Obama ban on lead ammo overturned

  • 6 March 2017
  • NormanL
Zinke stands up for common sense

The Trump administration has struck yet another blow for outdoorsmen, and for the Second Amendment, by rolling back an Obama aministration ban on the use of lead bullets on a wide swath of federal lands:

[Interior Secretary Ryan] Zinke's order said the ban on lead ammunition and tackle was "not mandated by an existing statutory or regulatory requirement and was issued without significant communication, consultation, or coordination with affected stakeholders."

The original order cites several statutes as providing the basis for the decision — laws designed to protect migratory birds, bald and golden eagles, wildlife refuges, endangered species and wetlands.

The requirements weren't intended to be immediate, but implemented after years of education efforts. The order would have required use of "nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle to the fullest extent practicable" on FWS lands by January 2022.

The FWS order noted the harmful impacts of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on fish and wildlife species. "Ingested lead pellets from shotgun shells have been a common source of lead poisoning in birds," the order said.

In 1991, the FWS banned lead bullets for waterfowl like ducks and geese in federally controlled wetlands. The new ban extended that to all hunting on all federal lands like national parks and wildlife refuges, including the 222 million acres of federal lands in Alaska.

The order was a surprise to some given prior reticence by the Obama administration to get involved in environmentalists' fight to ban lead bullets. Dozens of groups signed on to a lawsuit to try and force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate spent lead bullets under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The agency argued that it didn't have the authority, and a federal appeals court backed the agency up.

Nevertheless, Ashe signed Order 219, with its brief reasoning noting that many hunters still use lead ammunition for other forms of hunting. There are some restrictions on lead ammunition and tackle on a state-by-state basis, the order said.

You can read Secretary Zinke's order here. This is a good, common sense move that is guaranteed to irritate the anti-gun, anti-hunt crowd.