Activists Shoot Themselves in the Foot Over Ammo Ban

By Larry Keane

Wild Boar iStock-626339494
Sometimes the best thing to do when activists attack is to let their arguments fall under their own weight. IMG iStock-626339494

U.S.A. -( Sometimes the best thing to do when activists attack is to let their arguments fall under their own weight. That’s what happened when Environmental Health News (EHN) published a series on traditional ammunition.

The activist news service that describes itself as, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to driving science into public discussion and policy on environmental health issues, including climate change,” attempted to smear NSSF by accusing the firearm and ammunition industry’s trade association of being “science deniers,” copycatting “Big Tobacco” to sell traditional ammunition and completely misrepresenting hunting’s role in wildlife management. This is now a standard tactic of the political “Left.” Attack anyone who challenges the orthodoxy as a “science denier.” At the end of the day, EHN’s breathless tirade against traditional ammunition and hunting exposes land-mine-sized potholes that EHN refuses to acknowledge.

NSSF chose to answer questions to EHN’s reporter, Samantha Totoni, despite her previous reports targeting traditional ammunition. The firearm industry has nothing to hide in this debate. More information provides gun owners with educated choices. The facts are clear. Traditional ammunition has been used for hunting in North America for over 400 years. The fact is there has never been one case of an individual suffering lead poisoning due to the consumption of wild game.

Selective Editing

The fact there are no reported cases of individuals suffering lead poisoning due to harvested wild game consumption was offered to EHN’s Totoni, but didn’t make the final edit. NSSF is agnostic when it comes to which types of ammunition hunters and recreational shooters should use. There are choices available in the market, including alternatives offered by traditional ammunition manufacturers. That choice should be left to the buyers, not dictated by agenda-driven publications seeking blanket public policy decisions.

Policy decisions regarding wildlife management must be driven by science. It is critical to ensure that agenda-driven policies don’t harm the incredible success of the North American Wildlife Model. That model brought back Rocky Mountain elk, whitetail deer, wild turkeys, pronghorn antelope, and waterfowl from dangerously low levels to teeming populations. This model relies on what’s termed a “user pays-public benefits” system. That includes firearm and ammunition manufacturers that pay the Pittman-Robertson excise tax that’s contributed over $14 billion to wildlife conservation since 1937. The success of this program isn’t limited to game species or those animals that are hunted. This program also contributed to the successful recovery of the American Bald Eagle, which has been removed from the Endangered and Threatened Species Lists.

Weaponizing Science

Accusations of denying science fall flat when the firearm industry points to studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2008 that found blood-lead levels in hunters consuming wild game harvested using traditional ammunition were actually lower than individuals in the same community that didn’t consume wild game. The CDC study showed that no hunters using traditional ammunition had elevated blood-lead levels even approaching the threshold of concern.

None of this denies science. It relies on it. This seems to be more of a case of projecting what anti-hunting groups are actually doing themselves and attempting to tar firearm and ammunition makers. That explains the accusations that ammunition makers are following the “Big Tobacco” playbook. The first and biggest problem with this argument is that the same ammunition makers producing traditional ammunition also produce alternatives.

The science of wildlife management is based on population models, not sick or injured animals. If the intent of wildlife management was to end injury to animals, that would eliminate hunting altogether. That goal, though, wouldn’t end with targeting hunters using traditional ammunition. Environmentalists advocating for sustainable energy through wind farms would be forced to tear downwind turbines, which are responsible for killing between 140,000 and 500,000 birds per year. That’s predicted to rise to as many as 1.4 million birds a year from 200 separate species. Vehicles would also be banned to end wildlife collision deaths and injuries. Even the lead used in car batteries would be banned since the naturally-occurring element is a critical component for the batteries used in cars – especially in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

The “Big Tobacco” smear ignores the fact that hunting and fishing are constitutionally protected in 23 states, and fishing is constitutionally protected in two more. Harvesting wild game is a right of the people. It’s also been proven that initiatives to ban traditional ammunition, along with overreaching gun control, results in nose-diving statistics of hunters going into the fields, woods and marshes. Licenses sold to California hunters each year decreased approximately 70 percent, from over 750,000 in 1970 down to 225,000 in 2019. That’s created a public lands funding crisis in California, since hunting and fishing licenses, combined with the Pittman-Robertson funds distributed by the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, pays for conservation lands upon which wildlife depends to thrive.

Legitimate Purpose

Finally, EHN’s misrepresentation of hunting’s role in sustainable wildlife conservation must be addressed. EHN’s report accused NSSF of not answering the question for their position on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on one of the seven principles that state, “Wildlife can only be killed for a legitimate purpose.”

NSSF did answer. “The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also lists hunting as a wildlife management tool and outdoor tradition,” NSSF wrote in response to Totoni’s direct question on taking of wildlife. NSSF even provided the link to where USFWS states this so she could see for herself that hunting is a crucial tool for sustainable wildlife management and conservation.

That was omitted. Some might call it cherry-picking data to drive an anti-hunting agenda.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

National Shooting Sports Foundation

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Matt in Oklahoma

Meh these activists and Kalifornia folks can implement all they want. The rest of free America is ignoring them.


Unfortunately that is not true. Antis across the country look to California for inspiration. Consider the fights VCDL has had to do just to limit new restriction to wildly unacceptable. Without CA inspiration it is unlikely they would be going through this. Antis look at CA and say “look how much more we can do, we could be just like them.” Of course reasonable people look and see that we could be just like CA with rampant crime and violence – but antis totally ignore what they don’t want to see. Californians fleeing the state bring their experience and expectations.… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Finnky

This is just an attempt to limit ammo available to the public like we have too much available today ? Ilegitiment clownshow Joe Biden already dried up the ammo supply so he could secure his steal without mass bloodshed . The Democrats have fooled no one about thier goals to take all ammo and guns from the people .

Wild Bill

Natchez Shooters Supply is having a flash sale on ammunition. I just got the notice. You have to be careful of their shipping, though. MC, brother.

Last edited 11 months ago by Wild Bill

This site is still to high, if you search, you can find ammo a lot cheaper. I have gotten over 2000 rounds at a very good price for 45 acp, 9mm, 5.56, 40 cal, and possibly 1 or 2 more, I forget a lot.

Wild Bill

I reload. I just thought that Natchez sale would help someone out. MC!

Dr. Strangelove

I reload, also. However, I got Maxi Mags from Natchez for $14.99, not a bad price.

Wild Bill

Oh, I am glad that it was helpful. MC, brother.

Wild Bill

Wow, Jim Grant, that is a good article. MC!


The 2A industry needs to stand up and stop all activities in CA. Selling, Manufacturing and sports activities should not be supported in CA


Are you saying you don’t think ammo companies should sell their product into the retail distribution channel in California?


Response on hold. I’ll try rewording:

Do you want ammo companies to not sell their product into the retail distribution channel in California?


Responses on hold – seems I’ve been put on a list.

Wild Bill

I notice that my long responses get held.


I’ve had that happen as well, but both my responses were short.

I tried rewording and posting again, but still on hold.

I was just curious if Hazcat was indicating that ammo manufacturers should not sell into CA.


would be better to not sell to comifornia, no guns to police or nasty guard no ammo no parts sell to people only


In my original comments, that went on hold, I specified the retail channel. I should have done that in the third comment as well.

I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want ammo being sold to “civilians” in CA.


Response on hold again.

I specifed in the other comments that I was referring to consumer sales, not government.

Ansel Hazen

Or any gov agency.


The validity of the article was lost on me when the author cited CDC “data” as a source for supporting his position.


Well, if the CDC would restrict itself to DISEASE and not “violence”, code for “normal behavior in regards to guns,” it would be a valuable organization.