Hunters and anglers need to be more aware of bogus forwarded emails

A few days ago, I received an email from a well-meaning, but ill-informed, individual. (I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.) It was headlined – "Save your lead – Last lead smelting plant closed by Obama and the EPA." 

The forwarded email had no date or original author, which is usually the case with this type of propaganda. It went on to detail that Obama was responsible for closing the last lead-smelting plant in the United States, and that this would lead to dire consequences for shooters, and hunters ("back-door gun control") and the entire U.S. economy. 

A few quotes from the email: "Obama and the EPA just shut down the last lead smelting plant in the US. They raised the EPA regulations by 10 fold and it would have cost the plant $100 million to comply. You can own all the guns you want, but if you can’t get ammo, you are out of luck."  

"All lead for bullets will have to come from overseas!"  

"There are numerous alarming reasons why the US government and the military have been buying up all the ammo. Here’s one of them. The military’s obsession with ammo was related to security and supply. They knew this was coming, too, so they bought up all they could get before the plug was pulled."

"This move will also make the cost of low lead aviation fuel UNAFFORDABLE."

"Guns will be plentiful but ammo will be another story.  How does $3.75 a round (that’s for one bullet) for a 9mm work for you? Box of 50 would only cost you $187.50."

I was taken aback by this email. How could I have missed this?! While researching my article about the .22 ammo shortage, I had recently spoken with representatives from three ammunition manufacturers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation – there was not a single mention of this "big news."

So, I did a little research. I encourage you to do the same. FactCheck.org and several other websites clearly and factually detail the story – with links and references to company news releases, ammo makers, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Other than the fact that the smelting plant closed – nothing in the forwarded email (that originated in December 2013) proved to be true.

The Doe Run, Missouri, plant closed in December, 2013.  As the company had announced the closing in 2010, this is not really "news" anymore. According to a company news release, "Doe Run supplied 8 to 10 percent of the U.S. demand for lead …." Almost all of it was used for making batteries – not bullets!   

According to several ammunition manufacturers and Sierra Bullets, the closing will have no effect on ammo availability or cost because most bullets are made from recycled lead, which is less expensive. 

Why not blame Obama – everyone else does! What led to the plant's closure was a lawsuit by a Missouri environmental group, in response to lead dust in homes and elevated levels of the metal in yards and children’s blood. The action actually started when George Bush was president. Maybe the writer thought, What's a little lead in our children's blood if we can have bullets.

It has now been over six months since the plant's closure and jet fuel and ammo prices remain about the same. Why does this email continue to circulate? Take your pick:
         A. The sender actually believes it.
         B. The sender hates Obama and the EPA and does not care whether it is true or not.
         C. It is a calculated effort by someone to discredit Obama and the EPA.
         D. It is an effort by ammo makers to cause hoarding – which drives up the price. 

The email that I received went on to declare, "There has not been a peep about this in the major news outlets …"

This statement alone should be an alert to all thinking sportsmen and sportswomen. If no one in our very diverse media picks up the story – there must not be a story.

Digital media is wonderful, but it can provide an inexpensive and anonymous way for lies to be spread. These lies could be about hunting, trapping, wildlife management, fishing, shooting, or in this case, the supply of ammunition.   

Please, if you get a forwarded email about anything, take time to check the facts before you send it to all of your friends. Doing otherwise just makes you part of the burgeoning problem and only hurts our outdoor sports.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Firearms, Hunting News, PenBlogs, Pennsylvania – Mark Nale, Social Media

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