Federal Issue Brief

 H.R. 1558/ S. 838, Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act

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AVMA Position:

Nonsupport 

Summary:

Introduced by Congressman Jeff Miller (FL-1st) and Senator Jon Tester (MT), H.R. 1558/S. 838 amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to exclude from the definition of "chemical substance" for purposes of such Act: (1) any component of any pistol, revolver, firearm, shell, or cartridge the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax, including shot, bullets and other projectiles, propellants, and primers; and (2) any sport fishing equipment the sale of which is subject to federal excise tax and sport fishing equipment components.

Background:

  • While this legislation does not mention lead, the AVMA understands that it is lead shot and fishing sinkers that the bill seeks to exclude from applicability of the TSCA. 
  • The TSCA is a key piece of federal statute which helps protect humans, animals, and the environment from unnecessary exposure to harmful substances. 
  • Lead is a nonselective toxic substance which also exists naturally and has useful purposes.

Justification:

  • Lead shots and sinkers are known to be toxic to non-target species, especially predators and scavengers, which include some endangered species. 
  • The AVMA acknowledges the need to keep such products available if safer and practical alternatives are not available, but disagrees with the bill’s intent to exclude without limitation all shot, bullets and other projectiles, propellants, primers, and sport fishing equipment from the TSCA. Such a blanket caveat could create unintended consequences because other harmful substances (besides lead) may be exempt from regulation that are used for propellants, shot, bullets and other projectiles, and in types of sport fishing equipment (fishing rods and poles, reels, spear guns, sinkers, etc.). 
  • International, Federal, State, and local hunting and fishing authorities are better suited to determine the parameters of acceptable hunting and fishing means and equipment allowed based on coexisting efforts related to recreation, hunting, fishing, predation control, conservation programs, etc.

Current Status:

H.R. 1558: House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

S. 838: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

AVMA Contact: 

Dr. Whitney Miller, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3211