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Wittman’s Protecting Access For Hunters and Anglers Act Passes U.S. House

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Rob Wittman’s (VA-01) Protecting Access For Hunters and Anglers Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation will prohibit the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture from banning the use of lead ammunition or tackle on federal lands and waters unless such regulation is consistent with state law and supported by science.

“As a lifelong hunter and recreational fisherman, I was appalled by the Biden administration’s effort to restrict access for our nation’s sportsmen and women who use traditional lead fishing tackle and ammunition on federal lands and waters,“ said Congressman Wittman. “Effective environmental stewardship and wildlife conservation rely on the valuable contributions of our hunters and anglers, and affordable lead ammunition and tackle are crucial to reducing financial barriers that limit accessibility for sportsmen and women. I’m pleased to see this critical piece of legislation pass the House, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this bill and send it to the president’s desk.”

Congressman Wittman re-introduced the bill in January 2023 and has garnered 50 cosponsors since then. On June 21, 2023, the bill passed favorably out of the House Natural Resources Committee with bipartisan support. 

“Congressman Wittman has long been a supporter of sportsmen and women and knows firsthand how access to lands and waters is essential for conservationists across the country,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman. “His Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act will ensure states follow the best available science – not the whims of bureaucrats in D.C. – and keep ammunition and tackle costs low, thereby promoting ongoing access for future generations of hunters and anglers.“

Background: In November 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) entered into settlement negotiations with activist litigants like the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) over a lawsuit regarding the use of traditional ammunition and lead on over 3 million acres of federal land. On Oct. 27, 2023, the Biden administration issued a final rule to prohibit the use of lead ammunition and tackle in eight national wildlife refuges. The concern over the potential ban of lead ammunition and tackle is due to the fact that lead ammunition is easier and cheaper to make and more readily available for consumers. Banning its use would make hunting less accessible by increasing the financial barriers for sportsmen and women.

Supporting organizations: Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Safari Club International.

Click here to read the full bill text.