Court Challenge Led by NSSF Derails Attempt to Ban 'Traditional' Ammo

The U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., on May 23 dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity demanding the Environmental Protection Agency ban the ammunition used by 95 percent of the nation's target shooters, hunters and law enforcement.

The court agreed with a challenge filed last August by the National Shooting Sports Foundation that the EPA does not have the authority to regulate "traditional" ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The CBD and six other groups had sued the EPA, demanding that "traditional" ammunition be banned under the Toxic Substances Control Act because it contains lead components.

According to the NSSF, if the lawsuit was successful, it would have banned the staple ammunition used in 95 percent of the U.S. market with more than 10 billion rounds sold annually.

The NSSF was joined by the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, and the Association of Battery Recyclers in challenging the suit. Signing onto CBD's lawsuit were the Cascades Raptor Center of Oregon, the Loon Lake Loon Association of Washington, Preserve Our Wildlife of Florida, Tennessee Ornithological Society, Trumpeter Swan Society and Western Nebraska Resources Council.

The EPA had already twice denied CBD attempts to legally coerce the agency into banning traditional ammunition, including a previous attempt in the D.C. District Court.

"We are gratified that the court has found this second frivolous lawsuit, which is essentially the same as the one dismissed last year, was equally without merit," NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane said. "This was a waste of taxpayers' dollars and EPA resources spent in having to defend a baseless lawsuit."

Banning "traditional" ammunition would cost tens of thousands of jobs in America and destroy wildlife conservation paid for in part by an 11- percent excise tax on the sale of ammunition, Keane said.

"Yesterday's dismissal of a ... ban on ammunition containing 'lead components' is a quiet, but major, victory for ammunition manufacturers, the firearms industry, hunters and recreational shooters, and in particular, home reloaders," writes Gun Examiner Dave Workman in a May 24 blog. "Banning ammunition with lead is a thinly disguised form of gun control."