On Friday, August 29, in a win for sportsmen and women, the California Assembly failed to pass SB 53, legislation that would have required retailers to collect customers’ personal information and submit it to the California Department of Justice after each ammunition transaction occurring in the state. Prior to being amended late in the legislative process, SB 53 would have gone even further by requiring purchasers to undergo a background check and acquire a permit prior to buying ammo.
In the final hours of the 2013 / 2014 Legislative Session, SB 53 supporters brought the bill to the Assembly Floor for a vote three times in an effort to pass it. Each time the bill failed to receive the 41 votes necessary for adoption. Ultimately, the bill was defeated with a roll call vote of 35 voting for, 35 voting against and 8 not voting on SB 53.
By unnecessarily making it more difficult and expensive for California’s sportsmen and women to enjoy hunting and recreational shooting, SB 53 represented a direct threat to the American System of Conservation Funding. As a component of this System, revenue generated from dedicated taxes on ammunition is used to support state wildlife conservation agencies such as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. In addition, if passed, SB 53 could have resulted in less funding for the management of the Golden State’s public wildlife resources, and would make it more burdensome to enjoy some of California’s most cherished pastimes.
Ultimately, California’s sportsmen and women answered the call by contacting their elected officials en masse to strongly oppose SB 53 in the days leading up to the bill’s defeat. Furthermore, lawmakers’ ability to understand the consequences of making it more difficult for consumers to participate in the activities that fund conservation solidified bipartisan opposition to the bill. This understanding of sportsmen and women’s concerns resulted in all four bipartisan Co-Chairs of the California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus, Senator Jean Fuller, Senator Cathleen Galgiani, Assemblymember Brian Dahle and Assemblymember Jim Frazier voting against SB 53.
For more information about the California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus, click here.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?