About a year and a half ago, we wrote a story about the closing of the Doe Run lead smelting facility, the last primary lead smelter in the U.S. and whether this was a “backdoor effort” to control guns. After all, no lead means no ammunition, which means your gun becomes about as lethal as a ball-peen hammer.
Naturally, we were roundly attacked by leftists who said that was ridiculous, because most ammunition comes from secondary lead, and there’s still plenty of that around.
Unless of course lead is banned.
On a related theme, we wrote yesterday about how the FCC and FEC are preparing a noose to tighten around our First Amendment rights.
Now we find out the EPA and FTA may be doing the same on the Second.
Writing for the National Review, Kevin Williamson provides a detailed explanation of how that might occur.
It all starts in 1986, when “Congress revised the Gun Control Act, inserting prohibitions against the manufacture and import of “armor-piercing ammunition.” Armor-piercing ammunition does not mean ammunition designed to defeat body armor — that would be too simple. It means, most broadly, ammunition that could defeat the soft body armor of the sort that was cutting edge in the 1980s.”
This ammunition was made of certain materials (tungsten alloys, steel, etc.) that could also be fired from a handgun.
The aim (pun intended) was to ban ammunition for the much-maligned AR-15 (mainly the .223 caliber) to therefore control the AR-15. However, the ATF provided exemptions for “single shot handguns” (which can accept certain rifle cartridges) and certain other “sporting exemptions.”
At the same time, environmentally-minded hunters and manufacturers have been looking for alternatives to lead-based bullets because they can poison animals who may ingest them – such as the California Condor. Williamson writes, “these non-lead bullets made of steel or alloys are not designed to pierce body armor; they’re designed to keep unnecessary lead out of the environment and out of the alimentary canals of wild animals. But their composition means that they can be classified as armor-piercing rounds, if the feds can find an excuse to do so.”
And they can.
You see, many people prefer a short-barreled rifle for home defense, and are using the AR-15 for that purpose. But they get around additional taxation and required permits for short-barreled rifles by removing the shoulder stock. Voila! It’s a multi-shot handgun. But that’s also verboten.
So the ATF is intending to revoke the sporting exemption for certain kinds of non-lead .223 ammunition, allowing it to be classified as armor-piercing.
Does that mean everyone can just go back to using lead ammo? Nope!
Williamson says “environmental groups have been pressuring the EPA to begin regulating — or to ban outright — lead ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. They lost their most recent round when the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA lacks statutory authority to regulate lead ammunition, but when has statutory authority stopped the Obama administration? The FCC has no statutory authority to enact net-neutrality rules — that’s why it has reached back to a 1930s, New Deal–era law for justification. You can be sure that the campaign to use the EPA or other federal agencies to ban lead ammunition is far from over. The U.S. Humane Society already is petitioning the Interior Department to ban lead ammunition on public lands.”
So there you are. The ATF will ban non-lead ammunition as “armor-piercing” and a threat to police officers, and the EPA will ban lead ammunition as a toxin.
Better stock up folks (like you haven’t been already).