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For Immediate Release, December 17, 2012

Contact: Kierán Suckling, (520) 275-5960

Newtown Gun Group Opposed Even Mildest Gun Restrictions, Environmental Health Protections

National Shooting Sports Foundation Opposed Bill to Disarm Mentally Ill, Effort to Eliminate Lead Poisoning

TUCSON, Ariz.— The National Shooting Sports Foundation, headquartered in Newtown, Conn., just three miles from the Sandy Hook Elementary School, has a long history of extremist positions on guns. It has opposed even the mildest policies designed to protect people from lead poisoning and to fund the confiscation of guns from criminals and the mentally ill.

In 2011 the Foundation unsuccessfully opposed a California bill funding the confiscation of guns from criminals and the mentally ill. In a story describing the need for funding of such programs (“States Struggle to Disarm People Who’ve Lost Right to Own Guns”), The New York Times wrote:

“By law, Roy Perez should not have had a gun three years ago when he shot his mother 16 times in their home in Baldwin Park, Calif., killing her, and then went next door and killed a woman and her 4-year-old daughter.

“Mr. Perez, who pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and was sentenced last year to life in prison, had a history of mental health issues. As a result, even though in 2004 he legally bought the 9-millimeter Glock 26 handgun he used, at the time of the shootings his name was in a statewide law enforcement database as someone whose gun should be taken away, according to the authorities.”
Currently the Foundation is pushing legislation to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from eliminating highly toxic lead in bullets, even though nonlead bullets are readily available. Though several states have issued advisories on the potential danger — especially to pregnant women and children — of ingesting the tiny fragments of lead from bullets that are common in hunted animals, the Foundation is aggressively seeking to amend the federal Toxic Substances Control Act to prevent the EPA from determining if lead should be removed from bullets as it has been from paint, gasoline and children’s toys. Elimination of lead from bullets would prevent 14,000 tons of this toxic heavy metal from being shot into America’s forests and fields every year, where it poisons some 20 million birds and mammals.

“Extremist groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation have blocked even the most modest, reasonable gun violence and environmental health reforms,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This insanity has to stop. A gun lobby that supports lead poisoning and opposes funding to confiscate guns from the mentally ill is not just irrational, it’s dangerous. We got lead out of paint, gasoline and children’s toys — now we need to get it out of bullets and get deadly guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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