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Traditional Ammunition (Lead)

Gun control advocates have had a long history of trying to ban traditional ammunition…

  •         In the 1990s, gun control supporters proposed banning traditional ammunition, a move rejected by the Treasury Department.


  •         In 2010 the EPA rejected a petition by radical groups that sought to implement a nationwide lead ammunition ban.


  •         In 2017, President Obama issued Director’s Order No. 219 of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which required the use of so called “non-toxic” ammunition on lands regulated by the service.


  •         Secretary Zinke withdrew the order in March of 2017.


Proponents of the ban argue that traditional ammunition poses a danger to wildlife, particularly raptors, as well as a health risk to humans.

 When we examine the data, however, it becomes clear that lead ammunition cannot possibly have the devastating effects these groups claim…

  •         In 2008, California became the first state to enact legislation banning the use of lead ammunition on public land, citing the need to protect condor populations from lead poisoning. 


  •         However, 5 years into the ban, the 2013 report revealed that despite majority hunter compliance, there was no statistical difference in Condor blood lead levels before and after the ban. 


  •         Clearly the use of lead ammunition was not the massive threat to Condor populations that advocacy groups claimed.


  •         This is not entirely surprising, considering traditional ammunition accounts for only 5% of all domestic uses of lead. (USGS)


  •         Furthermore, though hunters continue to use lead ammunition in most of the country, as they have for hundreds of years, Eagle and Raptor populations have continued to steadily rise.


  •         Statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service show that from 1981 to 2006 the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States increased 724 percent. 


  •         Similarly, raptor populations throughout the United States are soaring.


  •         Logically, if the ongoing use of lead ammunition truly constituted a serious threat to these species, we would expect their populations to be declining...and yet, we see the exact opposite effect.


  •         Even Steve Merchant, Wildlife Program Manager for the Department of Natural Resources, who spearheaded a campaign to ban lead ammunition in Minnesota, admitted “We don’t have science that shows it (lead ammo) negatively impacting a population.


Without evidence that lead ammunition is affecting species at a population level, banning its use cannot be justified under the North American Wildlife Conservation Model... 

  •         The U.S. was the first nation to implement the extremely successful North American Wildlife Conservation Model in the 1800s.


  •          Thanks to the success of this model, we have seen incredible wildlife population increases.


  •         Though we have seen some individual incidents of animals suffering from lead poisoning as a result of traditional ammunition, there is not solid evidence for any significant effect at the population level. 


  •         Under the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, wildlife management is premised on managing populations as a whole; rather than focusing on preventing harm to individual animals in a species.


  •         Therefore, a widespread ban is simply not justified under our conservation model.


There is also little solid evidence that traditional ammunition poses a risk to human health... 

  •         In 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied lead levels in the blood of North Dakota hunters who used traditional lead ammunition and found no human health risk. 


  •         In fact, the average North Dakota hunter has a lower level of blood lead than the average American.


  •         The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been testing the blood lead levels of Iowans for nearly two decades.


  •         In response to a panic about lead in venison, the department explained, "IDPH maintains that if lead in venison were a serious health risk, it would likely have surfaced within extensive blood lead testing since 1992 with 500,000 youth under 6 and 25,000 adults having been screened."


  •         There has never been a documented case of lead poisoning among humans caused by eating game harvested with traditional ammunition


Evidence strongly indicates that not only would a lead ammunition ban not effectively protect animal populations; it would in fact hurt them…

  •         A mandate for lead-free ammunition would price recreational shooting out of many Americans` reach, reducing overall ammunition sales and, in turn, hurting conservation.


  •         The reality is, there are currently no comparable alternatives to lead ammunition in terms of cost, ballistics and availability.


  •         This is evidenced by the fact that metallic non-traditional ammunition holds only 1% market share. (NSSF)


  •         Alternatives to lead used in the fishing tackle business have resulted in significant cost increases, and the manufacturing process for traditional fishing weights is significantly simpler than the complicated process involved in manufacturing non-lead ammunition. (NSSF)


  •         According to a Southwick Associates study, California’s lead ammunition ban will lead to a 200-400% increase in the price of ammunition causing, 36% of hunters (more than 50,000) to stop or decrease their participation in hunting. 


  •         Since the vast majority of conservation funding in the U.S. comes directly from hunters through the Pittman-Robertson Act, such a large decrease in hunter participation will be truly devastating to wildlife populations. 


  •         Ironically, a traditional ammunition ban is likely to hurt the very wildlife populations that these radical groups claim to be protecting.

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.