bald eagle
Supporters say banning lead ammo would protect animals like bald eagles, which are scavengers that eat the entrails of animals killed by hunters. Credit: National Park Service

Congress Passed Bill to Prohibit Lead Ammo Bans on Federal Land

The bill would prevent the feds from imposing bans on lead ammo.

Those fighting to use lead ammo and fishing tackle on federal land had a legislative win last week when Congress passed the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act.

The measure, which passed the House by a 214 to 201 vote, would prohibit the Secretary of Interior or Secretary of Agriculture from banning the use of lead bullets or tackle unless such regulation is consistent with state law and supported by science.

In a statement, Congressman Rob Wittman, a Republican from Virginia who proposed the bill, said he was "appalled" by the Biden administration's effort to impose lead bans because they create "financial barriers that limit accessibility for sportsmen and women."

In October 2023, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued a rule to phase out the use of lead ammo for hunting on eight federally protected lands. The ban began in the fall of 2023 and would be completed by fall 2026.

The government, citing scientific studies, warns that even the lowest levels of lead exposure are toxic to humans and wildlife alike. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, which led the charge in banning lead ammo, explained that scavengers would eat the entrails and feast on the carcasses of animals killed by lead bullets, ingest the lead, and then suffer from lead poisoning.

Critics of the lead ban largely dismiss the health concerns, saying there's not enough evidence and the costs would be too high.