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March 1, 2018

Last-Minute Lead Ammo Ban Rush Job by Obama Administration Deemed “Disorderly”

By Larry Keane

I don’t want to say “I told you so,” but… NSSF did.

The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Committee’s Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) reported that Director’s Order 219, last-minute lead ammunition ban issued by former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe, skipped steps, was rushed in less than a month and published on the final full-day of President Obama’s administration.

Shocker, isn’t it? The National Shooting Sports Foundation called foul on the order immediately. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke thought so too. So much, he rode in on horseback to his first day in office and signed an order killing it. In case people didn’t know, Secretary Zinke was making it clear a new sheriff of public lands was in town.

Rush Job Left Condemning Paper Trail

The Congressional report noted what we already knew. The order was rushed, it was done without input from stakeholders and didn’t include any scientific input from which to draw conclusions. In fact, the order was drafted by a single staffer at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Noah Matson, who had previously worked with an environmental activist group. Even more, the order wasn’t submitted to the Federal Register and opened for the public to comment. Likely, they wouldn’t have wanted to know what the public actually thought.

The report was noteworthy because it pointed out the Dan Ashe never offered even a suggestion, much less a plan on how his traditional ammunition ban would be implemented. What he wanted was to choke off the accessibility to public lands for hunting and fishing, and demonize the most common forms of ammunition used by hunters and recreational shooters.

The report detailed how the few staffers that were aware of the draft order were surprised it was being rushed through, without proper vetting and comment. One finding noted, “Multiple FWS personnel usually involved in drafting, reviewing and managing Director’s Orders received no notice of the Order until its issuance.”

NSSF Was Watching

The order’s rush didn’t just catch the staff by surprise. They were also unprepared that anyone was actually paying attention and called them on carpet for their actions. Even those they claimed to help with their ill-advised ban – the National Wildlife Refuge Service – had no idea the order was being rushed. The report included a redacted email exchange that noted:

Fyi – you might get media queries – no one knew this was coming – hope [REDACTED] can help you with direction or talking points -NSSF put out a scathing news release apparently – nwrs didn’t even know

The report wrapped up noting “how the sudden back-room actions of one overzealous unelected bureaucrat can potentially devastate an entire industry.”

It’s not just us. The House of Representatives is putting it on public record. Dan Ashe’s last-minute lead ammunition ban was an agenda-driven policy change that would have never survived the light of day. That’s why he issued it in the dark of night and posted it on the wall just before he closed the to last administrations attacks on hunters and recreational shooters.


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