Reaction from the shooting industry to yesterday's petition filed by American Bird Conservancy and the Center for Biological Diversity with the Environmental Protection Agency requesting a ban on the use of lead in hunting ammunition and fishing tackle is coming in from all sides.
NRA-ILA strongly opposes the petition, calling the CBD a "radical anti-hunting organization."
The CBD, NRA-ILA stated in a press release sent out yesterday, is incorrectly claiming that lead ammunition, the most commonly used ammunition by hunters and sportsmen, is a danger to wildlife and the rule it asks for is contrary to language in the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. The "scientific evidence" suggesting lead ammunition is taking a "horrific toll" on wildlife is bogus.
While the population of our national symbol, the bald eagle, has been increasing according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the bald eagle is also being used as a "lead tragedy" by CBD and its allies. To achieve their political goals, they are deliberately concocting information to sway the opinions of policy makers.
"These extremist groups are trying to ban bullets under a federal law that specifically doesn't apply to ammunition. In addition, they are using false data and emotion instead of sound science to further their political agenda," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "The CBD is an anti-hunting organization attempting to assert its political relevancy at the expense of America's hunters and sportsmen. The NRA will not allow the CBD to mislead the public about the effects of lead ammunition."
Hunters and gun owners are the greatest contributors to conservation, the release continues. In addition to volunteer efforts to improve habitat, billions of dollars dedicated to habitat and wildlife restoration projects have been generated through the payment of hunting license fees and excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and other hunting equipment.
"Hunting should not be an activity limited to the wealthy because every hunter, regardless of their tax bracket, is essential to sustaining America's sporting heritage," concluded Cox. "The NRA will counter this deceptive attack on hunters and gun owners with sound science and the truth."
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is also opposing the petition.
"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," said NSSF President Steve Sanetti.
The NSSF provides a litany of facts to help demonstrate the validity of Sanetti's statement.Recent statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) showing from 1981 to 2006 the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States increased 724 percent. And much like the bald eagle, raptor populations throughout the United States are soaring.
Noted outdoor writer Jim Sheppard participated in a conference call with all parties and had this to say in today's issue of The Outdoor Wire:
...this latest petition calls for a ban on lead based ammunition in all applications-meaning recreational shooters would also be forced to use alternative ammunition. It would also ban the use of the estimated hundreds of millions of rounds of surplus ammunition that exist across the country.
Replacing that ammunition would certainly drive up costs for shooting in any form.
It's no secret that the alternatives to lead used in the fishing tackle business has resulted in significant cost increases, and the processes for manufacturing fishing weights are significantly simpler than the complicated processes involved in manufacturing non-lead ammunition.
The costs of retooling and meeting demand for lead-free ammunition would, in fact, be passed on to consumers in the form of higher ammunition costs. In today's uncertain economic climate, that would almost certainly guarantee that many shooters and hunters facing already tight budgets could be priced out of hunting.