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Firearms industry responds to petition filed with EPA seeking to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle

August 5, 2010 |  8:59 am

Ammunition for sale at the Los Angeles Gun Club.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, stated its opposition to a petition filed Tuesday with the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to ban the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle.

"There is simply no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations that would require restricting or banning the use of traditional ammunition beyond current limitations, such as the scientifically based restriction on waterfowl hunting," NSSF President Steve Sanetti said in a press release. Using lead ammunition for waterfowl hunting already is banned nationally and in California is not allowed when big-game hunting in areas designated as California condor range.

Filed by several environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy and the Assn. of Avian Veterinarians, the petition claims that traditional bullets used by hunters are inconsistent with the Toxic Substance Control Act and that such ammo poses a danger to wildlife, in particular raptors, that may feed on unrecovered game in the field. The EPA has 90 days to issue a ruling that it will either accept or reject the petition.

NSSF also expressed its concerns over the possible ramifications such a ban would have on wildlife conservation. According to the group, a federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of ammunition is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding.

"Needlessly restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation efforts as fewer hunters take to the field," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. "Hunters and their ammunition have done more for wildlife than the Center for Biological Diversity ever will."

-- Kelly Burgess


Photo: Ammunition for sale at the Los Angeles Gun Club. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times