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A letter signed by members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Second Amendment Task Force raising important questions about the National Park Service's intent to ban the use of traditional ammunition in parks that allow hunting has been sent to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The letter, which follows a similar message sent to Salazar by U.S. senators last week, was applauded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry.
A bipartisan working group dedicated to defending the Second Amendment rights of American citizens, the task force wrote that “the rationale for such a ban is not based on sound scientific analysis and it would greatly restrict the ability of sportsmen to engage in hunting and fishing activities in the national parks that permit those activities.”
The National Park Service continues to pursue a ban on traditional ammunition that it announced earlier in the year would apply to park personnel involved with culling sick and wounded animals, and indicated it would consider widening the ban to all hunters. The firearms industry, sportsmen's groups and multiple conservation organizations criticized the ban in a press release, calling it "arbitrary, over-reactive and not based on science."
Last week in a letter to Salazar, 13 United States senators detailed their concerns about the impact a ban on traditional ammunition would have on hunters, the economy and wildlife populations.
"This action by the House Second Amendment Task Force, in conjunction with the senators' letter, focuses attention on the National Park Service taking unilateral actions concerning traditional ammunition and is welcomed by conservation and sportsmen's groups and the firearms industry,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “This process needs to be as transparent as possible, and Congress' involvement will help to ensure that this is the case.”
The NSSF has stated in communications to the park service that any decision made about federal lands with regard to ammunition products be based on thorough scientific study of wildlife population impacts. Currently, no scientific evidence indicates that wildlife populations are being negatively impacted by hunters utilizing traditional ammunition that contains lead components.
The task force's letter adds, “we are unaware of conclusive evidence that ingestion of lead fishing tackle or ammunition threatens fish and wildlife species at the population level.”
The House Second Amendment Task Force's letter, signed by co-chairmen Paul C. Broun, M.D (R-Ga.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.) and nine other U.S. representatives, encouraged Salazar to “work closely with groups that represent hunters and anglers to develop a transparent scientific process to examine the impact of lead hunting and fishing products.”