Your lead ammunition is safe for now. The Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday that it did not have the authority to enact a petition that called for a ban on all lead ammunition used for hunting.

“This is a tremendous victory for all sportsmen, hunters and gun-owners. As the trade association for America’s firearms and ammunition industry, NSSF is thankful to the tens of thousands who answered our call to action and made their voices heard. Today’s victory belongs to them,” said National Shooting Sports Foundation President Stephen Sanetti.

The petition was brought earlier this month by an alliance of environmentalist groups that say millions of animals are dying from eating lead-shot or carcasses contaminated by lead, according to the Associated Press. The environmentalist groups include the American Bird Conservancy, Association of Avian Veterinarians, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Center for Biological Diversity and Project Gutpile.

While the EPA’s decision was no doubt a win for hunters and shooters, unfortunately it’s not the end of the story. In a letter, the EPA said it “reached this decision because the agency does not have the legal authority to regulate this type of product under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – nor is the agency seeking such authority.” The EPA is still reviewing a petition to ban lead fishing sinkers.

This is not exactly a glowing endorsement for lead ammunition by the EPA. The agency basically passed the buck on this decision, never saying that lead ammunition was safe or unsafe. This will be an important issue for hunters and shooters to look out for in the future.

Read the Letter from the EPA here.

Photo: Federal