Skip to comments.Conn. Gun Club Can be Sued for Lead Pollution
Posted on 07/20/2005 10:28:54 AM PDT by 2nd amendment mama
A group of homeowners who live near a gun club have standing to sue the club for dumping lead and other ammunition-related pollutants into the surrounding area, a Connecticut federal court has ruled .
The court dismissed one of the homeowners' claims under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, concluding that lead shot is not "hazardous waste" at the time it is discharged from a firearm because it is being used for its intended purpose.
The court's ruling permits the homeowners to press their remaining claims under the RCRA and the Clean Water Act.
The Metacon Gun Club Inc. has operated a shooting range in Simsbury, Conn., for 15 years, court filings say. Members and guests are permitted to use large and small firearms, including shotguns, assault rifles and anti-tank guns at the site. The club borders the Farmington River, as well as a golf course, riding stable and Talcott Mountain State Park.
The Simsbury-Avon Preservation Society LLC, composed of six homeowners who live near the site, claims the gun club causes water and soil contamination from chromium, lead, ammunition fragments and other pollutants. It alleges that "thousands of pounds of lead" were deposited into the environment since 1980 and the area shows a lead presence well above that allowed by state environmental laws.
Simsbury-Avon and its individual members sued Metacon for violations of the RCRA and the CWA. Specifically, it maintains that Metacon violated the RCRA by open dumping lead and lead debris. It further alleges that Metacon, an owner and operator of a waste facility, has engaged in hazardous waste disposal without obtaining a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency or the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
In addition, Simsbury-Avon claims that Metacon violated the CWA by discharging lead bullets and debris into the Farmington River and its wetlands without an EPA or DEP permit. The homeowners' group has requested declarative and injunctive relief as well as civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day for each RCRA and CWA violation.
Metacon moved to dismiss the claims, arguing that the group lacks standing to sue. Metacon contends that when the suit was filed May 13, 2004, the Simsbury-Avon Preservation Society did not legally exist. Further, the defendant maintains that adding individual plaintiffs does not cure the original defect.
Judge Janet B. Arterton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut disagreed. Although the group was officially incorporated five days after the complaint was filed, Simsbury-Avon and its individual members have standing to sue, she found. The judge noted that the group was a de facto corporation May 11, 2004, when its articles of incorporation were first submitted.
The judge dismissed one of the group's RCRA claims, which asserted that Metacon disposed of hazardous waste without a permit. In so ruling, Judge Arterton relied on a January 2001 EPA publication in which the agency concluded that lead shot is not hazardous waste subject to the RCRA at the time it is discharged from a firearm because it is being used for its intended purpose.
Judge Arterton found the EPA's exclusion of lead shot and bullets from the definition of "solid waste" in the RCRA reasonable.
"At the time a target shooter fires a bullet, the shooter is not intending to 'abandon' the bullet but rather to use it to hit a target. He or she is putting the lead bullet to its intended use," she said.
It is like the people who buy houses next to a farm and then complain about the smell of manure...
How can Lead be a pollutant? It's an element.
When the gun club reclaims the lead their is no problem and this type of lead does not leach out very easily.
This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. If there's enough to lead there to be considered pollution, there's enough lead there that a person could make money mining it. Oh well, there's no room for common sense when it comes to environmentalism. What's sad is that the EPA will back the plaintiffs all the way.
Same way some humans are a pollutant, the place and time make them a pollutant.
What was there first, the gun club or the homes? I smell a back-door attack, probably instigated by Sarah Brady's bunch of gun-grabbers.
I want to see a demo of that!
Wow! That's one hell of a gun club!
BWA HAHAHA... I love how the media sensationalizes firearms. Instead of leaving it at "large and small firearms" they take it that extra step to make sure it's known that these people are apparently "EVIL" cuz they use their assault rifles and anti-tank guns.
Exactly...when I lived in the country in CT I had people complain about that very issue. Stupidity is rampant in CT and among liberals. Thank God I'm in a red state now...LOL
And the solubility of lead into water is? ...... Hmmmmm....
Not only this, but the whole "lead free" movement seems to be Chicken Little writ large! Why not ban copper?
So is arsenic.
The CT state police range is just down the street from Metacon.
I wonder if it'll be sued too?
These losers are suing the possibility of pollution, trying to place an unbearable burden on the defendant to prove himself innocent.
Not exactly the way the system is supposed to work.
Plus, have you ever tried to dissolve lead in water? Try it sometime. ;)
"Simsbury-Avon Preservation Society"
What a bunch of saps...
This could, if done skillfully, be manipulated into an amicus scenario, whereby the entire "lead free" movement might be discredited and made legally indefensible. T'would be nice.
H*ll, I want to join! Sounds like lots of fun!
I'm sure copper is a little farther down the list. Use of freon is either banned or severly restricted, I'm not sure which, because of the global warming hoax.
Or next to a drag strip and complain about the noise.
Good point. The good judge will change her mind in a hurry when the cops all get sued for their firing ranges. Never mind, the judge will probably just pass a law exempting the cops, they can do that now.
What about those of us you left behind? :-(
There's good points to be made on both sides of this argument. Why shouldn't the gun club be a good steward of the environment?
Suburban sprawl is a fact of life in America. Lots of businesses get pushed out by the new surrounding lifestyle. Sure, the pig farmer gets pushed around by his new neighbors. Then he sells for more money than he ever dreamed of.
OTOH, I hope every one of the plaintiffs eschews lawn fertilizer, thereby doing his/her part not to pollute the Farmington River.
BTW, this ammo-pollution is a big part of why the U.S. can't sell off the military bases closed by BRAC. The pollution caused by spent ammo is real, according to our military.
"Members and guests are permitted to use large and small firearms, including shotguns, assault rifles and anti-tank guns at the site."
My definition of assault weapon and some gun-ignorant reporter's definition of assault weapon would probably differ. A true assault weapon has a selector switch and is capable of either automatic or semiautomatic fire. My semi-auto only Romanian AK is NOT an assault weapon! The reporter probably considers anything that holds more than two rounds to be an assault weapon.
And anti-tank guns? The reporter probably thinks a puny 20mm Lahti is an anti-tank gun. Maybe the reporter saw a .50-cal Barrett on the line. A true anti-tank gun would probably be 90mm or better, like the old M56 Scorpion.
I wonder if anyone knows if the club was actually doing anything besides normal range operations?
Imagine, we were hoping that 50 or so people would come...we had hundreds. There were about 30 different weapons to play with. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.....LOL
BTW, I'm the Lee Ann in the article.
The gun club. And what's not mentioned in the article, is that the State Police also have a range, just a couple of hundred yards down the road.
This is how they closed the range at my company. Range was indoors, small class only, or small loads. But the firing into the back wall did release lead into the air. Rather than fight it, the employees lost a nice range. Why was it a problem?
Well the range was used by other groups during work hours, and they sued. (American Red Cross used the range to run a blood donor program, I always thought that was funny -- lying there giving blood and looking at the holes in the ceiling from mis aimed shots.)
Thanks, I forgot to mention that...LOL
The reporter is slipping. They didn't mention anti-aircraft guns, RPGs, and mortars, not to mention Saturday Night Specials.
All under the Leftist umbrella of "environmentalism." Gack.
You're about to be two fewer in numbers. The communist tide is cresting and it's going to come crashing down. I'd prefer not to be drowned in it.
Also, don't most ranges periodically collect the lead to recycle, (ie... easy cash).
Any drop in ozone level, whether from SSTs (supersonic jets) or CFCs would allow more ultraviolet light to reach the Earth s surface--an effect that holds severe consequences for life on the planet. Exposure to ultraviolet light enhances an individual's risk for skin cancer and cataracts so an increase in this radiation could lead to more cases of such diseases. Ultraviolet light also harms food crops and other plants as well as many species of animals."
Thanks for posting this. It's not what I wanted to hear(especially since it's federal), but what I needed to hear.
OK, it is an indoor range...
I wish I could fire off a TOW. Could get a little pricey though. I wonder if you can load your own TOW.
"the motivation of most hackers is not criminal"
The homeowners are basically upset about the noise, so the range should install a steel backdrop to collect spent rounds. Make it in such a way that the echo will be tenfold the previous noise. The idiots knew there was a shooting range there when they bought the houses!
You can be sure of that. Most lawsuits are LAWYER MOTIVATED, NOT plaintif motivated.
They tried this with a gun club I was a member of. They had a hundred year lease granted in 1910.
They will be gone in 2010 no doubt.
Whatever it takes is whatever they are willing to do.
And they are willing to wait.
....and anti-tank guns at the site.
Wasn't there something in Private Ryan about a sock soaked in oil? What's the fun in that? I'll stick by my Ruger thank you.
" I wonder if you can load your own TOW."
Bookmarking for potential future Darwin Award candidate! ;^)
Indoor ranges collect lead, brass, etc on a regular basis, I'm not sure about outdoor ranges.
I recall hearing about the National Park Service doing some tests on a long established outdoor range in WV. They found no leaching of lead at any level.
(cripes, you can visit any old Civil War battlefield and still find intact bullets.)
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