March 20, 2017

Check your tackle box, keep an eye on your gun case

By Jason Smith, member of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Did you know that on his way out of office, President Obama tried to regulate the ammo in your gun and the fishing sinkers in your tackle box?

Before he jetted off to the Caribbean, President Obama managed to take a final swipe at Missourians’ way of life with "Director’s Order No. 219," a last-minute regulation that banned lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands. In other words, President Obama’s rule would not have allowed you to take shotgun shells or fishing sinkers with you to hunt in Mark Twain National Forest or fish at Clearwater Lake.

Printed out, the current Code of Federal Regulations would physically cover more than 2.5 acres of land. That is 175,268 pages of burdens weighing down Missourians. Fortunately, I was able to stop them from adding another page to that stack and defend our right to decide what we do with our weekends.

After hearing the concerns of hunters and fishermen in southern Missouri, I led the effort to have 60 Members of Congress send a letter to President Trump asking him to overturn the ban. You see, in Missouri, we know how to be good stewards of the land God has given us, and we do not need the federal government monitoring our movements while we enjoy creation. At the beginning of this month, my letter to President Trump resulted in the Obama-era lead ban being overturned by my friend and former colleague Ryan Zinke in one of his first acts as U.S. Department of Interior Secretary.

This rule had no basis in science and was written without any input from those most affected by its enactment. Sportsmen and fishermen are some of our country’s greatest conservationists. Obama’s order only served to hinder them from participating in the recreational use of federal lands they’ve enjoyed for decades. The regulatory red tape thrown up by unelected bureaucrats over the last eight years is exactly what the American people soundly rejected when they elected Donald Trump in November.

It was a complete overreach by the Obama administration to decide what type of ammunition or fishing tackle you carry while exploring the great outdoors of Missouri. In typical Washington, D.C. fashion, President Obama wanted to show Missourians that he knew what was best for us. Fortunately, we have a new president who understands and trusts us to tell him what we need, not the other way around.

We have all seen President Trump’s work thus far, undoing the damage of President Obama’s executive actions and appointing the right people like Secretary Zinke to do the same thing. After eight years of Obama’s overreach, whether it is something as big as Obamacare or as small as the fishing tackle you pack on a weekend trip with your family, I am committed to defending southern Missouri’s way of life.