NPS Bans Lead Ammo in National Parks

NSSF Press release about it here.  The rule doesn’t go into effect until 2010.  The NPS press release is here:

The new lead reduction efforts also include changes in NPS activities, such as culling operations or the dispatching of wounded or sick animals. Rangers and resource managers will use non-lead ammunition to prevent environmental contamination as well as lead poisoning of scavenger species who may eventually feed upon the carcass. Non-toxic substitutes for lead made in the United States are now widely available including tungsten, copper, and steel.

Bzzt… sorry NPS… that makes your ammunition armor piercing, and makes it questionably legal, and requires a special license to manufacture.  There are all copper alternatives, but they are expensive.  My carry load happens to be lead free, but most people’s isn’t.

What I can’t tell, though, is whether this is an agency initiative, or whether it applies to visitors in parks, particularly people carrying with licenses.  I haven’t seen the actual rule.

14 thoughts on “NPS Bans Lead Ammo in National Parks”

  1. In Virginia, the all copper bullets are considered “restricted ammunition.”

    § 18.2-308.3. Use or attempted use of restricted ammunition in commission or attempted commission of crimes prohibited; penalty.

    A. When used in this section:

    “Restricted firearm ammunition” applies to […] (iii) any cartridges containing […] jacketed bullets with other than lead or lead alloy cores, or cartridges of which the bullet itself is wholly comprised of a metal or metal alloy other than lead. This definition shall not be construed to include shotgun shells or solid plastic bullets.

    B. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly use or attempt to use restricted firearm ammunition while committing or attempting to commit a crime. Violation of this section shall constitute a separate and distinct felony and any person found guilty thereof shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony.

    As far as I can tell, it’s only illegal to have them if you commit a crime, but…
    Walk into a restaurant while carrying without knowing that they have a license to serve alcohol (it’s not always obvious), and that inadvertent misdemeanor may have a felony attached.

  2. Tungsten?

    “Rats were implanted with a low dose (4 pellets) or a high dose (20 pellets) of tungsten alloy. Other rats received 20 pellets of nickel, a known carcinogen, or tantalum, an inert control metal. In findings that surprised the researchers, 100% of the rats implanted with tungsten-alloy pellets developed extremely aggressive tumors surrounding the pellets, although tumor growth was slower in rats implanted with lower doses. The tumors then rapidly metastasized to the lungs of the rats, necessitating euthanasia of the animals well before the anticipated end of the study.”

    Nice choice jackasses.

  3. Oh, that is just great, Dock… the Navy swapped out all depleted uranium rounds for their CIWS systems for tungsten rounds instead, citing health concerns.

    Granted, tungsten is probably better, but there has been little, if any, documentable proof concerning the dangers of depleted uranium (short of being a heavy metal of which you should not breath or ingest any dust).

    In other news, why is this lead thing cropping up so much recently, aside from it being a better way to try and regulate firearm owners than laws concerning firearms (since those tend to explode in people’s faces)? I mean, hell, does no one pay attention to CDC studies indicating that lead really has no affect upon people who eat animal flesh hunted by lead bullets? Or, conversely, does no one realize that lead bullets in parks would pretty much boil down to putting it back where we found it?

    *sigh* I guess that would require rational thought, which seems sparse on the other side of the fence these days…

  4. Wow!

    So now can we sue them over the much more probably unintended consequences and the future damage of scavengers? Good PR to go after it on environmental and conservation grounds.

  5. This is bad because a hard cast lead bullet is necessary for effective defense against a grizzly. It needs to be fairly heavy also, at least 300 grains. An all copper bullet usually won’t be heavy enough and if it were it would make excessive pressure and a nasty recoil.

    The main reason i would carry in Teton or Yellowstone is to survive a grizzly attack and without lead it gets more problematic than it is already.

    Another reason this seems stupid is that under current laws there is never going to be much actual shooting in the National Park. The few rounds that will be fired over time will not amount to any significant lead contamination.

  6. I’ve often wondered if lead ammo bans could be used for back door gun control combined with the existing restrictions on AP ammo. As far as I can tell, the EPA has the existing statutory authority to restrict lead as an enviromental pollutant without any action from congress. Lead is restricted as “environmentally unfriendly” and bullets made of any other material are AP virtually eliminating the legal supply of ammunition….

  7. The regulation is unnecessary and idiotic, but until I see the actual text of the proposed rule I’m not going to get too upset. From what it sounds like I don’t think they’re going to ban lead ammo in carry guns, only in guns used to legally hunt on NPS land.

    Even California’s ban on lead ammo only applies to ammo used to hunt big game and non-game species in certain areas of the state; you can still use lead ammo for target shooting and hunting upland game, even in the restricted areas.

  8. Hey I’m glad I could be of some use. :)

    As it happens, Linoge, I found this information on tungsten a while ago when I was researching the effects of depleted uranium, and those of the substitute materials that were being proposed.

    DU is basically leftovers from the uranium enriching process; it is “depleted” of most, but not all, of the hotter U-235 and is mostly U-238, but contains 234, 236 and 237 as well as transuranics like plutonium.

    It is still hot to some degree, and is an alpha, beta and gamma emitter. It works REALLY well because it is so dense, and it has pyrophoric properties – when it hits a target, the DU fragments and catches fire.

    DU munitions were basically a “last resort” response to superior Soviet tank numbers during the cold war in the European theater, and also because the Soviet armor quality was quite good at shrugging off our standard munitions. DU munitions were not really meant to become general issue, but as the cold war faded and we had all these ginchy shells laying around, well… generally, if you make it, it gets used. And it works like a champeen, too.

    The dust generated by DU impacts can find its way into lungs, kidneys, and the reproductive system, where it lodges and burns away at the tissue with slow steady radioactive output. Soldiers who report signs of DU sickness also said they tromped around in the burned out hulks of destroyed Iraqi tanks – which were heavily DU contaminated areas. But it can also be carried on the wind quite a ways, and lord knows there was a lot of smoke in the air in the conflict.

    Anyway… just a quick recap, mostly from memory on my part, but here’s a straight science source (since the subject tends to get rather heavily politicized.)

    Jacketed tungsten is OK as long as, you know, you don’t get shot with it. DU munitions can theoretically hurt you just laying around, if they’re very close to your body for long periods of time.

  9. Those retards acually think that a few lead bullets here and there is going to seriously impact the environment? Baloney! Take the Gettysburg Battlefield, which is a National Park, for example. MILLIONS of lead bullets were fired during the battle, and to this day there has been no impact on the environment at Gettysburg from all that lead.

    The NPS is just using “environmental impact” as a reason to continue to restrict honest Americans right to carry arms in OUR National Parks.

  10. One more regulation from a regulatory agency to ignore; sigh, so many regulations, so little time…

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