Gun control via ammunition control: EPA shuts down last U.S. lead smelter plant

Despite the alleged massacre of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School a year ago — “alleged” because the authorities still refuse to release their death certificates, citing not “hurting” the “feelings” of the families as the excuse — the Left have failed at imposing gun control on America. (See also our “Sandy Hook Massacre” page.)

So President Lucifer has turned to an indirect way — via ammunition control — by using the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to close down the last lead smelter (and therefore bullet manufacturing) plant in the United States.

Last U.S. lead smelter

Cheryl K. Chumley reports for NewsMax, Dec. 11, 2013, that America’s last lead smelter — Doe Run Company’s lead smelter plant in Herculaneum, Mo — will close down by Dec. 31, 2013, because of tightened EPA rules, leaving 145 and 73 contractors jobless.

The EPA is responding to environmental lobbyists who say lead is seeping into the water supply. Animal rights groups also oppose lead bullets, claiming the lead is killing condors, which led the state of California to ban lead bullets for hunters.

Doe Run Company, which has been in operation since 1892, first announced in 2010 that its smelter plant would close, due to its inability “to meet the increasingly stringent environmental regulations imposed on primary lead smelters.”

Mike Hammond, the legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America, said the shuttering of Doe Run Company’s Herculaneum lead smelter plant “won’t shut off the production of bullets in America because [manufacturers] can get recycled lead from a lot of other plants. But combined with the government’s large purchases of ammunition, it will make it harder and more expensive to purchase ammunition.”

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Second Amendment supporters are divided on what this means.

Some downplay the effects of Doe Run Company’s  closing, including:

  • Emily Miller, an award-winning writer recognized for her investigative work on Second Amendment issues and the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours,” told Newsmax that the smelter plant closure “will not have any effect on the supply or price of ammunition” and that bullets in America “are made with recycled lead, which is plentiful and at no risk of running low. Conspiracy theories about the cost of lead increasing are not based on facts, and the ammunition manufacturers dispute these stories.”
  • Mike Bazinet, director of public affairs with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, says “The closing of the smelter will have no effect on the supply or cost of ammunition in the United States for the simple reason that ammunition makers use recycled lead — not the primary lead that comes from that smelter.”
  • The NRA-ILA, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, issued a statement on Dec. 5 citing information it received from manufacturers and drawing the conclusion that “while many factors can affect the market for ammunition, this particular facility’s closure should not have the dramatic impact that some have predicted.”
  • Sierra Bullets, a manufacturer in Sedalia, Mo., in business since 1947, said in a Nov. 1 statement that the smelter plant closure was not likely to have a negative impact on operations in the near term, but it very well could in the future. Sierra plant engineer Darren Leskiw said: “Our supply should not be in jeopardy and we do not anticipate any changes in our supply chain at this time. Could the lack of primary lead create a little more demand for recycled lead? Sure, but how much is unknown. Could this increase in demand also create an increase in price? Sure, but again, by how much is unknown at this time. In short, we do not see any reason for alarm.”
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Other gun rights supporters are not as sanguine:

  • Former Congressman Allen West calls it  a “back-door gun control” move on the part of the Obama administration and the EPA to tighten ammunition supplies.
  • In a Nov. 7 statement on its website, Doe Run Company addressed the impact of the closure on lead products by saying the metal has a multitude of uses, “including ammunition and construction metals.” The company said demand could one day exceed supply at the recycling plants, sending manufacturers searching overseas for the product: ”Those applications that require primary lead will need to import the lead metal in the future. Any additional demand for lead (above that which can be met through recycling at secondary smelters) will also have to be met through imports.”
  • Gun Owners of America‘s Hammond says the smelter plant closure is in fact going to impact ammunition supplies and costs, and that industry insiders are trying to play down that scenario due to business concerns, “You don’t want people questioning if your company is going to shut down.”

Dave Workman, senior editor of Gun Week for the Second Amendment Foundation and a co-author of Assault on Weapons: The Campaign to Eliminate Your Guns, said in a telephone interview that some manufacturers were moving more toward the production of nonlead or copper-based bullets. “The people I have spoken with — they make bolts — don’t seem to be that worried,” Workman said of the Doe Run closure. “But bullet-makers in the United States are starting to produce projectiles that do not contain any lead. And probably, as time goes on, you’ll see a gradual acceptance of this.”

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But lead-free bullets like those made of copper, have been criticized for their inaccuracy. ”Lead has a characteristic that tends not to explode when it hits a target. It doesn’t break into 10,000 pieces as much as other metals do when [they] hit,” Hammond said.

According to The Firearm Blog, the leading source of primary lead in the world will be China, followed by Australia and Peru.


Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds.

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