Efforts to protect the rights of sportsmen and gun owners to use the ammunition of their choice received a significant boost last week when a federal judge dismissed part of a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) lawsuit. The CBD suit challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of a petition to ban traditional ammunition and lead fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). The court ruled it does not have jurisdiction over the EPA’s refusal to regulate traditional ammunition because the complaint was not filed within the statute of limitations to challenge the EPA decision. The ruling does not apply to the lead fishing gear portion of the petition.
Responding to the verdict, the CBD said, “We firmly believe the EPA has the authority and obligation to remove poisonous lead from our environment and this ruling does not change that one bit. Lead ammunition’s days are numbered; the question is not if, it’s when.”
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The court concluded that because the CBD’s challenge was untimely, it “therefore [did] not reach the issue of whether the EPA possesses statutory authority to regulate lead shot and bullets under TSCA.”
While this is a great victory for all hunters, sportsmen and gun owners as well as for our industry, the legal, regulatory and legislative threats against traditional ammunition remain very real. This is why it is imperative that all gun owners urge their U.S. Senators and Representative to support the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act. This legislation has been introduced in both the Senate (S. 838) and House (H.R. 1558) by Senators Jon Tester (D-Montana) and John Thune (R-SD) and Representatives Jeff Miller (R-Fla.-1st) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.-4th), all of whom are the bipartisan co-chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. The legislation simply clarifies that Congress has not given the EPA authority to regulate ammunition and its components under the TSCA.