Paul Bedard reports:

In a swift and unexpected decision, the Environmental Protection Agency today rejected a petition from environmental groups to ban the use of lead in bullets and shotgun shells, claiming it doesn't have jurisdiction to weigh on the controversial Second Amendment issue. The decision came just hours after the Drudge Report posted stories from Washington Whispers and the Weekly Standard about how gun groups were fighting the lead bullet ban.

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The EPA had planned to solicit public responses to the petition for two months, but this afternoon issued a statement rejecting a 100-page request from the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, and three other groups for a ban on lead bullets, shot, and fishing sinkers. The agency is still considering what to do about sinkers.

The NRA's chief lobbyist Chris Cox says: β€œIt’s outrageous that this petition even went this far.... We applaud the EPA for its understanding of the law and its common sense in this situation β€” both of which were totally missing in the petition filed by these extreme anti-gun and anti-hunting groups.”

EPA press officials did not return phone calls or emails from THE WEEKLY STANDARD on Thursday.

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