Obama Issues Lead Ammunition Ban on Last Day in Office

On their last day in power, the Obama administration instituted a new executive action banning lead ammunition from use on federal land. It’s a move that impacts hunters and recreational shooters in dozens of western states.

We’ve talked about the joys of shooting on public land, and in some states that Federal land is so prevalent that proper shooting ranges are few and far between. Americans venture out into the wilderness to enjoy their Second Amendment rights and the natural beauty of publicly owned land every single day of the year, shooting all kinds of firearms and (usually) not causing any harm to anyone else.

The latest Obama Administration executive action effectively bans all lead ammunition from federally owned land, meaning that non-lead ammo (such as copper and compressed metal projectiles) are now the only acceptable ammunition for any firearm.

The problem there (amongst others): states like California explicitly ban handgun ammunition that isn’t lead based, saying it is “armor piercing.” That sets up a nice little circular logic, the end result of which is that handguns are now effectively banned on federal land in California and similar states.

If states like California want to ban lead ammunition then they need to update their laws to remove the ridiculous “armor piercing” ammunition ban. Or don’t. I get the feeling that a court case about this issue would be very entertaining now that we’re in Trump’s America.


  1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    Fortunately, President Trump has a pen and can negate most of Obama’s lame-duck attacks on the shooting sports.

    1. avatar Noishkel says:

      There was a law bill was proposed that would all the new POTUS to retracted any EO issues in the past 60 days in one bill. Has anyone heard any motion on that?

      1. avatar Cliff H says:

        Since Executive Orders are Constitutionally authorized as a purview of the Executive Branch I do not believe the Congress has any authority over them one way or another. They could certainly pass specific legislation to defeat an EO, but they have no direct authority to prevent or change an EO so long as it remains within the presidential powers and has an administrative function within the Executive Branch.

        That said, an EO is just that – a directive by the Chief Executive as to how he expects certain Executive Branch offices and departments to be run. They are in no way time limited and like any other government function they are not permanent. It is perfectly possible for an incoming president to write new EOs to supersede those of a previous administration and possibly to revoke all or most of the EOs created within a certain time frame, or on a particular subject, or to a particular department or agency.

        Just because president Obama on January 19, 2017, wrote an executive order banning lead ammunition on federal lands doesn’t mean that President Trump on January 20, 2017 cannot rescind that EO. The ban was futile window dressing from the departing administration and no doubt it is hoped that they will be able to make political points with their (low-information) constituency by publicizing it when Trump revokes the ban.

        1. avatar Big Bill says:

          That’s how EOs are supposed to work.
          Obama was among those that used them to illegally alter actual laws, which the constitution forbids.
          For those who don’t know, he used EOs to alter the ACA and our immigration laws.

      2. avatar Ed says:

        There’s no bill or “court case” required. Trump can undo this latest piece of B.S. with a phone, a piece of paper, and a pen. That’s it. Me thinks some people here don’t understand what an EO is.

        1. avatar Journey3 says:

          we should let this play out. Until there is a real need and consumer base to purchase enough to bring down the cost, we’ll never get are laser pistols and photon blasters.

  2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    All of you virtue-signalling morons who voted for this clown, here’s your prize.

    So do you feel all better about yourselves now?

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “All of you virtue-signalling morons who voted for this clown, here’s your prize.”

      Which clown? Obama or Trump?

      Sorry … I couldn’t resist!

      Reluctant Romney/Trump Voter

      1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

        He’s referring to Obama.

        Reluctant McCain voter
        Reluctant Romney voter
        Very Enthusiastic Trump voter

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      I look at it this way, DG:

      Tungsten has a much nicer density, so a copper-plated sintered Tungsten slug sounds like just the trick…

      1. avatar Scoutino says:

        Tungsten is also very hard, so unless you use some kind of sabot say goodbye to your barrel. Not to mention price difference.

  3. avatar Joe R. says:

    If I shoot lead into my own food . . .

    FU EPA

    The Communist Ohole’s opinion no longer holds sway.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      It’s already in there anyway since a lot of spices are sourced from Communist China.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      There ain’t no food to shoot at my local BLM range, just lots of rocks. And lots of people with pistols and rifles.

  4. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Wow, what a “fuck you” move by the head dick in charge. Hopefully it goes away fast.

    1. avatar Newshawk says:

      Let me correct that for you:
      “…the head dick formerly in charge…”

  5. avatar waffensammler98 says:

    I knew this bastard wouldn’t sign that EO allowing guns in national parks without flipping us the bird on his way out the door. Good riddance. Hopefully Trump tacks this onto the list of anti-gun bullshit to negate.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    So, we cannot go into a National Forest someplace and shoot at targets if we have lead in our bullets?

    1. avatar miforest says:

      not anymore you can’t . unless trump repeals it. luckily the ” i just can’t vote for trump” crowd didn’t get herself intp office. yeah I’m lookin at you sarah .

      1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

        Every so often, I look through the comment section of TTAG’s pre-election Trump vs. Hillary articles. Just reminds me of who the pro-gun, Never-Trumpers are. The same folks who are eager to reap the pro-gun benefits of the Trump administration.


        1. avatar tiger says:

          One issue does not erase Trump’s real negatives on many others. And on guns, he is a work in progress. And never Trump never impplied pro Clinton.

      2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        I only scanned it, but the order appears to set a goal of lead-free by January 2022. So while the order is effective immediately, the function of the order is to phase out lead ammunition and fishing tackle by Jan 2022. In the meantime, keep on keeping on. I think.

      3. avatar Sarah says:

        Who is this Sarah of which you speak? 😉

        1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

          She loves tactical yoga pants, trangender bathrooms and instigating Facebook trolling from the gun grabbers. Along with posting lots of pictures of her children on the Internet.

  7. avatar Yada says:

    “I get the feeling that a court case about this issue would be very entertaining now that we’re in Trump’s America.”

    If Trump is the 2A movement’s new Lord and Savior as is so often bandied about here on TTAG by authors and commentors – then why by god would it need to get to court?

    He can EO the Obama EO away with the swipe of a pen. Same thing with Russian surplus ammo. Etc Etc Etc…

    But.. has that happened? No. Will it happen? Doubt it.

    I mean really, the grovelling at the alter of Trump here is beyond ridiculous. He doesn’t give two shits about our 2A rights. He may have paid his pound of flesh to the NRA to get their endorsement, but he is a NY republican elitist and has no concept or actual respect for the real meaning of the 2A. Stop diluting yourselves.

    AFA 2A Rights go : Trump=Christie=Giuliani

    All a bunch of anti-gunners with varying levels of in/out of the closet on the issue.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


      You may very well be right … no one knows for sure.

      We will all find out soon enough.

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      “Stop diluting yourselves.”
      I think you meant “deluding.”

      Anyway, Trump put together his Second Amendment Coalition. After he was elected. Lots of heavy hitters in that group. We really should wait and see what comes of it.

      Obama claimed to love us, but his actions showed his hatred. Trump now has the opportunity to show us where his heart is.

      1. avatar Yada says:

        Fair enough. We’ll wait and see.

        He talks about taking action and not empty words – yet he makes empty claims about building a wall and eliminating terrorists from the face of the earth – both of which are demonstrably not possible/feasible and objectively will not be able to be accomplished.

        Seems pretty empty and lacking action.

        Lots of EO’s signed already, but no words or EOs from the Trump on 2A as of yet. Beleive me, I will take all I can get and will be happy for it, but he’ll have to prove it to me – in my view, just another self obsessed loud mouth in a suit.

        The liberals got their clown in Obama, and oh boy did the conservatives one up their clown show with Trump. Ho-lee-shit.

        1. avatar rosignol says:

          Dude. It’s tuesday, on his first week in office. The guy has a hell of a lot of crap to clean up, and not everything can be Priority #1.

        2. avatar Yada says:

          Pretty sure the Bill of Rights is more important than even the TPP or building an ineffective Wall or Pipelines.

          Apparently Trump doesn’t agree. Despite the evidence to the contrary, a great amount of the 2A crowd thinks 2A rights are meaningful to Trump.

        3. avatar Guardiano says:

          What is the “evidence to the contrary?”

        4. avatar Yada says:

          @ Guardiano

          He’s signed executive orders on the TPP, The Wall, The Pipeline, etc.

          Yet, no EO’s on 2A issues.

          Therefore, he has prioritized those issues over the rights of the people.


        5. avatar Guardiano says:

          That’s not the same thing as “evidence to the contrary” that he supports the 2A. Also what EOs can he really sign that will have a significant impact on our rights? Congress needs to do most of that work. Just because Obama signed unconstitutional EOs that had sneaky impacts on our firearms rights doesn’t mean we want Trump to do the same in reverse. Yes, he needs to rescind EOs like the one that makes basement gunsmiths into arms manufacturers, and the one that stopped the ATF from issuing anymore kitchen counter FFLs, but personally I don’t want him to try to use his pen and phone to ram something through like removing SBR/SBS/suppressors from the NFA. Congress needs to do that, because that’s how the system works.

        6. avatar Yada says:

          @ Guardiano

          We’ll have to see what actually happens, as I’ve stated I think we’re deluding ourselves thinking and (often) stating that Trump will fix many and some folks believe/claim all of our 2A ails.

          There are plenty of EOs Trump can sign that are perfectly constitutional and within the power of the executive office that he could have signed but he has not. The counter to the OP subject is a perfect example. Again, the Bill of Rights is more important than a pipeline or a stupid wall that cannot be effective.

          So far, all lip service – no action. I will be the first to say I was wrong when this changes, I will be happy as can be – but it will have to proven, I don’t take anything on faith. And that’s what we have right now, a cult of faith based confidence that Trump is the 2A Lord and Savior.

          Amen and Hallelujah.

        7. avatar Lotek says:

          And what exactly were
          the other choices. I was not exactly a Trump supporter in 2015 but the more he is naysayed the more I like him. . Congress agreed to secure the border in the deal with Reagan. What cost more a 3 trillion dollar Wall Street bail out or a 20 billion dollar wall?

        8. avatar Noway says:

          @ Lotek

          Hey, I never said there was a better 2A choice on the ballot for the 2016 election. That does not mean that Trump is therefore the 2A Lord and Savior, and I am a bit annoyed by the constant ‘Trump Will Fix Everything’ attitude displayed with no good reason to believe that will actually happen. I too hope it does, but am not betting on it.

          Plenty of best choice 2A candidates had proven to be luke warm at best on 2A. George Bush 1, anyone?

          BTW – George Bush II approved the bail out budget for the bankers. That money was already there when Obama took office. An example of bipartisan raping of the american taxpayer if there ever was one.

          And a 20 billion expenditure on an ineffective wall is a waste of money, time, energy and words. It’s political showmanship at best. Regardless of what other wasteful expenditures one may compare it to. Apparently Trump thinks that’s more important than the bill of rights.

    3. avatar Ozzallos says:

      Okay, even if you believed every single word of this half empty, pessimistic diatribe, you have got to realize how much of the cabinet he assembled is pro 2A? Is family is avid shooters and he himself is licensed? It’s been a week and he’s already doing better than Obama did in eight years. Give the guy a freakin’ chance already.

      1. avatar Yada says:

        At best he’s a FUDD. At best. I doubt he even respects 2A enough for real hunters.

        My guess… anything we do get will because he feels he needs to keep the NRA/2A crowd on his side. Which I suspect will be very little actual gains. And if he doesn’t need the NRA anymore, or has his fragile ego bruised by them in some way – it will all be out the door. I don’t get any real sense of respect for the 2A from Trump, only lip service out of selfish needs.

        1. avatar Timothy says:

          Trump isn’t a traditional conservative and this was a close election. But I don’t think Trump is an ideologue, which means he’s a realist. He knows this was a close election and a big part of his win came from NRA and Pro 2A backing.

          My guess is he’ll appoint a pro 2A Supreme Court Justice which is a huge win all by itself and he’ll keep his promise to sign legislation for reciprocal carry, removal suppressors from the NFA list of restricted items, and end state gun bans. He has voluntarily and by himself brought all of these issues up since he’s sat in office. Even if that’s all he does for the 2A, it’ll be more than any president in our lifetime when you consider what Hillary would have done TO the 2A.

          Whether he will EO to counter Obama’s EOs or wait for Congress to provide him cover by doing the leg work and sending bills to him is yet to be seen. But I can guarantee you one thing beyond all shadow of a doubt. Even if Trump is neutral to the 2A and using campaign promises to appeal to a voting base or not…. the man is infinitely better for the 2A than the other option.

        2. avatar Guardiano says:


          Some of you guys are such got dam pessimists. At least wait until the first 100 days are up. You’re just as bad as all the leftist morons I saw already believing he’s gonna “put them in camps” when I was working security positions at the inauguration with my PA Guard company.

        3. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

          Yada, you whine and complain throughout your first piece of ass as well?

        4. avatar Yada says:

          @The Gray Poseur


          Unrelated, tell your mother hello.

        5. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

          Oh snap, Yada. You pick that up during the “pussy” march Saturday?

          The whining by the Liberals and Never Trumpers is really getting old. Trump could restore/transform this country to literal perfection and you whiners still wouldn’t shut up.

    4. avatar Darenger says:

      Relax. Day one was drain the swamp day, day two was jobs day, day three will be immigration day. Gun day is coming!

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Who has the Bat phone that rings Eric and Don Trump Jr.? We need them to push President Trump to fix this now.

    More relevant: President Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition should be directing President Trump to immediately (as in this week) sign an executive order which rescinds Obama’s executive order that banned lead bullets.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Who has the Bat phone that rings Eric and Don Trump Jr.?”

      Boch. Mr. John Boch…

  9. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    This little bill really pissed me off.

  10. avatar LJM says:

    I’m hoping Donald removes the lead ammo ban on waterfowl hunting as well. Too long we’ve been stuck with that bad piece of regulation.

  11. avatar LHW says:

    Hopefully President Trump will kill this with his new executive orders.

  12. avatar FlamencoD says:

    Did I read the order write, that the goal is to implement this entirely by Jan. 2022? If so, that should be plenty of time for Trump to negate it.

  13. avatar CTstooge says:

    This was a parting gift from outgoing US Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, the sneaky commie bastard.

  14. avatar mike says:

    this along with the hundreds of millions of dollars obummer gave to terrorists and global warming groups in his last week should all be pulled back.

  15. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    When was it, exactly, that we gave our President the authority to just create laws all by himself? Because that wasn’t what they taught me in high school Government class.

    As soon at Trump issues enough executive orders to nullify any previous POTUS executive orders he damned well pleases, at that point this $h!t needs to stop.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Amending slightly my comment posted above, I refer to Wikipedia:

      “There is no constitutional provision nor statute that explicitly permits executive orders. The term executive power in Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 of the Constitution refers to the office of President as the executive. They are instructed therein by the declaration “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” made in Article II, Section 3, Clause 5 or face impeachment. Most executive orders use these Constitutional reasonings as the authorization allowing for their issuance to be justified as part of the President’s sworn duties, the intent being to help direct officers of the U.S. Executive carry out their delegated duties as well as the normal operations of the federal government: the consequence of failing to comply possibly being removal from office.
      An executive order of the president must find support in the Constitution, either in a clause granting the president specific power, or by a delegation of power by Congress to the president.”


  16. avatar Chadwick says:

    This looks like for a good “I WILL NOT COMPLY” message.

    Oh I didn’t know this was fed land… I thought I was in Utah. No lead here Mr. BLM rentacop, I just see brass and copper colored stuff on the outside so prove me wrong.

  17. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Off topic, but a Whitehouse petition was recently started to repeal the nfa and Hughes amendment. I know it’s a completely empty gesture but signing it takes 10 seconds and might get some media exposure on the topic.

    1. avatar Chadwick says:

      I emailed the link to Farago days ago hoping that he might post it here to gain support. No dice I suppose.

  18. avatar Simon says:

    I wonder how enforcement of said order would work? I predict nothing will change.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      Doubt that. The HPA (Hearing Protection Act) had thousands of signatures, on change.org. didn’t matter to the lamestream at all.

  19. avatar Ozzallos says:

    Is there anybody else who just shrugged when they read this and planned to go about their daily lives as if it didn’t exist?

    1. avatar YAR0892 says:

      Yep. Me.

    2. avatar Rick says:

      Me too. Fuck him and his EO.

  20. avatar phageghost says:

    Well that’s nice of the Obomber to leave a turd in the linen closet before checking out. Wasn’t man enough to do it to our faces, I guess. What a putz.

  21. avatar Boba Fett says:

    Obama knows this is going to be scrapped tout suite. This is nothing more than a middle finger to the gun community.

  22. avatar Bitchnuts says:

    My lead ammunition isn’t for use on federal lands. Its for use on federal asses (the asses of politicians and officials that violate their oaths to uphold the constitution).

  23. avatar bcb says:

    Nigh unenforceable anyway,

  24. avatar New Chris says:

    What a petty little man Obama turned out to be. This is just childish foot stamping.

  25. avatar CalGunsMD says:

    So how does this affect my ability to shoot 7n6 through a rifle (AK 74) on BLM land? (in CA?)

  26. avatar ButtHurtz says:

    I want to see any governmental employee enforce this.

    In my area, they’ll be shot.

  27. avatar Bob in IN says:

    lead based out. Depleted uranium in?

    OBAMMA out. Sanity In.

  28. avatar Anonymous says:

    It’s an “executive action” – so Donald Jr. can whisper in Donald Sr. ear and it will be undone.

    Copper is expensive and soon becoming a precious metal. Lead is plentiful cheap garbage. What better to shoot out of a gun? Let the free market decide.

  29. avatar Dave says:

    We need to petition Trump to overturn this!

    That being said, I’m so glad Obummer is finally out.

  30. avatar Mark N. says:

    This is California’s definition of “armor piercing handgun ammunition”:

    § 16660. Handgun ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor defined
    As used in this part, “handgun ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor” means any ammunition, except a shotgun shell or ammunition primarily designed for use in a rifle, that is designed primarily to penetrate a body vest or body shield, and has either of the following characteristics:
    (a) Has projectile or projectile core constructed entirely, excluding the presence of traces of other substances, from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium, or any equivalent material of similar density or hardness.
    (b) Is primarily manufactured or designed, by virtue of its shape, cross-sectional density, or any coating applied thereto, including, but not limited to, ammunition commonly known as “KTW ammunition,” to breach or penetrate a body vest or body shield when fired from a pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person.

    Cal. Penal Code § 16660 (West)
    Solid copper rounds such as those produced by Underwood with Lehigh bullets are perfectly legal for both rifles and handguns. “Beryllium copper” is not used in making these bullets.

  31. avatar Leadslinger says:

    Give Trump a chance to get his cabinet approved before he makes these changes. No need to give the opposition any ammunition.

  32. avatar Ian says:

    Would this include military bases that open up land for hunting?

  33. avatar Ken says:

    Oh, hummmm. I just can’t get excited. Order reversed, many loopholes, new bullets, the reasons this doesn’t get me cranked up are too many. I’ve got thousands of lead bullets still eager to be loaded… This “order” too, shall pass..

  34. avatar Fred Frendly says:

    Clickbait hysteria. This will probably be reversed, but it only applies to fed lands that already had banned lead shot. Does NOT apply to private property as the hysterical headline suggests.

  35. avatar al says:

    although I hate Obama and I don’t like anybody to meddle in gun rights.the led shot does poison a lot of birds of prey and other scavengeers,not always but if the led is left in the carcass it can absorb into the meat and over time scavengers can die from high levels of led.it comes down to responsible hunting and making sure you track what you wound or alternative forms of shot like plastic coated led shot or other medium.its a matter of responsible hunting not drunk hunting.if you truly love hu ting you will adapt to good changes like this.although it was a jab at gun rights there are loopholes so don’t over react.its a good thing if you ask me the led will go all the way down the food chain even in the maggots in the carcass which are eaten by other animals and so on and so forth.usually ending up in the gound water.

    1. avatar Ken Millard says:

      “led” is a verb. Pb element abbrev. has an “a”, too.
      OK, now on to comment. I don’t hate Obama, voted twice for him over the usual ruling rich. By the way, he did little, in 8 years, to significantly change guns in America. The firearms industry readily admits, no president did more to SELL firearms! I didn’t like many of his positions, but hate? NO!
      Life NRA member, instructor, and veteran, I still saw some good him. By the way, just the statistics bear out the lead ban was of little help for our wildlife. Waterfowl were already addressed, and just the very numbers of hunters are low. Things like poison lakes and streams from mining are much more devastating…And other issues.

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