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NSSF Denounces USFWS Settlement Proposal to Ban Traditional Ammo that Saddles Lawyer Fees on Taxpayers

Charlie T Waite

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NEWTOWN, Conn. — NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, denounces a joint motion for a continuance in Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (CBD v. USFWS) that seeks to ban the use of traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Both parties filed for a joint motion to stay proceedings until Nov. 2, but that settlement agreement now includes taxpayers paying the bill for legal and court costs. This settlement proposal is a textbook example of the “sue and settle” schemes brought by activist lawyers and agreed to by government bureaucrats to enact policies that cannot survive the lawmaking or rule making process while enriching special-interest groups at taxpayer expense.

“The notion that federal agencies would work hand-in-glove with anti-hunting activists to thwart hunting on National Wildlife Refuges is maddening enough. The proposal that taxpayer dollars will be used to line the pockets of these activist groups should be infuriating to all,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This is an egregious abuse of the courts and adds insult to injury to actual hunter-conservationists that fund and support those that actually fund wildlife conservation.”

The lawsuit seeks to expand the USFWS’s recent ban on the use of traditional ammunition that was finalized without a shred of scientific evidence. Instead, it was predicated on the theoretical possibility of detrimental population effects. It is obvious that wildlife populations are vibrant and healthy, a result of nearly a century’s worth of excise taxes paid for wildlife conservation. The firearm and ammunition industry has paid over $15.3 billion since 1937 – or over $23 billion when adjusted for inflation – that has made the North American Wildlife Conservation Model the envy of the world.

This lawsuit threatens the foundation of that model by banning the use of traditional ammunition without scientific evidence of detrimental population impacts. The plaintiffs, in a scheme the USFWS is going along with, would eliminate the use of traditional lead ammunition and force hunters to use alternative ammunition that is 3-5 times more expensive. That move would result in a rapid decline in hunting and fishing, which would hollow-out the revenue sources for wildlife conservation.

NSSF strongly supports bicameral legislative proposals that would mandate policies on the use of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle be based on sound scientific evidence. U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced S. 4940 and U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced H.R. 9088, legislation that would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from prohibiting the use of lead ammunition or tackle on certain Federal land or water under their jurisdiction without scientific evidence of harm to wildlife populations.

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