As we had announced from the start, and as the EU Commission has demonstrated again and again, they won't stop at nothing. And they don't even play fair. This crusade against lead has nothing to do with the environment or protecting the health of humans and animals, either: their ultimate goal is simply banning lead ammo anywhere in the EU for any use – and the next step, you can bet on it, will be banning hunting and sport shooting and, in our long term worst case scenarios, probably banning firearms altogether. As you probably already know, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has proposed that the EU should restrict the use of lead ammunition in hunting and sport shooting. This will also affect EEA countries and Northern Ireland. As exposed by the Association of European Manufacturers of Sporting Ammunition (AFEMS), despite extensive scientific and legal interventions, as well as ongoing dialogues with national and European authorities through various associations, now It seems (but it is not confirmed yet) that the European Commission will discuss the restriction proposal of lead in ammunition during the CARACAL and REACH Committee meetings in February 2024. In their minds the result – the lead ban – is a foregone conclusion.
In response, ”AFEMS and the European Shooting Sports Forum (ESSF) of which AFEMS is a member, have laid down their own initiatives to work with various Member States with the common goal of preventing consensus on the EC proposal, deferring the strategic and political decision on the dossier to the next Commission”. AFEMS and ESSF also point out that the European elections are scheduled between June 6 and 9, 2024, and the various bodies (EP, EC, and Council) are likely to become operational around September 2024.
ESSF FAQs document on the ban of lead in ammunition: a useful guidance to undermine the ECHA proposal
We are clearly entering the “hot phase” of the hunters' and sport shooters' fight to protect their rights, and more generally for the European citizens to protect their economies and societies from another ideologically driven attack. But how can we do that? First of all, you need to know what we are talking about. You probably have many questions and doubts. For example, will “consumers” actually be captured in a REACH restriction? Or can the proposed restriction complement the REACH wetlands restriction on lead shot? What are the real effects of lead ammo on human and animal health? Are the proposed restrictions scientifically sound and justified? And again, how could a restriction on lead ammunition impact hunting and shooting sports activities in Europe? And what about monetary impact of reduced hunting activity in Europe resulting from this restriction?
To support its strategy, the ESSF has drafted a document titled "Frequently Asked Questions – Restricting lead in ammunition" that will be soon uploaded on the ESSF website and translated into other languages. There you will find all the answers you need and precious info about the restriction process, human health, environmental risks, technical limits, socio-economic impacts, etc. “This document is designed for easy use by all associations engaging with national authorities, providing specific and qualified guidance to undermine the ECHA proposal.” Notably, “the document is the result of continuous work and dedication from the associative system in recent years. More importantly, even on such a divisive issue, we have succeeded in unifying the European industry, distribution, and user sectors to speak with one voice.”
In the coming weeks, additional initiatives under the ESSF umbrella or sectoral industrial associations will follow to amplify the strength and visibility of ongoing activities. We at all4shooters/all4hunters.com will keep you informed. Stay tuned!