On his first day full in office, Donald Trump’s new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke literally mounted his horse and rode roughshod over former President Barack Obama’s final spiteful attack on American gun owners.
On his first full day in office, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued an order Thursday reversing a last-minute action by the Obama administration to ban lead ammunition and fish tackle used on national wildlife refuges.
Gun-rights supporters condemned the earlier order — issued a day before Obama left office Jan. 20 — as nakedly political. The order was intended to protect birds from lead poisoning, the Obama administration said.
Zinke, a former Montana congressman and avid hunter, said the new order would increase hunting, fishing and recreation opportunities on lands managed by Fish and Wildlife Service.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said Zinke’s order “represents an important check on executive abuse and reverses what was a deliberate attack on Americans’ fundamental rights and privileges” by the Obama administration.
The order reverses a decision by the Obama administration to phase out use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on wildlife refuges by 2022.
Zinke, who rode to work on a horse Thursday as a sign of solidarity with U.S. Park Police, said the hunting order and another order directing agencies to identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded were intended to boost outdoor recreation in all its forms.
“Outdoor recreation is about both our heritage and our economy,” he said in a statement. “Between hunting, fishing, motorized recreation, camping and more, the industry generates thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.”
Lead shotshell ammunition and fishing tackle (typically BB-sized or smaller sinkers) have been banned in many places over concerns that wildlife were ingesting them and giving them lead poisoning. Obama went well beyond that, however, and attempted to ban lead rifle and pistol ammunition, even though the science backing such a ban is dubious at best.
Obama’s lead ammunition ban was nothing more or less than a spiteful parting shot by a failed gun control advocate wanting to make life miserable for hunters and other outdoorsmen.
Interior Secretary Zinke’s decision to reverse Obama’s hatred-fueled ban was clearly the right response.