Biden’s latest attack on our Second Amendment rights
Those who despise American gun ownership never seem to stop. Since they thankfully cannot ban firearms outright, politicians are now trying to ban cheap, commonly used ammunition and make hunting and shooting sports too costly for the average American.
The Biden administration has proposed a ban on lead ammunition on eight national wildlife refuges in the eastern United States. Obviously, this small-scale ban is a first step and will expand to the entire federal lands system (about 650 million surface acres or 30% of the country) if taken to its logical conclusion.
It is important to note from the onset that this has nothing to do with the 30-year-old ban on the use of lead ammunition for hunting waterfowl.
No major pro-hunting or pro-gun groups are fighting to reverse that. Rather, what the Biden administration is proposing is a total ban on lead ammunition for any purpose on these federal lands, which, when expanded in the future, will destroy the hunting and recreational target shooting industry as we know it.
This is the third attempt by politicians to completely ban lead on federal lands in the last decade.
During the Obama administration, the Center for Biological Diversity and over 100 anti-hunting and anti-Second Amendment groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to ban lead ammunition, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled the agency lacked the authority to do so.
The radical proponents searched for other avenues to push their agenda.
Just before leaving office, then-President Barack Obama’s Interior Department tried to ban lead ammunition on lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (about 95 million acres).
But Ryan Zinke, then-President Donald Trump’s newly confirmed interior secretary, reversed that decision soon after taking office in March 2017.
This current effort is more discreet and insidious because it starts small, so most hunters and recreational shooters will not be affected or take notice.
Proponents of lead ammunition bans claim it harms human health and wildlife populations.
This issue, however, has been studied by health departments in a number of states, and no legitimate research has shown conclusive evidence of serious illness or death of humans caused by eating game taken with lead ammunition. In most studies, hunters and their families had lead levels similar to the average American.
When addressing wildlife concerns, the endangered California condor is the animal that has been most carefully studied.
California banned lead ammunition in 2007 to protect the condors, and while compliance with the ban was around 99%, according to the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, follow-up research in recent years has shown lead levels in condors are the same or higher than when the ban was implemented, telling us condors are getting lead from sources besides bullets or shot.
The reality is that no studies have proved that ammunition-based lead has a population-level impact on terrestrial wildlife species. So, what’s really going on here?
Alternatives are often two to four times as expensive as simple lead ammunition, which would drastically reduce participation in shooting sports.
The increased cost would be particularly harmful to women, single parents and minorities, who are the leading groups of new shooters and hunters in many states.
While the federal government controls over 30% of the land in our country, the size of these areas alone does not tell the entire story.
Millions of Americans depend on federal lands for hunting and target shooting, and simply put, without them, large percentages of hunters and shooters will be denied recreational opportunities under a lead ammo ban.
Clearly, reducing participation is the unstated goal of those behind this proposal, and it would work well.
Hunters and recreational shooters should be paying attention and speaking out against this latest effort to attack our hunting heritage and Second Amendment rights.
Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican, has introduced legislation to block the ban.
All hunters, recreational shooters, and anyone concerned about this infringement on our liberties should contact their elected officials and encourage them to support Mr. Daines’ legislation.
While it may not affect a significant percentage of Americans today, banning ammunition based on flimsy science will likely be the next tool in the toolbox to undermine participation in America’s hunting tradition and shooting sports.