NEWTOWN, Conn. — NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, denounced the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Final Rule that offered hunters a “bait-and-switch” deal that banned the use of traditional ammunition for opening 18 national wildlife refuges for new hunting and fishing opportunities. USFWS claimed it “remains concerned that lead ammunition and fishing tackle have negative impacts on both human health and wildlife.” It also warned hunters that the future use on additional USFWS lands were open to evaluation.
Despite promises from President Joe Biden that his administration would “follow the science,” the USFWS offered no objective scientific evidence establishing that the use of traditional lead core ammunition poses a risk to human health or wildlife populations to support its decision to phase in a ban. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the issue of consumption of wild game harvested with traditional ammunition in 2008 and found no detrimental effects.
“The Biden administration is capitulating to pressure from radical environmentalists and antihunting groups. This ban will price out hunters from accessing public lands since the cost of alternative ammunition is significantly greater than that of traditional ammunition,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The USFWS didn’t consider scientific data because none exists to justify this ban. This is a Faustian deal that attempts to placate outdoorsmen and women by offering more opportunities but limiting it to only those who will pay additional costs to participate in their recreational pastimes.”
The topic of advocacy posited as pseudo-science was warned by Jim Heffelfinger, a regional game specialist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and adjunct professor at University of Arizona, Tucson. He published a column in MeatEater warning that alarms over traditional ammunition are “often oversimplified or exaggerated.”
NSSF submitted a comment letter to the USFWS proposed rule on the ban. The Service does not appear open to considering any of the industry’s relevant evidence or alternatives presented. Alternative courses of action did include initiating an incentivized voluntary adaptation program modeled after the Arizona Game and Fish program that has yielded 88 percent compliance since 2007. Absent sound scientifically proven necessity, NSSF believes hunters should be able to choose the ammunition that best meets their needs, which could include alternative non-lead ammunition.
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NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org.