Letter to EPA: Ban on lead ammunition will result in less hunters, less wildlife funding and more wildlife problems
Editor's Note: The following letter was written in regards to an issue BuckeyeFirearms.org has been following very closely. For more information, see EPA Considering Ban on Traditional Ammunition: ACT NOW!!
It is my opinion that the movement to ban lead ammunition should be re-considered with careful regard to all the factors that may not be apparent to the supporters of this movement. Not only is the perceived problem not clearly factual, but there are benefits, both environmental and economic which would be lost.
Let me reveal my interests. I am a lifelong outdoorsman, with considerable experience in backpacking, survival camping, family camping, hiking and kayaking. For many years I was a Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, and an Explorer Advisor. I have taught Wilderness Survival and Backpacking on a Community College level. In short, I love nature just as it was created and am a proponent of "Leave No Trace". I also like firearms. I really enjoy target shooting, and sometimes hunt, although for most of the time a firearm is more weight than I am willing to take with me in the woods. I am a Chemical Engineer and finished my career working in the environmental field. I believe I have "standing" in this debate.
I am more than skeptical about any damage caused by lead bullets in wildlife, other than that which allows the animal to be harvested. I would site that wildlife flourishes quite well in war zones where the concentration of lead is much higher. Quite often pseudo-science and biased and slanted reporting is used to prop up theories of well meaning but short-sighted interest groups. Much to my dismay, I see am seeing "scientists" ignoring data which does not support their own theories. I also know there are extremely biased anti-firearm groups whose distorted data and half-truths are legend, that support any effort to hobble firearms. I know those statements make me look biased as well, but I am an engineer, whose carear depended on knowing truth, and I have over and over seen dishonest distortions from these groups.
Consideration needs to be given to the fact that man has seriously depleted natural predators. In some areas wildlife has become a serious nuisance to man, but it sets the scene for wildlife to overgraze their food supply and become sickly. Funding to help cope with this comes from hunters. You remove their ammunition, or make it more expensive, or less effective and you will have less hunters, less wildlife funding and more wildlife problems.
I have been shooting in indoor ranges for almost 60 years. The ranges I see at this time are environmentally sound and I have yet to meet anyone who had adverse effects from lead.
From an economic standpoint, there seems to be no discussion of the hundreds of small industries that depend on the shooting sports. Consider their input into the economy and also the people they employ. Today's firearms depend on lead bullets to function, efficiently. Remove that source and there will be lots of lost jobs.
The shooting sports keeps lots of men and women engaged in healthy, wholesome outdoor activities. This contributes to our overall health as well as the economy. On a more somber note, it also supplies physically capable, weapon-savvy young men, able to defend our nation in time of need. Don't let that thought out of your mind! That is a distinct advantage our nation holds over most others. One would have to be blind not to see the grief those other nations have suffered from not having that advantage.
There is a lot more that can be added here. This movement stands in my mind as a foolish and short-sighted venture with minimal gain and far reaching and damaging consequences. Our environmental protective efforts can serve far better on other issues.