Investors Business Daily Editorials
Gun Control: Thanks to government regulations, the closing of the last U.S. lead smelter and a push for “green” lead-free ammunition, ammo prices will skyrocket. Does the Second Amendment threaten the environment?
Having been stymied by court defeats such as the Supreme Court’s deciding that the Second Amendment does indeed confer a right to keep and bear arms on individuals throughout the United States, advocates of a gun-free America and a disarmed citizenry are taking a different approach: Go after the ammunition through regulations that stifle domestic production and force the use of more expensive and eco-friendly substitutes.
Expanded regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency have forced the closing as of Dec. 31 of the country’s last bullet-producing lead smelter — a facility operated by Doe Run Co. in Herculaneum, Mo., that first opened its doors in 1892. As a result of the closure, a company press release notes, 145 Doe Run employees and some 73 contractors will lose their jobs.
The Herculaneum smelter, according to the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, is the only one in the U.S. that can produce lead bullion from raw lead ore and the components for traditional lead ammunition.
The only alternatives, the institute says, will be to import the ammo components or use EPA-approved “green” ammunition.
The Arms Trade Treaty may be unratified, but it provides the administration with a justification for restricting U.S. imports of ammunition and components.
While there are a number of secondary lead smelters that recycle lead from various sources such as car batteries, the net effect is that prices will climb high enough, the administration hopes, to curtail gun purchases and use.