Friday, March 6, 2009

Green Bullets

I am not a hunter, nor do I own any guns. I am unapologetically in favor of gun control and if it were at all practical in our gun-crazed country, I would be in favor of gun elimination. But I know that will never, ever happen in a place where guns are as common as cars.

But I digress.

What I intended to write about today is an article I read about green bullets. It appears that lead bullets are causing more damage than just killing things. The article mostly discussed the damage done by lead bullets used for hunting animals.

Lead bullets used for hunting can disintegrate into dust-sized particles inside the meat of animals killed by lead bullets, and can accumulate to toxic levels in people who consume that meat. It can also cause health problems or even death in other animals who eat the remains of carcasses killed by lead bullets.

Lead bullets used in target shooting can get into water sources consumed by humans and animals, as well as doing other environmental damage. The cost and inconvenience of cleanup at military and civilian shooting ranges can be quite extensive.

This article goes on to cite several studies and discuss the alternatives to lead bullets; namely copper bullets. Of course hunting groups and the NRA (naturally) are complaining because they claim that copper bullets are more expensive and aren't made in all the necessary calibers. I'm betting, though, that if everyone who bought bullets demanded they be lead-free, the bullet manufacturers would be willing to make them in all calibers. And if the market were subsequently glutted with lead-free bullets they would most likely be cheaper. However, the NRA, in typical fashion, claims that attempts to ban lead-based bullets is nothing more than "a veiled attempt to take guns away from hunters."

I guess I don't understand the big whine-fest. Lead is a very toxic substance. It causes any number of major health problems in human beings (and other living things). The easiest solution to lead contamination in hunted animals and in the environment would be to change from lead bullets to lead-free bullets. Changing over to environmentally friendly bullets is not taking guns away. It's only trying to make legitimate gun use more healthy for those who eat hunted meat, as well as for the environment.

So that's my soap-box rant for today!

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