Gun Owners of America – which prides itself in being to the right of the NRA — has been pushing the creative conspiracy theory that the Obama administration is using the Environmental Protection Agency to institute backdoor gun control. GOA’s story goes that a Missouri lead smelter that shut down rather than comply with clean air regulations was in fact forced shut by the Obama administration in order to suppress the supply of lead used for manufacturing bullets.
The first problem with this story is that, as Steve Benen pointed out, the EPA started going after the plant in question during the Bush administration.
The story gained so much traction, though, that the NRA felt compelled to issue a statement earlier this month reassuring its members that “this particular facility’s closure should not have the dramatic impact that some have predicted.”
The word of the great conspiracy also reached a major bullet manufacturer, which itself issued a statement saying that its “supply should not be in jeopardy” and that the Missouri factory’s closure presented “no reason for alarm,” as the conservative outlet NewsMax reported:
The NRA-ILA, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, issued a statement on Dec. 5 citing information it received from manufacturers and drawing the conclusion that “while many factors can affect the market for ammunition, this particular facility’s closure should not have the dramatic impact that some have predicted.”
Sierra Bullets, a manufacturer in Sedalia, Mo., in business since 1947, said in a Nov. 1 statement that the smelter plant closure was not likely to have a negative impact on operations in the near term, but it very well could in the future.
Sierra plant engineer Darren Leskiw said: “Our supply should not be in jeopardy and we do not anticipate any changes in our supply chain at this time. Could the lack of primary lead create a little more demand for recycled lead? Sure, but how much is unknown. Could this increase in demand also create an increase in price? Sure, but again, by how much is unknown at this time. In short, we do not see any reason for alarm.”
But according to Gun Owners of America, these denials just serve to confirm the group’s suspicions. GOA spokesman Mike Hammond told NewsMax yesterday that the NRA and the manufacturer’s dismissals of the EPA-gun control conspiracy theory “only drive home his point”:
But to Hammond of the Gun Owners of America, those remarks aren’t reassuring.
The statements only drive home his point, he said, that the smelter plant closure is in fact going to impact ammunition supplies and costs. Hammond suggested industry insiders were trying to play down that scenario due to business concerns.
“You don’t want people questioning if your company is going to shut down,” he said.
That is, the fact that these two groups had to go out of their way to debunk the conspiracy theory that Gun Owners of America promoted proves that the conspiracy theory is valid. We can only imagine that GOA is applying the same sound logic to some of its other favorite paranoias.