EPA on lead-ammunition ban: Never mind

posted at 9:30 pm on August 27, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Not that this was going anywhere anyway, but someone at the EPA must have gotten a few phone calls about their open comment period on this truly screwy idea from either the White House, Congressional leadership, or perhaps both.  Just two days ago, the EPA announced that they would take comments until the end of October as to whether they agreed that lead-based ammunition and fishing sinkers amounted to such a dire threat to the environment that the EPA should ban both.  Looks like they heard enough comments, at least on ammunition:

Responding to a grassroots outcry from gun owners, the Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has denied a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and other radical groups that had sought to ban the use of lead in ammunition.

Agreeing with the position of the NRA and the firearms industry, the agency explained in a news release that it “does not have the legal authority to regulate this type of product under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).”  Further crushing the hopes of anti-gun and anti-hunting activists, the release added: “nor is the agency seeking such authority.”

“It’s outrageous that this petition even went this far,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director.  “We applaud the EPA for its understanding of the law and its common sense in this situation — both of which were totally missing in the petition filed by these extreme anti-gun and anti-hunting groups.”

Because the EPA has no power to regulate ammunition, it will not move ahead with a public comment period on the petition.  However, a comment period will remain open until September 15 on the other part of the petition, which asks EPA to ban the use of lead in fishing sinkers.

Be sure to watch for more coverage of this important victory in next week’s Grassroots Alert and in NRA’s magazines.

It is an important victory, mainly from the EPA’s own admission that ammunition is outside their jurisdictional reach.  Otherwise, this just brings an issue to the end it inevitably faced sooner or later.  Had the EPA pursued this in this electoral cycle, they would have risked inspiring a bipartisan effort to defund the agency, which a Republican House may do anyway to stop enforcement of their ridiculous carbon-dioxide endangerment finding.

If the EPA actually thought this would make a great trial balloon, they found yet another use for lead.

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This was a backdoor attempt outlaw ALL ammunition. The idea was, outlaw lead, the alternatives are steel and tungsten and bismuth used in waterfowl shot. Then, steel or tungsten cored bullets become “Armour-piercing” and strictly regulated by the illegal BATFE. They got their A$$ handed to them on this one, thank God!

Mini-14 on August 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Now we can only use silver bullets to kill vampires.

MSGTAS on August 28, 2010 at 10:56 AM


CynicalOptimist on August 28, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I’m still going to place an order for a few boxes.

jtdavies on August 28, 2010 at 12:25 PM

It is just one thing after another with these statists. If they can’t get something by the will of the people or through judicial activism, they will search for every little legal technicality to achieve their ends.

We don’t need better government or more responsive government, or more responsible government, we need LESS government.

AZfederalist on August 28, 2010 at 12:44 PM

This is your EPA.

Badger40 on August 28, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Bureaucratic dictatorship is more like it. Freedom gets whittled away inch by inch and there is no great gun grab, or major event for people to rally around.

sharrukin on August 28, 2010 at 12:54 PM

The EPA should do a “never mind” on DDT to exterminate the bed bug infestation back East, and WHO on DDT to exterminate the third world malaria marsh mosquito infestation as well.

maverick muse on August 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

The USA should do a “never mind” and cut out the EPA.

maverick muse on August 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

cozmo on August 28, 2010 at 9:35 AM

I don’t buy the “lead as a lubricant” idea. I have friends who own Desert Eagles; they say that the gun has failure to feed issues related to overall cartridge length and using under-or-over powered loads (revolver cartridges are not required to be quite as consistent in length as auto pistol rounds). They seldom use semi-jacketed ammo and no lead bullets. I find their statements reasonable given that the gun is using a gas-operated system to cycle rimmed cartridges; there have to be trade-offs.
Perhaps the cartridge you are using is near optimum length and powder charge?

mad scientist on August 28, 2010 at 2:11 PM

I’m still going to place an order for a few boxes.

jtdavies on August 28, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Buying a few boxes at a time is a good hedge against both price increases and shortages or bans.
I assembled a “grocery list” of ammo for a friend who had a tough time finding any ammo in his area. UPS will ship ammo if you are willing to pay the slight upcharge (ORM-D).

mad scientist on August 28, 2010 at 2:17 PM

While I agree that EPA has no business doing this, I do wonder at the logic.

Lead is a known poison to such an extent that remodeling your home, if it’s was built prior to 1978, can result in some serious fines and possible imprisonment if you don’t follow the lead abatement regulations regarding lead-based paint. Lead can cause death and serious birth defects.

CO2, on the other hand, is a naturally occuring gas that is a result being alive. CO2 in high concentrations can be deadly. CO2 in normal concentrations is necessary for plant life (our food supply).

EPA can’t regulate lead ammuntion, but can regulate what you exhale. I don’t get it. I just don’t.

BobMbx on August 28, 2010 at 4:42 PM

A total victory for NRA. A cave of this magnitude says NRA has existential control over EPA. The fishing sinkers will be quietly dropped.
Pun impossible to avoid. Boo, Hisss.

Good on NRA. It is one more reason I am a Life Member and Golden Eagle contributor.

Caststeel on August 28, 2010 at 5:21 PM

They can regulate what ever the naive masses allow them to regulate. The idea that laws or the constitution stop them is folly -it is only fear of reprisal political of physical rebellion that stop them.

Ask fifty million slaughtered unborn if they agree that the constitution has emanations from penumbras that overule Nature’s God! Only in the hands of shingled and robed executioners does such ccur.

Don L on August 28, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Charles Payne is reading Asimov’s laws of robots re: current administration!!

Here they are.

Obama is a robot! heh, heh, heh.

Caststeel on August 28, 2010 at 5:33 PM

That picture on the main page. It is a Desert Eagle, it needs a semi-jacketed lead bullet. The lead is a lubricant for the barrel.

The DE has to use jacketed bullets because cast lead (unjacketed) bullets will clog the gas port and is very difficult to clean out. Lead is NOT a lubricant in any gun barrel or cartridge. Barrel leading has to be removed or it will build up to the point where accuracy drops off, or, in extreme cases it can cause dangerously high pressure.

The higher velocities and heat / pressure of the .44mag smear soft lead proejctiles down the barrel. They need jacketed ammo to prevent this, or lubed lead bullets with gas checks.

I use plain base hard cast lead bullets in my full power .44 Mag loads with no leading.
You have to match the hardness of the bullet to the load. If you drive soft cast bullets too fast they will lead due to high pressure. If you drive hard cast bullets too slow (low pressure) they will lead due to gas cutting.

357 158gr semi-jacketed is all that is allowed for that fire arm.

That load is what’s recommended, not the only one allowed. Other bullet weights and types can be used as long as they’re jacketed and the load generates the same power factor.

single stack on August 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM

All I need to know about the EPA I learned from watching Ghostbusters.

Free Indeed on August 30, 2010 at 8:12 AM

single stack on August 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Okay, I’ll still go with what the gunsmith said.

When the book says that only 158gr. semi-jacketed should be used, I’ll accept that that as allowed instead of recommended. Besides, it shoots better than other loads.

cozmo on August 30, 2010 at 9:11 AM

I wonder what other bonehead brainstorms will be coming down the pike. Outlaw toilet paper? I have lost all confidence in the ability of the government to make sound decisions for people like me.

Fortunately, I have plenty of 9X18 and 9X19 ammo in stock, not to mention 7.62X39. Those double stack magazines really suck up the ammo come plinking time.

saiga on August 30, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Dove season opens next week. That should be good for a few boxes of 12 guage 8’s. Time to get my shoulder limbered up for the ducks this fall.

I love the feel of recoil in the morning.

saiga on August 30, 2010 at 5:41 PM