In a swift and unexpected decision, the Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a petition from environmental groups to ban the use of lead in bullets and shotgun shells, claiming it doesn’t have jurisdiction to weigh on the controversial Second Amendment issue. U.S. News & World Report said the decision came just hours after the Drudge Report posted stories about how gun groups were fighting the lead bullet ban. The EPA had planned to solicit public responses to the petition for two months, but on Friday issued a statement rejecting a 100-page request from the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, and three other groups for a ban on lead bullets, shot, and fishing sinkers. The agency is still considering what to do about sinkers.
The decision was a huge victory for the National Rifle Association, which just seven days ago asked that the EPA reject the petition, suggesting that it was a back door attempt to limit hunting and impose gun control. It also was a politically savvy move to take gun control off the table as the Democrats ready for a very difficult midterm election. The NRA has spent two years tracking down rumors that the Obama administration wants to impose gun and ammo bans on the public, but hasn’t found anything credible.