New guns, firearm legislation or shooting competitions usually dominate the news, but lately ammo’s been leading the pack. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s withdrawal of Director’s Order 219 has led the charge the past several weeks, because the measure would have banned the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on national wildlife refuges.
“This was a reckless, unilateral overreach that would have devastated the sportsmen’s community,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The Obama administration failed to consult with state fish and wildlife agencies or national angling and hunting organizations in issuing this order. This was not a decision based on sound scientific evidence—it was a last second attack on traditional ammunition and our hunting heritage.”
“I would like to thank Secretary Zinke for taking these important steps to soundly affirm his interest in working cooperatively with the conservation community,” said Nick Wiley, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “He has done a great service to our hunters and anglers, the firearms and angling industries and the public trust by issuing these Orders.”
“Secretary Zinke proved on day one his commitment to greater recreation access on our public lands with his actions and comments,” Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition told reporters. “This nation has led the world on parks and conservation matters for well over 100 years. And we are excited that the nation’s new Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has the passion, the vision and the energy to continue this leadership from this important post.”
The original directive was signed by then U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe on Jan. 19, the final day of the Obama Administration. “This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics,” Lawrence Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel explained in a press release issued that day. “The timing alone is suspect. This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this, and instead create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”
Zinke, a former congressman from Montana, indicated rescinding the order was about a lot more than just ammo and sinkers. “It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite,” he said in a statement. “This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard.”