NEWTOWN, Conn., April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following continued attacks by anti-hunting groups to ban traditional ammunition (ammunition containing lead-core components) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, Senators Jon Tester (D-Montana) and John Thune (R-South Dakota), co-chairmen of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation (S. 838) to clarify the longstanding exemption of ammunition and ammunition components under the act. The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act is being championed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. The act also calls for lead fishing tackle, similarly under attack from anti-hunting groups, to be exempt from the TSCA.
"Hunting, shooting and fishing are more than just pastimes in Montana—they're part of our outdoor heritage," said Senator Tester. "They're Montana values that we pass on to our kids and grandkids. And I'll fight for those values whenever Washington, D.C.'s rules get in the way of common sense."
This legislation has bipartisan support from the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus.
"We applaud and thank Senator Tester and Senator Thune for introducing this common-sense measure," said NSSF President and CEO Stephen L. Sanetti. "This bill will continue to ensure that America's hunters and shooters can choose for themselves the best ammunition to use, instead of unnecessarily mandating the universal use of expensive alternatives."
Last fall the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considered a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) – a leading anti-hunting organization – to ban all traditional ammunition under the TSCA. Though the EPA correctly rejected the petition, a decision that is now being challenged in court by the CBD, the attack demonstrated the need to preserve and protect the rights of all sportsmen to choose their own ammunition and fishing tackle, based on their own circumstances and budget. Traditional ammunition and fishing tackle are significantly less expensive than alternative ammunition and fishing tackle. This is of great importance to sportsmen in these difficult economic times.
"Outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, not only provide recreational opportunities, but also greatly contribute to South Dakota's economy," said Senator Thune. "The EPA's overreaching regulations in other areas are already negatively affecting jobs and businesses across the country, and I am committed to ensuring that ammunition and tackle do not become subject to arbitrary regulation."
A ban on traditional ammunition would have a negative impact on wildlife conservation. The federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent) is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding in the United States and the financial backbone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Since the firearms and ammunition excise tax began in 1937, more than $6.4 billion has been collected from firearms and ammunition manufacturers benefiting wildlife restoration and hunter education. Fewer hunters mean fewer dollars for wildlife.
"Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 50 state wildlife agencies," said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. "But no one should be misled about what's truly at stake here. A ban on traditional ammunition will not only affect hunters and sportsmen, but law enforcement, military, self-defense and target shooters who may never go afield. This is precisely why all Americans, not just gun owners, have a vested interest in the passage of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act."
The higher costs associated with alternative ammunition will price everyday consumers out of the market. This is evidenced by the low 1 percent market share of alternative ammunition. This would lead to fewer hunters taking to the field and shooting ranges across the United States being needlessly closed.
"The economic growth of America's firearms and ammunition industry continues to be a bright spot in our country's still-ailing economy," continued Keane. "Passing this important legislation will help to ensure that our industry, which is responsible for more than 183,000 well-paying jobs and has an economic impact of more than $27.8 billion annually, continues to shine."
SOURCE National Shooting Sports Foundation