Lead Ammunition

I need my gun so I can shoot people who cut me off on the 405. Wait. Did I say that out loud? No, no. I need my gun so I can shoot animals who’ve done nothing to me.

And, I need to be protected by law to choose any toxic substance I want to shoot those animals with. Because animals on public lands are there for hunters to enjoy killing, not for those environazis who believe animals have a purpose beyond benefiting humans. The world and all its creatures were created specifically for me to kill, even if most of those creatures existed millions of years before humans.

So I’m really trying hard to understand this National Rifle Association (NRA) religion where their god has somehow extended the Ten Commandments to include the Second Amendment which they claim excludes gun rights from any kind of government intervention.

Right now the NRA cult and its see-no-evil, hear-no-evil followers are actually fighting against a ban on toxic lead in hunting ammunition and fishing tackle because they see it as an attack on their right to cheap ammo. As one commenter put it in a Washington Times editorial on the subject “prove that the benefit of these creatures remaining alive is greater than higher priced ammunition.”

Unfortunately these hunters are thinking only of their right to hunt, and not the rest of the population’s right to also enjoy “these creatures” in the way they choose. Not to mention the fact that we know lead is an extremely toxic substance that we’ve banned from water pipes and paint, and may leach into the soil or water and present a danger to humans.

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“At least 75 wild bird species in the United States are poisoned by spent lead ammunition, including bald eagles, golden eagles, ravens and endangered California condors,” the Center for Biological Diversity reports. “Thousands of cranes, ducks, swans, loons, geese and other waterfowl ingest spent lead shot or lead fishing sinkers lost in lakes and rivers each year, often with deadly consequences.”

The center asserts that at least 20 million birds and other animals who were not the intended targets of the 3,000 tons of lead ammo that is shot and left in the environment each year die painful deaths from toxic lead poisoning. Another 80,000 tons of lead are released at shooting ranges, and 4,000 more into lakes and streams as lost fishing equipment. Birds and fish mistake the lead for food, and many more animals are poisoned when they feed on carrion killed with lead ammo.

Perhaps the most tragic aspect to this struggle is the story of the California condor. In the early ’80s the only nine wild birds left were captured for an expensive breeding program. By 2011, 205 birds were living free in the wild thanks to the program. But experts say that as long as lead continues to poison their environment, they will never fully recover. At least 30 reintroduced condors are known to have died from lead poisoning.

Why is a hunter’s right to cheap, toxic ammunition any more sacred than the right of other citizens to live in a world filled with the diversity of life nature intended? Why are we not screaming for our rights like the hunters are? They claim the constitution does not protect animals, while the second amendment protects them. But even they can agree that their rights stop where mine begin. And I have a right to pursue my happiness, which entails enjoying nature alive, and protecting my investments – namely, the California condor re-introduction program.

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All this talk about how many animals are killed from their bullets is a moot point to most hunters (I say most because there actually are hunters left out there who do understand the benefit to themselves in preserving nature – even the things they aren’t killing – and support the lead ban). To most hunters though, bullets and fishing tackle are meant to kill. Of course bullets are toxic, that’s the point.

In response to petitions from more than 150 environmental, Native American and even some hunting groups to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of lead in hunting ammo and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the NRA and its lobby has introduced a bill to exempt toxic lead in ammunition and fishing equipment from regulation under the very same act.

The bill, called the “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act,” which also includes things like allowing hunters to import polar bear corpses hunted legally in Canada, has already been passed by the House of Representatives and is now on its way to the Senate.

Among other things, this act would make it illegal for the EPA to regulate ammunition and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Why? Lead is toxic, no matter what mechanism it comes in. I guess those liberal executives edited out “Thou shalt not inconvenience hunters” from the TV version of Moses I watched the other night.

The hunting lobby is loud and angry. Why aren’t we that loud and angry about our rights? Oh, right. They all have guns… and they’re angry.

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Email your senator and tell them your rights matter too: STOP the NRA’s lead-poisoning legislation

Sources and further reading
Tina is a journalist and mother of three who's lived all her life in the South Bay of Los Angeles except for a two-year stint in the heart of Spain. She believes humans have the capacity to make this a beautiful world for all species to live, and mothers have a special charge to raise their children to enjoy, love and respect all creatures.

24 COMMENTS

  1. In my opinion, Tina’s article is merely yet another attack on the Judea-Christian values that so many people hold to in this country. The endgame of those driving Tina’s rant has nothing to do with the environment, but rather has to do with controlling every man, woman, and child on this planet by some type of government entity.

    Tina, if you believe it is okay that you have to asked the government for permission to cut down a tree, on your PRIVATE PROPERTY, in order to add a room to your house so as to facilitate the enlargement of your family, then I doubt any words I can place here will benefit you directly, but I will at least try to get you to utilize reason on these issues.

    However, when it comes to constitutionally illegal governmental intrusions into the daily lives of Americans, all I can say is that enough is enough. The agenda of the so called “green movement” is not about saving this planet. Too bad the “useful idiots,” like the writer of this article, are driven purely by emotional tendencies and not able to use logic and reason when it comes to unlawful edicts being forced upon us by our elected officials.

    REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!!! Get all those gun grabbing socialists out of public office!

    Lastly, Tina, are you aware that our country’s attorney general, mr. eric h. holder, jr., sent both lead ammunition and steel guns down to Mexico not too long ago? Do you know what happened Tina? One of our own united States border patrol agents, Brian Terry, was murdered on US soil by one of the very same guns that eric h. holder jr. sent to Mexico. Tina, where is the strong opposition to holder’s actions? Why no tears from you for Brian Terry? You might want to start prioritizing what’s really important this election year.

    Have a good day!

    • I think I might take up hunting just to annoy you.

      I hate to tell you this, but “most hunters” are far more conservationists than indiscriminate slaughterers… and they probably know more about the science of lead in the environment than you.

      Funny thing; it’s been studied, repeatedly, and they keep being unable to show it to cause any harm to the general environment.

      (No surprise to archaeologists or historians, who know that lead artifacts from the Roman era are commonly found in excellent condition, or that bullets buried in soil for over 130 years from the Civil War are dug up “like new” often enough, except for a thin oxide coating… the same coating that keeps them from damaging the environment!)

      Now, where lead can cause some harm* is if something eats it, which is why lead shot for waterfowl hunting is banned – and has been for decades – and it turns out hunters are fine with that, seeing as how they really are mostly conservationists at heart.

      (* Ironically, you mostly gloss over that to go straight to a general environmental claim about “poisoning people” and the like, which the science roundly does not support. Odd, since if you’d stuck to the condors and ravens, you’d have sound scientific backing for at least a demonstrable harm!)

      Of course they (let alone shooters in general) distrust “the environmentalists” – look at your first sentence and you’ll see why.

      It’s clear that you have issues with them that are psychological and entirely in your head, well beyond any factual problems that shooting might create with wildlife… and that’s why they think you really do want to disarm them and end hunting, rather than just stop lead shot in certain contexts where it might hurt an endangered Condor – and why it’s perfectly reasonable for them, as a heuristic, to simply ignore everything you say.

      Someone with biases like that can’t be trusted to argue honestly, so you’re only preaching to the choir.

      (As an aside, there’s no right to “live in a world filled with the diversity of life nature intended”, both because nature isn’t something that has intents, and because even if we pretend it is, we’re left with two options: Either that means “without anything humans did” in which case it’s already far too late by thousands of years, or it includes “anything humans do”, in which case it’s a right that’ll be impossible to violate.

      Empty rhetoric at best, and at worst utter foolish blindness without any historical knowledge.

      Sounds good to hippies, I guess?)

  2. […] “I need my gun so I can shoot people who cut me off on the 405. Wait. Did I say that out loud? No, no. I need my gun so I can shoot animals who’ve done nothing to me. And, I need to be protected by law to choose any toxic substance I want to shoot those animals with. Because animals on public lands are there for hunters to enjoy killing, not for those environazis who believe animals have a purpose beyond benefiting humans. The world and all its creatures were created specifically for me to kill, even if most of those creatures existed millions of years before humans.” – Tina Page […]

  3. Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    -— C.S. Lewis

    • Hear, hear.

      If you don’t like hunting, don’t hunt.

      If you don’t like lead in the environment, first get all the electric cars, like the Prius, off the road. Those batteries use lead. Then stop deploying all those solar panels and wind farms. Solar panels use highly toxic heavy metals, as do the wind turbine motors. All of those materials must be mined, refined, transported, and when the battery pack/solar panel/motor reach end-of-life, disposed of in some manner. Hopefully they will be recycled along with the lead shot from ranges and hunting grounds.

  4. Logical fallacies? Check. Strawman arguments? Check. Ad hominem attacks? Check. Inflamatory rhetoric? Check. All according to script.

  5. Hi Tina,

    I must admit that I agree with the posters above me. I’ll try my best to be constructive.

    I realize from browsing these articles that there the regular contributors have filled specific niches in Greener Ideal. Just like every newspaper, there’s the interest column, which is with Susmita; hers are quick, informative, and pertain to casual readers’ interest (I mean, who doesn’t love penguins and handbags?). Jerico is more the political writer; he takes synthesizes political events with broader ideas, and then adds in his opinion at the end for closure. I have to hand it to him though – I like how his opinions mesh well with the subject matter and how neutral he is even when dishing out his two cents. He wants the reader to make their own decisions when it comes to the articles, which is what traditional journalism vies for (and which I am a supporter of).

    Then there’s you, Tina. The strong-willed opinion writer. Your voice shines right through your article-writing, and it makes for a refreshing read. Unlike Jerico, you really want to get your voice heard and convince people to think similarly. However, the danger of such personal opinion writing is that it’s quick to make quick leaps in logic that others don’t follow. Readers get lost or, worse-yet, they believe that you’re the one being ignorant. As well, it’s easy to make a piece too strong and too opinionated. It then verges on muckraking sensationalism, which doesn’t really match the theme of Greener Ideal.

    Just my two cents: outline your arguments a bit more, make sure they’re well-reasoned, and lay back on the “inflamatory rhetoric”, as F. Minh has said above.

  6. Let me get this straight…

    The Army has abandoned “green projectiles” because the test wells of their live fire facilities have shown signs of increased “heavy metal deposits”, yet lead, which was used in pipes for centuries, doesn’t leach, and has been used as safe projectiles for centuries is now a problem?

    Not buying it. Just another tyranny of good intentions.

  7. Lead is a natural metal that is scooped up from Gaia and around which we and the animals already live.
    If we were shooting bullets made of tree leaves, they would still want to ban them.
    We don’t use lead because it’s cheap, but because it’s heavy. Do you want us to use gold?
    Most all rifle bullets have their lead encased in copper….

    Owls, coyote & bobcats all eat cute bunnies and other innocent creatures. Often via a tortuous death. Should we exterminate all predatory animals? Oops, squirrels and prairie dogs gladly eat each others’ babies or wounded compadres. Yikes!!! We need re-education camps for them all.

    Hunters contribute to and participate in over 90% of all ACTUAL conservation of animals. These other groups just use their money for lobbying and advertising and fat salaries. We physically go out and reclaim lands, plant trees and crops, pay for animal studies, etc. The entire budgets of most fish and game, forestry, etc agencies come from hunting license fees and ammo fees.

    On my side, love of nature, compassion and real facts.
    On her side, just hate.

  8. How stupid are liberals, lets put it this way, most of them think lead is man made in a factory. My niece didn’t believe me when I told her its been mined from the earth for 2000 yrs. Then she tried to tell me that the Romans invented it by combining dangerous metals…..you can’t argue with stupid.

  9. The only places where a scientifically verifiable risk of harm to wildlife from lead has been shown already have bans on the use of lead.

    Lead shot has been banned for use hunting waterfowl for many decades. There were science based studies that showed the path between lead shot and uptake to ultimate predators such as eagles and hawks. That’s addressed. The risk to condors has been addressed by a ban on the use of lead bullets for hunting mammals in the condor’s range in California.

    The rest of the claims in the article are simply false. There has been a lot of study of the lead exposure from game animals, and again science based studies show no risk. Humans are exposed to lead in lead-based paint primarily. That’s it.

  10. I suggest the writer of this ill researched missive looks into which group has done more to conserve, reintroduce & increase the wildlife in the US.
    It’s the same group that pays a tax on goods they purchase solely to finance the conservation of wildlife – many tens of millions of $ every year.
    It isn’t the Sierra Club dearie; it’s hunters, shooters & fishermen.

  11. WAH! Friggin’ WAH!

    Listen, you green jerk. Just go away. We consider attacks on our time-honored traditions, our values, our heritage as acts of war. You and your ilk are leftist insurgents, trying to undermine a nation built upon individual liberty. Our nation. OUR nation.

    We don’t cotton to that, boy. Not At t’all.

    So, before it gets really ugly, move someplace where you are a saint, ’cause here you’re a dogpile.

  12. Do yourself a favor and google Pittman-Robertson, the fount of most of the conservation dollars in the United States. Funded by hunters and fishermen. Without those dollars, the conservation efforts of most states and the FedGov would dry up. Gone, vanished, paid for by hunters and folks who buy guns, ammo, and hunting gear. The big lesson here is that the hunters have funded the public lands for years. We pay for it, we use it, we spend time and money on things like habitat and breeding grounds. Google Ducks Unlimited, or Rocky Mountain Elk foundation and see the work we do in the wilderness for all to enjoy. I personally, and millions like me, pay big dollars each year so that we can hunt for a couple of months. The rest of the year, we let the hippies use our land so that they can talk bad about us. We pay for it and you use it. How very kind of you to pay your share.

    Lead comes from the ground and I simply return it there, one bullet at a time. I also recycle lots of it, melting old lead scrap to make new bullets.

  13. I see all the little hunters are posting here. You hunters make me sick. You act like you alone are funding all the conservation efforts here in America. Basically, you are paying to kill an innocent animal which hasn’t done a thing to you. I hunt with a camera and I leave animals as I found them. You should try it some time. But, I think you hunters get off (and you know what I mean there) by killing innnocent animals. Forget getting lead out of ammo, let’s get hunting out of America. I know I’m dreaming since the NRA is too powerful but I would definitely take up hunting if I could hunt the hunters.

    • “I know I’m dreaming since the NRA is too powerful but I would definitely take up hunting if I could hunt the hunters.”

      Your innate violence is most revealing.

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