am sure it is no coincidence that this bill was filed just after the National Shooting Sports Foundation had its annual Congressional Fly-In on April 6-7. Industry leaders converged on D.C. to remind lawmakers about the role the firearms industry plays in the economy as well as the importance of the excise taxes in paying for wildlife conservation. If this bill is any indication, it looks like it was successful.