The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, has announced its opposition to a petition filed today with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking to ban the use of traditional ammunition, containing lead-core components, by America’s sportsmen and women. The petition, filed by several agenda-driven groups including the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), erroneously claims that the use of traditional ammunition by hunters is inconsistent with the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. The petition goes on to suggest that the use of traditional ammunition poses a danger to wildlife, in particular raptors such as bald eagles, that may feed on entrails or unrecovered game left in the field.
“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.
Helping to demonstrate the validity of Sanetti’s statement are 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.
Also fueling concerns over the CBD petition is the likely ramification a ban on traditional ammunition would have on wildlife conservation. The federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent) is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding and the financial backbone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The bald eagle’s recovery, considered to be a truly great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition – the very ammunition organizations like the CBD are now demonizing.
“Needlessly restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation efforts as fewer hunters take to the field,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “Hunters and their ammunition have done more for wildlife than the CBD ever will. And the CBD’s scientifically baseless petition and endless lawsuits against state and federal wildlife managers certainly do not serve the wildlife that the organization claims to protect.”