Birdshot petition gets taken for a ride

Too many topics, too little space.

Did you realize radical cleric Feisal Abdul Rauf, who wants to build a Manhattan mosque to celebrate Islam’s victory over the Great Satan on Sept. 11, 2001, is now touring the Mideast to raise money for his project … in a book tour funded by the U.S. government?

The State Department defends the five-country tour, saying Mr. Rauf is “a distinguished Muslim cleric,” The Washington Times explained in an editorial last week.

But “By funding the trip so soon after New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the go-ahead to demolish the building on the proposed mosque site, the State Department is creating the appearance that the U.S. government is facilitating the construction of this shameful structure,” The Times points out.

“Americans also may be surprised to learn that the United States has been an active participant in mosque construction projects overseas,” the Times adds. “In April, U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Alfonso E. Lenhardt helped cut the ribbon at the 12th-century Kizimkazi Mosque, which was refurbished with assistance from the United States. … The U.S. government also helped save the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque in Cairo, which dates back to 642.”

The Cairo mosque’s namesake was the Muslim conqueror of Christian Egypt, who built the structure on the site where he’d pitched his tent before the battle.

“For those who think the Ground Zero Mosque is an example of ‘Muslim triumphalism’ glorifying conquest,” The Times went on, “the Amr Ebn El Aas Mosque is an example of such a monument — and one paid for with U.S. taxpayer funds.”

Imagine how the Left would have squawked if George Bush had proposed spending a few grand in federal tax dollars to help refurbish a Christian church for its worshippers here in America — and rightly so. But send a hundred million tax dollars from a bankrupt America to rebuild foreign mosques for the accomplices who danced in the streets when a gang of Muslim murderers toppled the World Trade Center? No problem!

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If you blinked, you could have missed it. But something important happened in the nation’s capital on Aug. 27 that demonstrates even the most benighted politicians may have finally figured out it’s not wise to mess with America’s gun owners.

Deferring to the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, the congressional drafters of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act specified it does not grant the Environmental Protection Agency any authority to regulate firearms ammunition.

So when several environmentalist groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the EPA on Aug. 3 of this year to ban the “manufacture, processing and distribution” of lead shot, bullets and fishing sinkers under the Act (arguing they sought to regulate only the “components” of ammo, not the ammunition itself), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson “could have dismissed the request due to a lack of jurisdiction,” John McCormack of the Weekly Standard pointed out in an article posted on the day in question — Friday, Aug. 27.

She didn’t. Instead, the agency “is obliging CBD,” Mr. McCormack of The Standard reported on that Friday.

Petitioners contend up to 20 million birds and other animals are killed each year due to lead poisoning in the United States, and at least 75 species — including bald eagles, ravens and endangered California condors — are poisoned by spent lead ammunition.

Alternative ammo made of bismuth or anything else would be at least twice as expensive — raising the price of a box of typical hunting ammunition to $55, amounting to a new 100 percent ammunition tax.
Yet despite all this, the EPA proceeded to ask for public comment on banning lead in ammunition, during a period set to close Oct. 31.

Ms. Jackson would then make a decision to accept or reject the petition on, um … Nov. 1.

Note the date.

An announcement that the EPA might ban all lead bullets — ON ELECTION EVE?

It was Bill Clinton who famously attributed the Republicans’ 1994 congressional sweep to his own party’s absurd “assault weapons ban,” which had zero impact on already heavily regulated machine guns, but did require manufacturers of semi-auto target rifles to add silly “thumbhole stocks.”

“There is simply no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations that would require restricting or banning the use of traditional ammunition beyond current limitations,” Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said in a written statement.

He cited recent statistics from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicating that the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States increased by more than 700 percent from 1981 through 2006.

Further, since most of the alternatives to lead are considered armor-piercing and are thus banned under other laws, “This amounts to gun control by stealth,” Investors Business Daily warned in an Aug. 26 editorial.

And then, late on that Friday afternoon, Aug. 27 … it was all over.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has denied a petition filed by environmental activists seeking to ban lead in ammunition, saying such regulation is beyond the agency’s authority,” Fox News reported late in the day.

But the EPA could have said that three weeks earlier. Why the sudden turnaround?

“Due to the start of fall hunting seasons around the country, the EPA made it a top priority and denied the petition Monday (sic), allowing for the continued use of traditional ammunition in most places.” reported Martin Couch of ESPN Outdoors.

The EPA was suddenly concerned about facilitating the fall hunting season? The ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY?!

No new rules would have been likely to go into effect for months or years, anyway. This explanation holds no water.

No, I can’t prove it — I have no transcription of any phone call — but I’ve got to believe the combined efforts of Fox News, the Weekly Standard, and Investors Business Daily brought this mind-boggling political misstep to the attention of the White House sometime on that late August Thursday night or Friday morning.

Not that Barack Obama doesn’t hate gun ownership by the peasant class, mind you. Though he has no objection to being surrounded by armed Secret Service bodyguards, his own self, he called in 2008 for “making the expired federal assault weapons ban permanent,” and for “closing the gun show loophole” — the gun grabbers’ euphemism for requiring background checks on all private gun sales. This March he even blocked the re-import of 87,000 60-year-old M-1 Garands and 770,000 collectible M-1 carbines from South Korea, lest they “fall into the wrong hands.”

Whose hands? Twelve-pound combat rifles are available at every pawn shop in America, but I’ve never heard of an urban drug gangster whose weapon of choice is a long rifle with a tricky eight-round clip, designed to work well in mud and snow. The president means your hands and mine.

Nonetheless, I’d bet that some time on Aug. 27 Ms. Jackson’s private phone rang, and a Chicago voice she knows very well said, “Listen you stupid (characterization deleted), we don’t have enough problems? We want the GUN OWNERS out in the streets this fall? You take this birdshot petition out for a ride and you make sure I don’t see that stronz around here no more, understand? Leave the gun; bring home the cannoli.”

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