Last Wednesday, the U.S Senate voted 68-31 to confirm Ryan Zinke as the 52nd interior secretary of the United States.
Zinke, a former Montana congressman and Navy SEAL, is also an avid hunter. And his confirmation was greeted with anticipation that he would reverse years of policies that limited hunting and outdoor opportunities for sportsmen and pro-Second Amendment citizens.
NRA-ILA executive director Chris W. Cox spoke for millions of Americans when he expressed his confidence that Zinke’s confirmation would lead to positive change:
On behalf of our 5 million members, the National Rifle Association congratulates Secretary Ryan Zinke on his confirmation as the 52nd secretary of the interior. The confirmation of an avid outdoorsman to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior marks the end of a hostile era towards hunters and sportsmen. The NRA looks forward to working with Secretary Zinke in the pursuit of true conservation that respects the rights of America’s outdoorsmen and women.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s senior vice president Lawrence Keane offered similar praise upon news of Zinke’s confirmation:The day after being confirmed, Zinke proved that Cox and Keane’s trust was not misplaced.
Secretary Zinke is a true friend of American sportsmen who believes in the inestimable value of our public lands. His leadership at the Department of the Interior offers new opportunity to preserve and promote our hunting and related outdoor traditions. He is an American hero, a lifelong hunter and angler, and a true conservationist in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt. The secretary of the interior is arguably the nation’s single most important position with regard to the management of federal lands, wildlife habitat and natural resources. Competing interests must be balanced with what will be in the best long-term interest of the nation. We look forward to standing with Secretary Zinke to help him achieve that mission.
The day after being confirmed, Zinke proved that Cox and Keane’s trust was not misplaced. He hit the ground running by rolling back an Obama-era anti-hunting and fishing control that rested on bans of traditional hunting ammunition and fishing tackle.
On Thursday, Zinke issued Secretarial Order 3346, which revoked a lead ammunition ban instituted on Jan. 19, the last full day of Barack Obama’s second term as president. The lead ban had been issued via a Director’s Order from National Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. It set in motion an insidious action that began with heightened regulation of traditional hunting ammunition, to culminate in an all-out prohibition after five years.
The ban was contained in Director Order 219. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) commented on the order, saying: “[D.O. 219] requires several initiatives to go into effect immediately. Regional directors are to work with state agencies to ban the use of traditional ammunition. It also ends the use of traditional ammunition on Federal land, including National Parks, tribal lands and national wildlife refuges in order to mirror policies in states where traditional ammunition is already restricted.”
The order also impacted bird hunters by stipulating that the “assistant director, Migratory Birds, in consultation with National Flyway Councils and individual states, [would] establish a process to phase in a requirement for the use of nontoxic ammunition for recreational hunting of mourning doves and other upland game birds.”“Given these facts, I conclude that the Order should be withdrawn.” — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.
Zinke’s Secreterial Order 3346 immediately revoked D.O. 219 and the lead ammunition ban contained in it. Zinke used the text of S.O. 3346 to explain his rationale: “After reviewing [D.O. 219] and the process by which it was promulgated, I have determined that the Order is not mandated by any existing statutory or regulatory requirement and was issued without significant communication, consultation, or coordination with affected stakeholders. Given these facts, I conclude that the Order should be withdrawn. Accordingly, the FWS Director’s Order 219 (Use of Nontoxic Ammunition and Fishing Tackle) is hereby revoked.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter @AWRHawkins, or reach him directly at [email protected].