U.S. House Passes Measure Protecting Lead Ammo Use

U.S. House Passes Measure Protecting Lead Ammo Use

In a positive action for hunters, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a measure that would protect the use of lead ammunition on some federal lands.

H.R. 615, the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act, specifically bars the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture from prohibiting or regulating the use of lead ammunition or fishing tackle on federal land or water that is under the jurisdiction of such departments and made available for hunting or fishing.

Introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), the measure passed the House by a narrow 214-201 margin.

“As a lifelong hunter and recreational fisherman, I was appalled by the Biden administration’s effort to restrict access for our nation’s sportsmen and women who use traditional lead fishing tackle and ammunition on federal lands and waters,” Rep. Wittman said in a news release following passage of the measure by the House. “Effective environmental stewardship and wildlife conservation rely on the valuable contributions of our hunters and anglers, and affordable lead ammunition and tackle are crucial to reducing financial barriers that limit accessibility for sportsmen and women. I’m pleased to see this critical piece of legislation pass the House, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this bill and send it to the president’s desk.”

As this NRA website first reported last June, the measure was introduced in response to a new federal rule opening several areas on National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) lands to hunting, but at the same time banning the use of traditional lead ammunition on several other wildlife refuges. In monitoring the issue, the site explained The Final Rule would ban the use of traditional lead ammunition on eight national wildlife refuges and lead fishing tackle on seven NWRs. At the same time, it would open 48 new distinct hunting opportunities across approximately 3,000 acres of NWRs—all of which would also forbid the use of lead ammo.

The push to ban lead ammo on various public lands is a contentious one for several reasons, and the National Rifle Association has been involved in the fight against such a ban for decades. As we’ve reported in the past and as the NRA Institute for Legislative Action regularly explains, such a ban would make hunting more difficult and more expensive for hunters who want to access these public lands. Additionally, those pushing lead ammunition bans are doing so without proof that lead ammunition is harming wildlife populations on public lands, including national wildlife refuges.

“The NRA applauds the U.S. House of Representatives on the passage of the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act,” said Randy Kozuch, Executive Director of NRA-ILA. “This common-sense legislation would block the Biden administration’s attempts to ban the use of traditional ammunition, which is the most affordable, readily available ammunition for America’s hunters and shooters. On behalf of the millions of NRA members, gun owners and sportsmen across the nation, we thank Chairman Bruce Westerman and Rep. Rob Wittman for their leadership on this issue.”

Passage of the measure by the House is notable since many representatives are staunch proponents of banning lead ammunition for hunting. As this website reported in 2022, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced a measure that would ban the use of lead ammunition on all federal public lands managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

H.R. 615 now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration. A companion measure in the Senate, S. 1185, would also require the secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to provide site-specific, peer-reviewed scientific data in cooperation with state agencies that demonstrates traditional lead ammunition or fishing tackle is causing detrimental wildlife population impacts before prohibiting their use by hunters and anglers.