Last week, the California Assembly voted to pass A 711, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, which would expand the state’s existing prohibition on hunting with lead ammunition in the California condor range to the entire state. If passed by the Senate and signed by California Governor Jerry Brown, A 711 would make California the first and only state to prohibit the use of lead ammunition for all hunting.
California sportsmen and women and those who hunt and shoot in California should be concerned about this piece of legislation for several reasons:
• Anti-hunting interests have long used emotional arguments and inconclusive scientific evidence to suggest that lead ammunition has deleterious impacts on wildlife at the population level. Condor blood-level lead contamination is still detectable five years after the 2007 ban on lead ammunition in condor country, likely due to scavengers’ ingestion of lead microtrash and lead paint chips. Banning lead ammunition will do nothing to minimize existing sources of lead contamination.
• Opponents of A 711 point out that banning lead ammunition will make it difficult or impossible to acquire many calibers of ammunition. Although some ammo manufacturers currently produce alternatives to lead, these products are typically more expensive and are only available for popular calibers. Additionally, the federal government classifies many types of nontraditional ammunition as “armor piercing,” further limiting its availability.
• Banning lead ammunition creates additional barriers to hunting and shooting, makes it more difficult to purchase popular products and will ultimately harm California’s rural communities that depend on sportsmen and women to shop at local stores, eat at restaurants and pay sales taxes that fund critical infrastructure outside of large metropolitan areas.
• People who purchase firearms and ammunition, along with hunting licenses, are the users that fund wildlife conservation that ultimately benefits the public (not just hunters). Making the products that people can afford and want to buy unavailable will ultimately result in fewer resources for professional wildlife managers who work at agencies such as the California Department of Game & Fish. With fewer resources, the public’s wildlife resources will ultimately suffer.
• If California passes A 711, anti-hunting groups have vowed to export the legislation to other states.
For more information, please visit www.sportsmenslink.org and check out CSF’s state issue brief on lead ammunition bans.
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?