The goal of a proposed federal rule to ban lead ammunition from national wildlife refuges has nothing to do with protecting wildlife, Second Amendment advocates say.
“It is not based on science. I believe this is designed to drive up ammunition costs to discourage hunting,” Mark Jones, national director for hunter outreach for Gun Owners of America and a wildlife biologist with 30 years of experience, told The Epoch Times.
“I believe that’s the goal of many people.”
Mr. Jones said much of the data presented comes from studies of the California Condor. According to the FWS, citing a U.S. Department of the Interior report (pdf), between 1990 and 2020, approximately half of the 213 condors that died from a known cause were killed by lead poisoning. But he said that the California Condor isn’t typical of the animals found in a NWR.
“Condors are getting access to lead from sources other than ammunition,” he said.
NSSF officials agree with Mr. Jones’s assessment.
Mr. Jones said that, in time, it became clear that was the case.
He said that, unlike raptors, ducks must ingest gravel so that their gizzards can grind up their food. According to Mr. Jones, the waterfowl would scoop up residual lead shot from the soil where hunters had been shooting.
Other animals don’t need to swallow gravel, so they won’t likely ingest lead in this way.
“A deer isn’t going to paw the ground and dig up spent slugs and swallow them,” Mr. Jones said. “Those are two very, very different situations.”
Mr. Jones said that the public’s position on the rule should be clear by GOA’s calculations. He noted that FWS had received 18,564 comments by the deadline. According to GOA records, 17,608 were from GOA members and supporters opposed to the rule.
“We know that at least 95 percent are opposed,” Mr. Jones said.