By Harold Moskowitz
Lead was once widely used in manufacturing. Today, probably the only two remaining uses are for lead-acid batteries and ammunition. For most shooters, lead exposure begins with the handling of ammunition. The next exposure is when loading the cartridges. Small particles of lead are removed in the process and make contact with the shooter’s hands. Lead can absorb through the skin.
Lead becomes airborne when a firearm is discharged. Lead fumes are vaporized from the base of the bullet. Most fumes result from the ignition of the lead-based primers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health believe that any lead blood level over five micro grams per deciliter of blood is a health concern. Dr. Mark Laidlaw of Indiana University at Indianapolis has determined that frequent users of shooting ranges can accumulate a blood lead level as high as forty micro grams per deciliter of blood. The United States Department of Labor recommends that shooters who spend time at ranges should be tested for blood levels every six months.
Lead enters the bloodstream and is distributed throughout the body. It gets collected and stored in the bones. The level of lead gradually builds up. More range time equals more lead exposure and accumulation. The nervous system is damaged first. Excessive lead can cause aggressive behavior and depression. Some shooters with high lead levels have experienced hand tremors, decreased memory function, vision problems, difficulty concentrating, and reproductive problems. The only way for keeping track of lead accumulation in the body is to have the blood level tested periodically.
Since the Progressive Liberal goal of outright destruction of the Second Amendment is still unattainable, there are two avenues available for advancing their anti-gun agenda. The first is the passage of “common sense” gun control restrictions after each new mass shooting incident. The second method will be through the guise of protection of public health and the environment. This can be done at both the state and national levels.
The information which has been presented in this article about lead is already known by the anti-gun individuals in government. Progressives want “single-payer” health care which would control and pay for medical care. In New York, Governor Cuomo wants a state-run “single payer” health system which would give Albany officials the power to control all health-related issues and treatments. At both the state and national levels, all-powerful bureaucrats would likely impose regulations focusing upon lead as an environmental and health issue. Governor Cuomo promised to release a slew of new ways to weaken firearm ownership during 2019.
How much longer will it be before both public and private club operated gun ranges are required to meet stringent air quality standards for ambient levels of lead both inside and outside a range? Anticipate ruinous penalties for each day range operators are economically unable to be in compliance. Many range operators would choose to cease operation rather than invest in the expense of the necessary technology and periodic maintenance for meeting the new air quality standards.
It is known that lead damages the nervous systems of children more easily than that of adults because their brains and bodies are still growing. Expect attempts to impose minimum distance requirements between the location of any gun range facility, whether enclosed or not, from any school, day care facility, preschool, park or playground due to ambient air “lead concerns.” Furthermore, because high blood lead levels can result in aggressive behavior and depression, it is not inconceivable that gun license renewals and hunting licenses could be denied to anyone having a blood lead level deemed to be “high” by state health administrators. Blood test results could become a new requirement for licenses and renewals.
Anti-gun politicians and their liberal billionaire campaign contributors understand that the undermining of the Second Amendment must be done incrementally, with stated motives which sound reasonable to the majority of the public. More weakening of the shooting sports and self-defense can be accomplished by regulating lead’s potential to harm health, especially that of children, than by attempting to ban it entirely.
The ammunition manufacturing industry, domestic and foreign, should be encouraged, even pressured, to shift production to lead-free bullets and primers. We as consumers should be willing and ready to support them in that effort. It will increase the cost of participating in the shooting sports. However, in the long run, by taking away the threat of anti-lead regulations aimed at driving gun ranges to close and disarming shooting sport participants, it will help to preserve and protect what is left of the Second Amendment.