Federal Appellate Court Rules EPA Cannot Regulate Content of Ammunition

Law Shield would like to inform our members that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has upheld the dismissal of the latest lawsuit brought by anti-hunting groups petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue regulations banning traditional ammunition with lead components.

Had the courts told EPA to regulate lead ammunition, a likely result would have been skyrocketing ammunition prices for all calibers.

The refusal by the EPA to consider the petition was challenged by the anti-hunting petitioners in federal court in 2013.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA had properly dismissed the petition filed under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The petitioners appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which heard the case in late October.

Traditional ammunition represents 95 percent of the U.S. market and is the staple ammunition for target shooters, hunters and law enforcement, with more than 14 billion rounds sold annually, according to information provided by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry.

EPA has consistently denied repeated attempts by anti-hunting groups led by the extremist Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to have the agency ban traditional ammunition, and the court had dismissed an earlier case brought by CBD seeking the same relief. The latest suit simply added more parties.

“This latest iteration of a frivolous lawsuit is essentially the same as those dismissed earlier and equally without merit,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “We are pleased the Court of Appeals considered the legal merits in case and has now ruled that Congress has not given the EPA the authority to regulate ammunition, putting an end to efforts by anti-hunting zealots to end America’s hunting heritage.”

Keane said that CBD’s serial petitioning of EPA and its repeated lawsuits are intended to begin shutting down hunting and the shooting sports in America by banning the ammunition that millions of hunters and target shooters choose to use safely and responsibly.

“There is quite simply no sound science that shows the use of traditional ammunition has harmed wildlife populations or that it presents a health risk to humans who consume game taken with such ammunition,” Keane said. “Banning traditional ammunition would cost tens of thousands of jobs in America and destroy wildlife conservation that is funded in part by an 11 percent excise tax on the sale of ammunition. The protection and management of wildlife is properly handled by the professional biologists in the state fish and game agencies, as it has been for over a hundred years.”

In addition to NSSF, the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and the Association of Battery Recyclers intervened in the case.

Organizations that joined the Center for Biological Diversity in its lawsuit were the Cascades Raptor Center of Oregon, the Loon Lake Loon Association of Washington, Preserve Our Wildlife of Florida, Tennessee Ornithological Society, Trumpeter Swan Society and Western Nebraska Resources Council.

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