I was feeling particularly masochistic yesterday so I opened up the Star Tribune and read through the Letters to the Editor section. On October 11th an individual wrote a letter explaining why a lead ammunition ban isn’t a great idea:
In the Oct. 3 article “Wildlife experts think hunters should consider nontoxic copper,” I was disappointed to read that activists are once again railing against traditional ammunition.
As the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will tell you, there have been no documented cases of lead poisoning in humans by eating wild game. Wild game harvested with traditional ammunition is safe, and to say otherwise is nothing but a scare tactic.
Bald eagle population levels are at an all-time high (even though traditional ammunition has been used for centuries), and even critics of traditional ammunition in this article agree it is not a threat to the eagle population.
Using lead ammunition is safe, so why does this issue get so much press each fall? What is the ultimate goal of traditional ammo critics?
There are some who would like to see all hunting and guns completely gone. They obviously can’t say or do these things outright in states like Minnesota, a state proud of its hunting heritage, so they must weaken our traditions. They chip away at them slowly, and they start with traditional ammunition.
Joe Drexler, Hastings
The point that Mr. Drexler made is a valid one. Gun control loons always try to take a light year when you give them an inch. But another opinionated individual totally missed that point:
An Oct. 11 letter writer sees a vast, antihunting conspiracy by the copper-ammunition crowd to take away one tiny hunting tradition at a time and ultimately end game hunting in Minnesota.
First: That there has been no case of human lead poisoning from ingesting lead shot and spatter doesn’t mean that the very-well-documented science of harm from lead ammunition to water fowl and other bird species is false. The writer may think that the bald eagle population is robust; I don’t.
Second: If the writer really wants to be authentic in his choice of traditional hunting “ammo,” he’d best go out and find a nice tree limb to make a bow from. (Sorry, no fiberglass-compound bows.) His traditional arrow shafts and real feather fletching, along with a gut drawstring, will be of his choosing. I hope he’s adept at making flint arrowheads.
Bob Brereton, St. Paul
Emphasis mine. That part just made me laugh. Mr. Brereton apparently feels that bald eagle populations aren’t robust and his feels obviously matter here. I think that really sets the tone of this letter as well since it shows that the issue is about feelings and not about facts. But the part that really made me laugh was the last paragraph where Mr. Brereton said that those wanting to use traditional ammunition should go back to the bow and arrow. Although Mr. Drexler’s letter used the term traditional ammunition his argument had nothing to do with lead ammunition being a hunting tradition. I’m fairly certain Mr. Brereton purposely missed the point because anybody with enough intelligence to write and mail a letter should be able to read and comprehend what Mr. Drexler wrote.
Mr. Drexler is correct though, this push to ban lead ammunition for hunting is just an attempt to get a camel’s nose under the ammunition tent. The history of gun control in this country is also a history of incremental restrictions. In 1934 we were told that machine guns, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, suppressors, and a random assortment of firearms simply labeled any other weapons needed to be more tightly controlled. This control came in the form of a $200.00 tax stamp and approval from local law enforcers and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). After that gun control advocates demanded that the sale of all new firearms occur at federally registered dealers. Part of the new sales policy was that a record of the buyer had to be kept by the dealer. Then the gun control loons expanded on that by mandating that every person purchasing a new firearm be required to pass a background check. With its nose firmly under the tent the gun control camel then demanded a ban on standard capacity magazines and any firearm that it found aesthetically offensive.
Now gun controllers want to restrict lead ammunition. While I cannot read minds and therefore cannot know their intentions for sure I feel it is reasonable to not believe that they’re concerned about wildlife. More likely they want to ban lead ammunition because it’s affordable. Most gun control policies seem to be thinly veiled attempts at making participating in the shooting sports more expensive.