The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kieran Suckling, (520) 275-5960

Newtown Gun Group Opposed Even Mildest Gun Violence and Enviromental Health Protections

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


The National Shooting Sports Foundation, headquartered in Newtown, Connecticut 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 to fund 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 non-lead bullets are readily available. Though state and federal agencies have warned hunters of the potential danger--especially to pregnant women and children-- of ingesting the tiny fragments of lead from bullets which are common in the meat of hunted animals, the Foundation is aggressively seeking to amend the federal Toxic Substances Control Act to prevent the EPA banning lead in bullets as it has banned it in paint, gasoline and children's toys. Elimination of lead from bullets would prevent up to 14,000 tons of this toxic heavy metal from being shot into America's forests and fields every year, where it poisons some 20,000,000 birds and mammals to death.

Extremist groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation have blocked even the most modest, reasonable gun violence and environmental health reforms," said Kieran 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."

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252