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Obama plans ammo shortage

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

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Wopper Of The Week

This email is fresh off the paranoia express this year and just showed up in my inbox.

"Using Chicago-style thuggery, President Obama recently deployed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to shut down a major source of material used in manufacturing ammunition. This is an overt back door assault on our Second Amendment rights by a federal agency! If President Obama has his way, buying ammunition for weapons protected by the Second Amendment could get increasingly difficult."

"The EPA has targeted the Doe Run Company, the only remaining primary lead smelter in the United States. The EPAs stringent regulations (some would say absurdly stringent) would have caused the company to shell out more than $100 million to comply or shut down. The Herculaneum, Missouri, company, operating since 1892, has reluctantly chosen to shut down."

Absurdly stringent regulations?

State officials tested the dust that had fallen off Herculaneum company trucks onto local streets, and found arsenic, cadmium and concentrations of lead at 750 times the hazardous level. Smoke from the smelter was sometimes so thick residents couldn't see across the street.

Instead of shutting down the smelter, state officials decided to shut down the town of Herculaneum. In September 2001, signs went up telling parents not to let their children play on streets and city parks. Residents were also given rules for living with lead.

This wasn't a normal life. "Not even close to normal life," says Robyn Warden. "But that's the normal life of a person that lived in Herculaneum." Despite all these precautions, her two children were chronically sick. She had them tested and found they had severe lead poisoning. Aaron's level was 24, Grace's was 44. The CDC limit is 10 — anything above that can cause stunted growth, kidney failure and irreversible brain damage.

Obama did it?

The Doe Run Company has been battling the EPA since at least 2003 (Bush administration). The particular regulation cited by the company as the reason for the closure is from 2008 — before Obama was inaugurated.

Ammo shortage?

Doe Run was a "primary smelter," meaning it processed the raw ore. The company has a "secondary" smelter facility in southern Missouri, which remanufactures recycled lead. Doe Run, and companies like it, will continue to manufacture the lead used in ammunition because most ammunition in the United States is made from recycled lead that comes from secondary smelters.

"The majority of the lead used by ammunition manufacturers comes from secondary smelters that recycle lead from car batteries," Bob Owens of Bearing Arms wrote. From "Despite the hysteria to the contrary, the primary smelter in Herculaneum has almost no direct impact on the U.S. ammunition market."

The Sierra Bullet Company said recently that it's not worried about the Doe Run closure. "Sierra uses no primary lead at all and never has, so we use nothing directly from this facility," the company said in a statement on its website. "[W]e do not see any reason for alarm. We expect our supply to continue and keep feeding our production lines which are still running 24 hours per day to return our inventory levels to where they should be."

Brad Alpert, President and Operations Manager of Missouri Bullet Company, was even more blunt, calling fears of a shortage a "tempest in a teapot," stating that the closure of the primary smelter have "no impact" on their production. "The jacketed bullets companies (Winchester, Remington, Federal, et al.) use the same sources that we do," Alpert wrote.

"At this time we do not anticipate any additional strain on our ability to obtain lead," Tim Brandt of ATK, the parent company of Federal Premium, CCI, and Speer ammunition, said in reference to the Herculaneum closure.

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Original Publication Date: January 2, 2014

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