On Friday, the National Rifle Association announced its plan to target groups and individuals who support a ban on the use of lead in gun ammunition, placing them on the NRA’s new “enemies” list.
The NRA’s newest targets, which include environmentalist groups, scientists, and zoos (among others), have expressed concern over the environmental effect of lead used in bullets. These groups, in some states, proposed regulations of lead use in ammunition after studies suggested that birds are dying of lead poisoning by the millions after ingesting lead bullet fragments left behind by hunters using lead-based ammunition. The California condor, a highly endangered bird species, is one of the many that has been shown to be affected by lead poisoning.
The Center for Biological Diversity—one of the groups targeted by the NRA—estimated that up to 20 million birds die each year as a result of ingesting lead bullet fragments, with hunters shooting over 3,000 tons of lead into the environment annually.
As a response to growing concern over lead bullets—particularly a California proposition under consideration that would prohibit the use of lead ammunition in hunting—the NRA created HuntforTruth.org, an effort on the part of the gun lobby to stifle efforts attempting to regulate lead-based ammunition. The NRA argued that the proposed bans are, in fact, “assaults” on hunting and hunters’ rights.
“Self-proclaimed environmental organizations are pushing to prohibit the use of traditional lead ammunition in hunting and recreational shooting,” the NRA stated on Friday. “These radical groups are now going so far as to claim that eating wild game taken with lead ammunition is a serious health risk to hunters and families.”
“All hunters and recreational shooters need to learn the real truth behind the anti-lead ammunition proponents’ agenda to ban lead ammunition, not only in battleground states like California, but everywhere in the United States,” the NRA continued. “Anti-lead ammunition groups will not rest until all lead ammunition, and ultimately hunting, is banned.”
The NRA’s target list currently includes six NGO’s—the California Condor Recovery Team, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, San Diego Zoo, Ventana Wildlife Society, and The Peregrine Fund—and four government agencies—the Los Angeles Zoo, Arizona Game and Fish Department, California Department of Fish and Game, and US Fish and Wildlife. The NRA has suggested that it will target researchers and individuals as well, though none are listed by name at this time.