September 25, 2009 at 09:50 AM EDT
Firearms Industry Applauds Senators' Initiative in Fight to Preserve Use of Traditional Ammunition in National Parks

NEWTOWN, Conn., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A letter signed by numerous United States senators to Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar raising important questions about actions by the National Park Service (NPS) to ban the use of traditional ammunition in parks that allow hunting has drawn praise from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry.

In the letter to Secretary Salazar, 13 senators detailed their concerns about the impact a ban on traditional ammunition would have on hunters, the economy and wildlife populations.

"At this time, the motives behind NPS actions addressing lead issues are very unclear. Especially in these difficult economic times, this action will discourage people from hunting and fishing and decrease revenue into the Pittman-Robertson fund that funds state conservation efforts," read the letter.

The NPS 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."

"The move by members of the United States Senate to step in and raise concerns about the NPS making any unilateral actions concerning traditional ammunition is welcomed by conservation and sportsmen's groups throughout the country and the entire 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 clearly stated in communications to the NPS 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.

While no scientific evidence supports further restricting the use of traditional ammunition containing lead components, the firearms industry believes that establishing voluntary measures is a more prudent step than banning traditional ammunition, a drastic policy decision unsupported by science. NPS has raised concerns that lead bullet fragments found in game meat could cause lead poisoning in humans, a charge not borne out in scientific studies, including a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

In concluding their letter to Secretary Salazar, the senators were very clear as to what they wanted to see: "We request that NPS cease all actions to prohibit the use of lead products on NPS lands by private citizens and NPS personnel."

Signatories on the letter include:

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Sen. James E. Risch(R-ID)

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-MS)

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)

Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)

Sen. Robert F. Bennett(R-UT)

Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)

About NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of approximately 5,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

SOURCE National Shooting Sports Foundation

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