Lead, first employed in weaponry by the Romans, has been the metal of choice for use in bullets and shotgun shells for more than seven centuries. However, since at least the mid-1980s, its use has been under attack by various environmental and animal rights groups, joined periodically by government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In recent months the campaign has heated up considerably, and gives no sign of cooling down; within the U.S. or abroad.
The movement against lead in ammunition has progressed much farther in Europe than here. For one thing, the culture prevalent in Europe (Switzerland being a notable exception) considers firearms ownership a privilege rather than a right; subject to easy and frequent government control. The environmental and animal rights movement is also well-entrenched throughout Europe and within the European Union bureaucracy.
These forces in Europe have resulted in at