The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia announced a decision that’s sure to be welcomed by gun enthusiasts Tuesday. The court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the statutory authority to regulate the manufacture and sale of lead ammunition.
The suit was brought by more than 100 environmental groups asking the EPA to ban the sale of lead shot and bullets pursuant to its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act, according to the Washington Examiner.
“We agree with EPA that it lacks statutory authority to regulate the type of spent bullets and shot identified in the environmental groups’ petition,” Judge David Tatel wrote in the court’s 12-page opinion.
The Examiner reported:
Environmental groups had sued the agency to do so, saying spent lead ammunition posed an “unreasonable risk of injury” to wildlife and humans who would eat the animals they kill. The groups rejected the EPA’s assertion that it lacked the authority to do so.
Environmental groups were challenging an earlier dismissal by a lower court.
The problem for the environmentalists’ law is the fact that shells and casings are specifically exempted from the Toxic Substances Control Act, according to Fox News, which reported:
The National Rifle Association and much of the pro-gun lobby intervened on the EPA’s side in urging the federal appeals court to uphold the dismissal of a lawsuit by 101 environmentalist organizations.
“Given that bullets and shot can become spent only if they are first contained in a cartridge or shell and then fired from a weapon,” the environmental groups “have identified no way in which EPA could regulate spent bullets and shot without also regulating cartridges and shells,” precisely what the law prohibits, said the decision by appeals judge David Tatel, a nominee of President Bill Clinton. The other two judges on the case were Patricia Millett and Cornelia Pillard, both nominees of President Barack Obama.
“No matter how one characterizes their claim — whether as an effort to regulate cartridges and shells (EPA’s view) or as an attempt to regulate the lead in bullets and shot (the environmental groups’ view) — their petition seeks the regulation of spent lead yet suggests no way in which EPA could regulate spent lead without also regulating cartridges and shells,” Tatel wrote.