California lawmakers want to ban hunters from using ammo made of lead. Legislation attempting to alter the traditional method of hunting has just recently emerged for the second time in six years. The latest government overreach attempt is allegedly being debated due to the negative impact lead ammo has on the environment.
If the California lead ammo law passes, hunters will have to shoot deer and other game animals with less toxic bullets. Copper is one of the metals California politicians consider preferable to lead ammunition. Once again the misguided liberals in positions of power within the state have failed to consider the fiscal impact of a pending law. Copper ammo would cost a whole lot more than traditional ammo bullets and likely limit the number of boxes a gun owner could buy—but perhaps that is the point.
Supporters of a lead ammo ban won a significant victory in 2007 when a similar bill outlawed traditional hunting bullets in the region of the state where the California condor is known to frequent. The vulnerable bird species is reportedly “prone to lead poisoning.” Beginning in 2008, California hunters have also been banned from using lead ammunition in the coastal mountain range which comprises Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties.
The new California lead ammo ban, known as AB 711, would be applied to the entire state. The legislation has already been passed by the California Assembly and is awaiting a vote by the state senate. If the bill becomes law, California would be the first state in America to ban lead ammunition for hunters.
An excerpt from California AB 711 reads:
Requires the Fish and Game Commission (FGC), by July 1, 2014, to certify, by regulation, non-lead ammunition for these purposes. Defines non-lead ammunition as including only ammunition in which there is no lead content. Requires FGC to also adopt regulations by July 1, 2014, that phase in the non-lead ammunition requirements to be fully implemented statewide by no later than July 1, 2016. Provides that the existing restrictions on use of lead ammunition in California condor habitat shall continue in effect until the statewide non-lead ammunition requirements are implemented.”
The existing lead ammo restrictions require that only non-lead center fire rifle and pistol ammunition be fired when hunting coyotes and big game in specific deer hunting zones in the California condor range.
According to the pending legislation’s text, gun owners would only be permitted to fire lead bullets at shooting ranges. Proponents of the lead ammunition ban feel the strict hunting law would be the only way to truly protect the condors. The animal rights activists maintain that it is sometimes fatal for condors if they eat “gut piles” that contain lead ammo fragments.
The reasoning behind the California ammo ban law seems flawed on its face. Test results from areas where lead bullets have already been banned reportedly showed “no measurable reduction” in condor deaths or lead poisoning cases.
Democratic Assemblyman from Lakewood Anthony Rendon had this to say about the proposed lead ammo ban:
“It’s not about hunting. It’s really just a common sense thing about environmental and human health.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims there is no safe level of exposure for humans when it comes to lead. Millions of people eat wild game shot with lead bullets every year. A majority of folks who live off the grid on a homestead or in rural areas have eaten virtually nothing but wild game their entire lives with no lead poisoning issues. Instead of supporting yet more government overreach and unnecessary laws, the CDC should be knee-deep in a study researching the dangers of genetically modified food on the human race.
Gun industry and outdoor sportsmen’s groups largely oppose the lead ammo ban. The various associations believe that a lead ammo ban would result in either hunters hanging up their guns or traveling to other states to look for game. City liberals fail to understand that those of us who live in rural areas often look at hunting not as a sport, but as an affordable way to put food on the table. California preppers and low-income rural residents will be hit especially hard if the lead bullets ban becomes law.
Vice President of the California Fish and Wildlife Commission Richard Rogers had this to say about the lead bullets ban:
“We know that the spreading of lead shot and lead bullets throughout California’s wild lands is not a good idea – it’s just not a good idea.”
UC Santa Cruz Professor of Environmental Toxicology Donald Smith claims that the ingestion of a sand-grain size lead bullet fragment is more of the metal than necessary to “induce severe lead poisoning.” Lead ammo ban opponents are actively fighting the new California hunting bill. NRA Director of State and Local Affairs Charles Cunningham sent a letter to politicians defining the difference between metallic lead which was once used in paint and the elemental lead used in ammunition. Elemental lead does not dissolve in the stomach or become absorbed in the bloodstream according to Cunningham’s research.
The California lead ammunition ban bill contains amendments the state Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended. If the new hunting restriction becomes law, officials would have until 2020 to put policies into place, instead of 2016 as the original bill text mandated. Fish and Game Commission official Michael Sutton stated that the department has been considering the lead poisoning and contamination issue for years.
Humane Society of the United States representative Jennifer Fearing had this to say about the new hunting restrictions bill:
“We don’t have to choose between hunting and protecting wildlife. Removing lead from the environment isn’t just good science. It’s also the right thing to do.”
California AB 711 also states that lawmakers estimate it will “only cost” $50,000 for the state Fish and Wildlife agency to create new lead ammunition regulations and distribute educational materials to hunters about the new ban.
The lead ammo ban text claims that 50 years of research has clearly concluded that lead in the environment is a danger to public health and wildlife species. I researched Ohio lead poisoning deaths for humans and animals, and could find zero cases attributed to hunting activities. Although we do not have condors circling about our heads here in the Buckeye State, we are fortunate to have other scavenging avian species which would have been equally vulnerable to lead poisoning.
What do you think about the California lead ammo ban? Is it a veiled attempt to further limit Second Amendment rights?