Legislation to protect traditional ammunition introduced in U.S. House and Senate
Following continued attacks by anti-hunting groups to ban traditional ammunition (ammunition containing lead-core components) under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) and Reps. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.), all co-chairmen of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation (S. 838 and H.R. 1558) to clarify the longstanding exemption of ammunition and ammunition components under the act.
The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act is being championed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The act also calls for lead fishing tackle, similarly under attack from anti-hunting groups, to be exempt from the TSCA.
"We applaud and thank Sen. Tester and Sen. Thune, and Rep. Miller and Rep. Ross, for introducing this commonsense measure," said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. "This bill will continue to ensure that America's hunters and shooters can choose for themselves the best ammunition to use, instead of unnecessarily mandating the universal use of expensive alternatives."
The House legislation has 38 co-sponsors and bipartisan support from the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus.
"It's always important to find a commonsense balance between protecting the rights of hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen and protecting our environment and wildlife habitats for future generations," said Congressman Ross. "There is no credible scientific evidence that demonstrates traditional ammunition and fishing tackle pose any threat to human health or wildlife populations and this legislation is needed to permanently address this issue once and for all. I'm pleased to join this bipartisan effort and to work to stop the TSCA petition, which is the most recent in a long string of attacks on our cherished hunting and fishing heritage."
"Hunting, shooting and fishing are more than just pastimes in Montana--they're part of our outdoor heritage," said Senator Tester. "They're Montana values that we pass on to our kids and grandkids. And I'll fight for those values whenever Washington DC's rules get in the way of common sense."
Last fall the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considered a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) -- a leading anti-hunting organization -- to ban all traditional ammunition under the TSCA. Though the EPA correctly rejected the petition, a decision that is now being challenged in court by the CBD, the attack demonstrated the need to preserve and protect the rights of all sportsmen to choose their own ammunition and fishing tackle, based on their own circumstances and budget. Traditional ammunition and fishing tackle are significantly less expensive than alternative ammunition and fishing tackle. This is of great importance to sportsmen in these difficult economic times.
"Most of our fish and wildlife habitat is there because of the taxes and fees paid by the firearms, ammunition and sport fishing tackle industries through sportsmen, and we must protect this revenue source for continued funding for habitat conservation in this country and I believe this legislation will help strengthen this funding base," said Congressman Miller.
"Outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, not only provide recreational opportunities, but also greatly contribute to South Dakota's economy," said Senator Thune. "The EPA's overreaching regulations in other areas are already negatively affecting jobs and businesses across the country and I am committed to ensuring that ammunition and tackle do not become subject to arbitrary regulation."
A ban on traditional ammunition would have a negative impact 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 in the United States and the financial backbone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Since the firearms and ammunition excise tax began in 1937, more than $6.4 billion has been collected from firearms and ammunition manufacturers benefiting wildlife restoration and hunter education. Fewer hunters mean fewer dollars for wildlife.
"Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 50 state wildlife agencies," said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. "But no one should be misled about what's truly at stake here. A ban on traditional ammunition will not only affect hunters and sportsmen, but law enforcement, military, self-defense and target shooters who may never go afield. This is precisely why all Americans, not just gun owners, have a vested interest in the passage of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act."
The higher costs associated with alternative ammunition will price everyday consumers out of the market. This is evidenced by the low 1 percent market share of alternative ammunition. This would lead to fewer hunters taking to the field and shooting ranges across the United States being needlessly closed.
"The economic growth of America's firearms and ammunition industry continues to be a bright spot in our country's still-ailing economy," continued Keane. "Passing this important legislation will help to ensure that our industry, which is responsible for more than 183,000 well-paying jobs and has an economic impact of more than $27.8 billion annually, continues to shine."
Support the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act
Help reaffirm the right of all sportsmen to shoot the ammunition of their choice
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry -- is encouraging all hunters, shooters and gun owners to contact their United States Senators and Representatives to urge them to become an original co-sponsor of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act, legislation that will clarify that Congress has not given the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate ammunition and its components under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Currently, anti-hunting groups are trying to force the EPA to ban all traditional ammunition under TSCA. The legislation would also prevent the EPA from banning traditional fishing tackle.
This legislation is set to be introduced in both the Senate and House shortly by Senators Jon Tester (D-Montana) and John Thune (R-SD) and Representatives Jeff Miller (R-Fla.-1st) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.-4th), all of whom are the co-chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus.
Please, call your Senators and Representative today!
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
Last fall the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considered a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) – a leading anti-hunting organization – to ban all traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, a law in which Congress expressly exempted ammunition from EPA oversight.
Though the EPA ultimately rejected the petition, a decision that is now being challenged in court by the CBD, the attack demonstrated the need to preserve and protect the rights of all sportsmen to choose their own ammunition and fishing tackle. This is why Senators Tester and Thune and Representatives Miller and Ross will introduce the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act.
It is important to note a ban on traditional ammunition will affect not only hunters and sportsmen but also law enforcement, military and target shooters who may never go afield. Passing an amendment that will necessarily lessen the military and law enforcement’s ability to train puts the safety and well-being of all Americans at risk.
Important Facts You Need to Know about Traditional Ammunition:
* There is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations requiring a change in current regulation. Regulating the methods and implements for the taking of game is best managed by the wildlife biologists in the state fish and game agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, not the EPA.
* A 2008 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on blood lead levels of North Dakota hunters confirmed that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition does not pose a human health risk.
* A ban on traditional ammunition would have a negative impact 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. The bald eagle's recovery, considered to be a great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition, the very ammunition organizations like the CBD are now demonizing.
* Recent statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service show that 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.