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If you’re a member of the civilian disarmament industrial complex, anything that makes owning and operating a firearm more difficult or expensive is a step in the right direction. If you can’t get something like universal background checks federally mandated — and they have no hope of even that in the foreseeable future — you try other avenues. Like the courts. One long-standing effort has been to classify lead bullets and shot as toxic in the hopes of getting the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate lead ammunition out of existence (see California). But today, the US District Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit slapped down tree huggers and gun grabbers alike by ruling “that environmental groups have suggested no way in which EPA could regulate spent lead bullets and shot without also regulating cartridges and shells.” That’s a problem because . . .

The Toxic Substances Control Act exempts cartridges and shells from regulation.

The National Rifle Association and much of the pro-gun lobby intervened on the EPA’s side in urging the federal appeals court to uphold the dismissal of a lawsuit by 101 environmentalist organizations.

“Given that bullets and shot can become spent only if they are first contained in a cartridge or shell and then fired from a weapon,” the environmental groups “have identified no way in which EPA could regulate spent bullets and shot without also regulating cartridges and shells,” precisely what the law prohibits, said the decision by appeals judge David Tatel, a nominee of President Bill Clinton. The other two judges on the case were Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard, both nominees of President Barack Obama.

Not the kind of Christmas present anti-gunners were hoping for.

Lawyers for the environmentalists say there are many effective alternatives, such as substituting copper for lead bullets and lead shot.

Gun supporters say ammunition manufactured with alternative materials is more costly to produce and sell than traditional ammunition.

It looks like gun owners have been on Santa’s nice list this year. Ho ho ho.   [h/t Dirk Diggler]

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  1. Also in the news:
    “…Congress approved the Fiscal Year 2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act. Included in the Act were a number of pro-gun provisions…the Act contains a new provision to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency, or any other federal agency, from regulating the lead content of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle..”

    • Maybe a visit from Dirk D.? Would probably even her right out, and perhaps introduce a little realism into her fairytale world. Hey Dirk? I know it’d be a sacrifice, but would you take one for the team? Do it for the Gipper even? 😉

      Merry Christmas to all the PoTG everywhere!

    • This wasn’t a 2nd amendment decision, the law that established and regulates the EPA expressly forbids the EPA from regulating ammunition.

  2. Not to mention the tree huggers scream bloody murder whenever someone wants to open up a copper mine, despite the fact that their precious Priuses require more than twice as much copper as a conventional car.

  3. So these lawyers and activists think they have a better idea. Why don’t they get together and start a company and make alternative ammo? I’m sure there’s a market for it.

      • I have been shooting with Barnes all copper bullets for about 10 years now. I shot my last moose with a 225 grain Barnes TSX. These bullets are very accurate, because of the inherit accuracy I was able to score a hit right between the eyes at over 200 meters and ruined no meat. Granted these bullets will not shoot well in all rifles and seem to perform the best in barrels with no pitting or rust what so ever and they are expensive

        Cheers & Tighter Groups: eaglesnester

  4. Whether there are acceptable alternatives, such as copper, is irrelevant to the question posed, which is whether the EPA has any statutory authority to regulate ammunition–which the Court of Appeals quite correctly concluded it did not. I thought the environmentalists had gone down this road before–and lost. if they want things to change, their remedy is Congress.

  5. Copper is an effective alternative according to the Envirowhackos.
    Well, sure it is … “effective”, but hardly practical.
    Gold and silver are effective alternatives as well, but again… not practical.
    Then they lobby hard to shut down sources for the alternatives like the new copper mine being prepared in Arizona that is going to yield thousands of tons of quality copper ore.
    They will do anything and disregard reason in the process to force their will upon all of us.

    • ‘Gold and silver are effective alternatives as well, but again… not practical.’

      When you’re staring down your sights at a vampire or werewolf whatever you paid for those silver bullets will seem like a bargain.

      • Silver for werewolves, UV light or wood for vampires. Or so my classical horror movies taught me, before we got Sparkly Fashion Model Vampires….*mumble mumble mumble*

      • Can’t get silver bullets around here. Some masked guy called Lonnie Reinmere or Kimbo Savage or something like that bought them all.

      • Yeah, depleted uranium makes a wicked nice AP round as long as its in a sabot…

        Bet they’d be nice as flechettes…Be awful rough on the bore, tho…

    • Sure copper and all that works, until they find some reason it’s not environmentally safe. Then they have a precedence too fall back on.

  6. Lawyers in the house: NRA intervened on EPA’s side, is this one of those cases where EPA or other federal agency invites outside groups to sue them, so they can get a judge to “force” them to do what they really wanted to do all along, but perhaps didn’t have clear statutory authority to do?

    • I haven’t read the opinion yet, but as I understand it, the tree huggers sued the EPA to force them to regulate lead. Not sure if EPA “invited” the suits, but they did state they were limited by law to what they could do. NRA wrote an amicus for them, as did other groups, because it is nice when the law proscribes certain administrative action that such action is taken exactly as proscribed. . . . pure genius whomever put this restriction into the law originally.

    • Yes. This was another example of the Washington ‘Fan Dance’ where a regulatory agency uses activist groups, which file a Federal lawsuit, to extend their authority beyond statute. Kudos to NRA and SAAMI for throwing sand into the gears of this fraud.

  7. Good…just think what control of both houses of congress may bring. Not hoping for a pro 2A pres.

  8. Note that this decision specifically covers lead in fixed ammunition. Reloading components and muzzleloading bullets made from lead could stilll be in jeopardy.

    • I would think that reloading components would still be covered by the basic logic of the decision, reflected in the quote that begins: “Given that bullets and shot can become spent only if they are first contained in a cartridge or shell and then fired from a weapon,”.

      However, I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV (or the Internet), so…

    • I think it is over, assuming it doesn’t go to the Supreme Court. The EPA was the defendant here – environmental groups were trying to force them to regulate lead ammo, and they resisted (because it’s written in law that the EPA can’t regulate ammo). The EPA won this suit, and that’s a good thing for us.

  9. My question is; “Are the anti-gunners using this as just another method of making shooting more expensive?

    These idiots are disregarding the latest scientific research that says, ammunition lead is NOT the cause of much lead poisoning of wildlife.

    • The anti-gun groups have zero interest in facts or scientific study. If fact mattered WA State would not have passed a 2A infringing law.

  10. SCIENCE won over cooked stats and a concealed study? WOW the Left must be in a fetal position.

    Ray from Bloombergia
    NRA Life

  11. The lead BS argument has gone on for quite some time and is beyond ridiculous. Still, this is how the anti’s operate. Dig, lie, dig some more.

    If lead was outlawed there is no question a polymer might replace. And much to the chagrin of the anti’s possibly be more lethal than lead ever was. Except, now the new product is on the market and in the hands of the bad guys.

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