U.S. Senate Bill Fighting Lead-Ammo-Ban Proposals Protects Hunters’ Rights

U.S. Senate Bill Fighting Lead-Ammo-Ban Proposals Protects Hunters’ Rights

Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate last week would, if passed, help bolster hunters’ rights on federally owned public lands by countering bans on lead ammunition in the absence of scientific proof showing that such bans prevent negative impacts on human health and wildlife.

U.S. Senate Bill S. 1185, authored by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) from banning the use of traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle absent approval by the applicable state fish and wildlife agencies and proof that lead ammunition and tackle is primarily causing a decline in wildlife species’ populations. Also known as the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act, the bill has 24 Senate co-sponsors united in making sure America’s conservation policies are based on sound science rather than driven by special-interest anti-hunting groups.

“Sportsmen are the original conservationists and play an important role in wildlife management,” said Daines, in a news release upon introducing the measure. “The last thing we should do is limit their access to public lands by implementing a blanket-ban on traditional ammo and tackle—reducing revenue for important state wildlife and conservation programs in the process.” Underscoring how outdoor recreation is part of the Montana way of life, he added, “I’ll keep fighting to protect our hunting and fishing legacy and ensuring these decisions are guided by science, not politics.”

As hunters, we all strive to protect the very wildlife populations we love to hunt. In fact, the license and permit fees and excise taxes we willingly pay on firearms and other sporting equipment through the Pittman-Robertson Act (P-R) underscore how we are America’s foremost conservationists.

As explained by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) and noted regularly on this NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum website, the real goal of those who are pushing lead ammunition bans is to hinder participation in hunting and shooting. Sadly, such proposals are mostly emotional reactions to a perceived problem that does not exist.

“These misguided policies only seek to divorce the firearm and ammunition industry—and the hunters that support these conservation funds by purchasing these products—from the wildlife and habitats these tax dollars are responsible for perpetuating,” said Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), in an NSSF news release.

Aside from lead ammunition bans having no sound scientific basis, restricting the use of common lead ammunition can lead to other problems. According to NRA-ILA, non-lead ammunition is more expensive than traditional ammunition and is not available in the wide range of calibers and options that lead ammo is. So not only will this pricier ammunition drive up the overall expense of hunting, but some hunters simply will be unable to find non-lead ammunition for their particular firearms, potentially forcing them to give up hunting altogether—the true motive for proposals to shut down the use of lead ammunition.

In the end, forcing hunters to use non-lead ammunition represents yet another barrier to hunting. Any decrease in the purchase of traditional ammunition would adversely affect wildlife conservation funding since hunters and target shooters remain the largest supporters of conservation.

About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC in Jenks, Okla. An avid hunter, shooter and field-trialer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for nearly 25 years.