EPA Considering Banning Lead Ammunition

NSSF is springing into action, as the public comment period opens on EPA considering a regulation that will ban all traditional lead ammunition. This would basically end the shooting sports as we know it. Remember this is a no-win situation for us, because bullets made of materials other than lead are often considered armor piercing by law. Copper is your basic material, and copper is expensive, and has much poorer performance properties than lead.

As NSSF has pointed out, there’s no real scientific basis for restricting lead ammunition. Just about all shooting ranges at this point are recycling their lead (it’s too valuable to just leave in the ground). California’s ban has not been shown to reduce lead levels in Condors, and has driven more people away from hunting. Additionally, it’s interfered with lawful self-protection in parts of California that are considered condor habitat.

Are the gloves coming off? The Obama Administration has, until now, been reluctant to antagonize gun owners. Perhaps now that his popularity is reaching new lows, he’s looking to appeal to an important part of his green base by beating up on gun owners and shooters. Having utterly failed to eliminate the Second Amendment by hook, now it would seem he’s proceeding to do it by crook; by demonizing gun owners and the shooting sports as environmental devils. Let’s hope this is about as successful as the President’s other endeavors.

UPDATE: Black Bear Blog thinks this is beyond EPA’s mandate under the TSCA. His argument looks compelling.

71 thoughts on “EPA Considering Banning Lead Ammunition”

  1. War by other means.

    You have to expected it though; give an agency authority to regulate down to the atom-counting level (incredibly dumb move), in the hands of liberal narcissts, and lets just say that emotional sensitivity on a highly combustable issue isn’t their strong suit, like, emm, mosques at the site of massacres. Same mind-set at work.

    Of course, unless you elect representatives is willing to rein the EPA in, protest is useless, you are only a pleb..er…citizen. And at this point I think the only appropriate interrogation technique for suspected RINO”s is water boarding. If the liberals hate it, it must be good.

  2. Clarification question:
    Does this include copper covered FMJ style ammo that has lead covered by copper? As I understand it, that’s pretty much all we ever shoot except defense loads.

  3. Such an effort probably will not meet constitutional muster. When something is a basic right, all things essential to that right are also protected. Firearms don’t work without ammunition, so ammunition is protected along with firearms.

  4. Fire in the hold! The anti-DC backlash is about to get exponentially more intense.

    Congressman, can we get your position on this as we pepare to cast our ballot in November?

  5. Jeff: It would cover FMJ ammo, yes. Any ammo with lead in it.

    Denton: I would agree, but we can’t be sure how the Courts will react to an ostensibly generally applicable environmental regulation. Second Amendment jurisprudence is still in its infancy.

    Duke: I agree… this seems very stupid for a Democratic administration to take up now. It’s been hard to mobilize people on guns this election, but probably not now!

  6. If they keep fing around the EPA is going to have more lead than they know what to do with.

    The average citizen and gun owners in particular have had it with all this onerous legislation.

  7. I am really not surprised as there has been several politicians that failing to ban guns decided and stated that they can control firearms by making ammo impossible to get. Personally, I think the first shot at it was the ban on selling the used casings by the military. Only way to protect ourselves is to get them all out unless they are proven friends.

  8. And what about the several billion rounds the American people have stored away? Unenforcable.

    They will just create a new black market.

  9. The majority of voters in 40 states would oppose a regulation outlawing any practical metal for bullets. Immediately ending social security or medicare would be more popular. It would not take long for a veto proof majority of both houses to overrule the EPA.

    Is ingesting large amounts of any metal safe? Is ingesting copper or tungsten really any safer than lead?

  10. Denton @ #3, I would feel a lot better about that if the current Admin and Congress had any understanding of or respect for the Constitution. So far, they appear to view it as a distraction or minor annoyance.

    Isn’t it amusing (in a bleak sort of way) how the left screamed for 8 years about Bush shredding the Constitution, and has been utterly silent thus far re: a REAL Constitution-shredder?

  11. To be honest, as many times as I’ve made the “Lead Ban + Armor Piercing Ban = Ammo Ban”, I don’t think this is a willful attempt to end shooting sports or ban guns. I think it more likely that this is just an initiative made by environmentalists who just don’t care about shooting sports.

    Not that that changes anything.

  12. Hasn’t lead shot been banned in shotgun shells for some time now, with steel shot mandated for the hunting of migratory birds?

  13. Don, yes but shotgun shells with lead are legal for non-migratory birds in most states currently.

  14. Don: As well as being legal for migratory two-legged goblins foraging outside of their home ranges. I’d rather use lead on such a pest species rather than more valuable steel or copper.

  15. ZK raises an interesting point.

    Often environmentalists and hunters should be on the same side. I recall reading in National Geographic that Ducks Unlimited has done amazing things to preserve wetland. Anecdotally, *I* spend more time hiking and picking up the crap that others leave behind than some greenies I’m forced to associate with.

    The reality of modern civilization is that cities and suburbs have driven out the top tier predators. Lower tier animals, particularly deer and hogs can be very destructive to both crops, people, and themselves if not controlled by hunting.

    Conversely some hunting or over-hunting can ruin it for everyone.

    I doubt it’ll happen, but hunting orgs and environmentalists can actually work together for some common goals. Once those have been sorted out *then* we can go back to debating morality and edge-case risks.

  16. @Don: If it weren’t for lead-projectile-loaded shotgun shells, most people would have nothing to use for home defensive purposes.

  17. As if we needed another reason to abolish this Nixonian nightmare of an agency!

  18. If soil contamination is the issue then shooting an intruder should not be restricted, unless you call 911 and tell them you just shot a “dirt bag”.

  19. They’ve already set the precedent for this. California has a lead ban on a good portion of its state, supposedly to protect the Condor. And where did this move to protect the Condor from lead come from? Easy, years ago it was determined that lead was bad for waterfowl. Anybody using lead shotshells for waterfowl hunting?

    It’s incremental folks. It’s going to happen because we’ve allowed them to do it. We like to think of ourselves as good conservationists, but obviously we could not see they were using conservation of the environment (EPA, Green Movement…etc) for more sinister things.

    It has nothing to do with the environment. You’ve been suckered, and will continue to be suckered because every new regulation is “for the good of the environment!”

    Wake up folks! You’ve allowed yourselves to be BS’d too long!

  20. For a little background, take a look at best-selling author Michael Fumento’s work on Love Canal –specifically at the brains and driving force behind the EPA, Obama czar Carole Browner:


    From Three Mile Island (which duplicated the accident in the film “The China Syndrome” which had been released twelve days earlier) to the Blowout in the Gulf (ever wonder where the Macondo well got its name?), there is an awful lot of bad smell –not toxic substance but crisis-mongered legislation creating monster taxpayer payoffs to green interests –coming off the events of our curiously always event-driven environmental policies

    Learn more about Obama’s environmental crisis specialist:


    So long as this country has no safeguard except voter discretion against law-making by law-breaking executive-branch agencies using their own ‘administrative law’ to control the people, we can expect these Maoist-Leninists to keep the leeches liberally applied to the ever-more-pale Constitution.

    Pretty soon it’ll be an honored (often with that sanctimonious wink we’ve come to recognize) historical curiosity, won’t it?

    When this administration immediately hired four dozen un-senate-confirmed ‘czars’ to do the actual work of the cabinet secretaries, we should have known this latest was just a matter of time.

    When we learned the deeply radical CVs of these czars, we should have known that whatever was coming, it was going to be as harsh and tyrannical an attack on the common citizen’s liberty as this bunch thought it could possibly get-away with.

    To my fellow citizens, i wish you good luck –we’re gonna need it.

  21. I guess the left wants to push us into a revolutionary war and then blame us for it. How else to undermine the Second Amendment other than through some transparent back door bureaucratic fascism. And never forget, when liberals and anti-constitutional collectivists speak of “rule of law” what they really mean is “rule of bureaucratic fascism” and that’s precisely what this is. “Need” is always the language of tyrants and government is always touted as the means to meet that “need.”

    Americans are under no obligation to obey such tyrannical edicts by a bureaucratic regulatory agency though we may have to suffer the consequences of such civil disobedience … unless we are ALL united on this thinly-disguised despotism. Either we hang together or we’ll all be hanged.

    I take my inspiration for the original American revolutionaries and patriots: SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!

  22. Um, guys, if you look at the Toxic Substances Control Act, 15 USC 2620, you will see that anyone can submit a petition to the EPA Administrator, asking that he Administrator ban almost anything under the TSCA. And then the Administrator has to consider the petition.

    The Administrator does not have to hold a public hearing on the petition. There is no requirement under the text of the TSCA for the Administrator to seek a public review at this stage, she could have let it go as far as the rule-making process before offering it up for public comment.

    Consider this: They are giving the shooting sports community an extra bite at this apple and allowing everyone to take a whack at the proposed ban right at the beginning of the process.

  23. Frankly, I’m thrilled.

    Not that an overreaching agency is pushing an overreaching ban, but that this is the baseline for our fight right now.

    After all our fears about President Obama’s anti-gun agenda and the Bradies’ gloating pronouncements about the same, that the big issue we need to stand firm against is the potential for the EPA to possibly start moving against lead ammo? And against a background of a Supreme Court that’s given good indication it won’t tolerate arbitrary gun control shenanigans?

    This is a freakin’ miracle.

  24. Good luck, guys. The same arguments were made when lead was banned for waterfowling, to no avail.

    Somebody voted for these guys…

  25. To add to my first comment. So there OK with making over 1/3 of the United state population overnight criminals? A ban means what you have turn it in. There will be no grandfathering for ammo. And if there is how are you going to tell the public. What baout people that cast there own bullets. What about people who don’t know or just won’t? I can actually see people literally being murdered by the government for having lead cored ammo. And we of course doing what we all say we will do under this type of tyranny. So this may cost human lives if gone through with. Kind of a stretch but still.

    But then again I feel deep down that liberals, anti-gunners, anti-hunters WAN’T the government to kill the 90+ million gun owners in this country. They WANT a genocide 15 times greater than the holocaust.

  26. Shawn, are you SURE that the lead ban would include a prohibition on ownership or control of lead-based ammo?

    I don’t see that happening. The regulation, when it comes out, if it does, will say that you can’t take the field with such ammunition, can’t carry it hunting, maybe even can’t travel through a Federal land with it, but it won’t make you into a criminal because you have some in a cupboard at home.

    The Toxic Substances law has banned many items, but to my knowledge, NONE of them have been listed as improper to own, only as improper to make, sell, use, etc.

  27. Such a ban would completely outlaw all ammunition with non corrosive priming as the priming compound is lead styphnate. The priming compound is why ammo boxes carry a warning about lead exposure and discharging firearms in poorly ventilated areas. All sporting ammunition and component primers for reloading currently sold in the US contain lead.
    The only ammo sold with non lead containing priming (mercury fulminate or sodium petrochlorate, both of which are highly corrosive) is pre 1950s American milsurp and some ComBloc milsurp.
    It isn’t the bullets they’re after sports fans, it’s the primers.

  28. Gimme a break Bama, appealing to your base does ZERO for you they are gonna vote for you anyways who else they going to vote for the tea party candidate?

    Rearranging deck chairs you are. But hey if he goes through with it at least the hunters and sport shooters in the undecided bloc will come to the light, thanks Carter err Obama.

  29. I am not a hunter nor am I a scientist but this ruling makes no sense. Lead poisoning only occurs from continues exposure or possibly ingestion. These birds would have to ingest a lot of bullets to get lead poisoning! How can all these ‘smart’ people be so ignorant?

  30. It reminds me of a leftist ploy years ago by death-penalty opponents.
    They wanted to ban lethal injections on the grounds that the chemical used had not undergone safety and efficacy tests!

  31. This is not about lead in the environment; it is about abolishing guns via removing the ability to shoot them. Either way, the results are identical. The gun-grabbers have more ploys than stars in the sky. When one fails to become law, they have are ready to propose another one to take its place. Four Supreme Court Justices recently voted against laws that would enable citizens to protect themselves against criminals who would invade homes, rape, rob and murder law-abiding residents, and to effectively scrap the 2nd Amendment. The only way to stop the hijacking of the country is to vote out those in Congress who pass laws such as those that restricting our rights to self-defense in the first place. It is a constant battle, and without the financial and legal support of the “evil” NRA, people would have to quickly learn how to barricade themselves in their homes. I can’t wait until November rolls around.

  32. Under this administration especially, the EPA has entered into a period of politically motivated overreach. First was the attempt to declare CO2 as a pollutant and regulate it under some unmandated authority known only to the EPA. Next is the adoption of a “practical” scheme to disarm US citizerns by writing regulations to prevent the use of lead in ammunition.

    The obvious answer is to defund and close up the EPA shop.
    Let’s start that program on November 2nd.

  33. What i said at Tam’s, the Center for Batshitcrazy Diversity lost this same exact thing in Committee in California. It was killed in Committee because the Department of Fish and Game wasn’t fooled anymore by the bogus crap-science.
    Now they want to pull an end-around and get the EPA to endorse their pseudo-science.
    But it’s all Political – the EPA is composed of fellow travelers of the Batshitcrazy Eco-Religion who ignore Science in favor of their own scientism.

  34. Wow more jobs the Obama Administration well take away from the american people.

  35. What a load! I see on the horizon a new Mexican cartel…selling ammunition!

    The EPA needs to be disbanded!!!

  36. What you have to wonder is this… What is this proposed lead ban (as potentially dangerous as it is, in and of itself) actually serving as a smoke screen for? While we are all busy fighting this, what legislation are they sliding under the door? This is typical Govt at work. Distract the people and do what they REALLY want to do while nobody is looking…

    But, the sad truth is that there aren’t enough guts left in the population of this nation to stand up together and deal with the corrupt govt that has been allowed to set into this nation like a cancer…

  37. Oh no lead bullets but those dam green light bulbs are toxic if you break one. Not mention the toxins in the water or the left over drugs residue in the water. Or the frank in food monsanto is pushing.

  38. Vonda, you hit the nail squarely on the head. Outlaw ANYTHING, and there will always be some entity to make billions by breaking the law. The Mexican cartels have made billions of dollars by producing methamphetamines, marijuana and other illegal drugs for ultimate distribution in the United States. I would bet that the Mexicans (and other ammunition-manufacturing countries) just can’t wait until lead ammo is outlawed since it would be yet another avenue for them to make additional billions by smuggling cartridges and bullets into the U.S., making those of us otherwise law-abiding citizens who own firearms instant felons by even owning ammunition.

    This and previous administrations (i.e., the ones in power during prohibition) just can’t seem to get it through their elitist heads that certain practices will not magically stop merely by passing laws against them. Human nature just does not work that way, and there are always evil people waiting in the wings for such laws to get passed.

    There are laws making it illegal to purchase guns on the street, yet it hasn’t stopped punks and gang bangers from getting virtually any type of weapon they want. Our elitist Utopians in society would disagree, but no amount of discussion would dissuade them.

  39. Petitioner’s contention that 15 U.S.C. § 2605(a)(2)(A)(i) bestows upon the EPA the authority to regulate lead ammunition like any other “chemical substance” is misplaced.

    By statutory enactment, 15 U.S.C. § 2602(2)(B)(v) specifically states that the term “chemical substance” does not include “any article the sale of which is subject to the tax imposed by section 4181 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 [1986] [26 U.S.C. § 4181] (determined without regard to any exemptions from such tax provided by section 4182 or 4221 [26 USCS § 4182 or 4221] or any other provision of such Code)”.

    26 U.S.C. § 4181 states:
    “There is hereby imposed upon the sale by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of the following articles a tax equivalent to the specified percent of the price for which so sold:
    Articles taxable at 10 percent–
    Articles taxable at 11 percent–
    Firearms (other than pistols and revolvers).
    Shells, and cartridges.”

    Because “Shells, and cartridges” which contain “lead shot” or “lead bullets” are an “article the sale of which is subject to the tax imposed by section 4181 of the Internal Revenue Code”, it follows that the EPA is without authority to ban “lead shot” or “lead bullets” because such articles are statutorily excluded from being regulated as a “chemical substance.”
    It further follows that because the EPA cannot regulate the articles of “shells, and cartridges”, the EPA is prohibited from regulating the “shot” or “bullets” which are subcomponents of “shells and cartridges.” This is so because it is impossible to pass regulations on a subcomponent (shot/bullet) of an article which does not have an effect on the entire excluded article (shells and cartridges).

  40. HuckleberryBob: You bring up a good point. Unfortunately, it may take a large organization (such as the NRA) who has the legal clout and expertise to argue the point in court…should it come to that. Our founding fathers inserted the 2nd Amendment because they didn’t want the populace to be defenseless against a tyrannical government, not to ensure that we could hunt game animals and defend ourselves against Crips and Bloods. Sadly, the fight for gun ownership by law-abiding citizens continues, and those of us who use guns mostly in competition and for just plinking at tin cans are still called “gun nuts” by the national media.

  41. Anyone for banning the EPA instead and have it totaly disbanded and abolished

  42. Don’t be fooled by the loony lefties. Copper is why trails are closed to motor vehicles. There are minute traces of copper in your brake shoes. The Reiter Foothills Area was closed last year by ” Lord of Public Lands ” peter goldmark here in Washington State because of the copper in the brake linings might end up in streams. There is less copper in a quad brake than a 180 gr copper bullet.

    This is about gun and people control, not the environment.

    Remember in November !

  43. That’s hilarious! It seems that I saw copper listed in the table of the elements when I was in high school in the early fifties. I suppose copper has lost its “natural” status in the scheme of things….same thing for lead. I hope the pinheads don’t continue on their bogus quest or someday they might try to abolish oxygen.

  44. I will agree it is about people control not ammo or gun control.
    If you can control a peoples means to defend himself/herself you can pretty much control that particular person or persons.

  45. Another attempt to subvert the Constitution and restrain the populace!

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