December 3, 2015

Lead Ammunition Legislation Signed Into Law Benefitting Sportsmens’ Traditions

Recently, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015, which included a provision precluding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from asserting Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) authority over firearm ammunition and its component parts. A priority for hunters and recreational shooters, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) applauds the commitment Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members who worked in bipartisan fashion to ensure the inclusion of this provision.

In recent years, the use of lead ammunition while hunting has become a focal point for anti-hunting groups who claim these components have a detrimental effect on wildlife. Legislators, sportsmen, and the outdoor industry are seeing an increased number of bills directed at reducing or eliminating lead ammunition and fishing tackle. These efforts are generally not based on sound science, but rather on the emotional assumption that isolated incidents of animals ingesting harmful levels of lead translates to impacts on entire populations.

Through the American System of Conservation Funding, initiated over 75 years ago as a “user-pays, public-benefits” system, the excise taxes on the sale of firearm ammunition and other sporting goods are allocated to a fund specifically dedicated to fish and wildlife conservation efforts nationwide, ensuring the health of America’s wildlife populations for future generations.  Bans on such lead products can cause a decrease in revenue for crucial conservation efforts by state fish and wildlife agencies.

A similar provision — the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act — that would exempt lead ammunition as well as fishing tackle is included in the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015, and is currently moving through Congress.

“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and sponsor of the Sportsmen’s Heritage Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015 which includes this measure,” said Congressman Rob Wittman (VA), “I am committed to preserving and enhancing sportsman-led conservation. I believe this legislation is instrumental in accomplishing that, and I am deeply grateful to all of my colleagues who played a role in securing its passage. I am pleased with what I consider an important win, and I will continue to work toward enactment of the remaining SHARE Act provisions during this session of Congress.”

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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