October 17, 2013

California Bans Lead Bullets – Some Gun Bills Signed, Others Vetoed

Last Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 711, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, which will expand the state’s existing prohibition on hunting with lead ammunition in the California condor range to the entire state. When the legislation is fully implemented, California will be the first and only state to prohibit the use of lead ammunition for all hunting. To read Governor Brown’s signing statement, click here.

The signing of AB 711 signals the unfortunate end of a unified effort by the sportsmen’s community and professional fish and wildlife managers to oppose this unnecessary effort to chip away at hunters’ rights in California. In early September, CSF joined 23 organizations, representing millions of sportsmen and women from throughout the country, by signing a letter expressing opposition to the bill. Additionally, the California Fish and Game Wardens’ Association, representing the state employees who will be tasked with enforcing the law, joined this effort by formally requesting that Governor Brown veto the legislation.

Despite these objections from the sportsmen’s community and others who will be negatively impacted by its adoption, proponents of the bill, including well-funded anti-hunting groups, used flawed arguments to advocate for a policy that will ultimately make it more difficult for California’s hunters to acquire ammunition and likely result in decreased funding for wildlife management.

Although the signing of California’s lead ammunition ban left a dark cloud hanging over the state on Friday, there is perhaps a silver lining. In addition to signing AB 711, Governor Brown vetoed SB 374, a bill which would have classified all semi-automatic firearms with a detachable magazine as “assault” weapons, effectively banning them from public use.

Had this legislation been signed into law, those who currently own these firearms would have been required to register the guns with the state and been prohibited from transferring or selling them in the future. To read Governor Brown’s veto message, click here.

In addition to these measures, Governor Brown also signed and vetoed several other bills that will impact current and future gun owners in California. For a comprehensive list, see below:

Signed Bills:

• AB 48 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (Berkeley): bans magazine conversion kits that increase capacity.

• AB 170 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (Gardena): only individuals, as opposed to an organization or trust, may be given a permit for “assault weapons,” .50 BMG rifles, or machine guns.

• AB 231 by Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (San Francisco): “criminal storage” expanded to include a loaded firearm where children could easily access it.

• AB 500 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (San Francisco): increased time for background checks and further restrictions on safe storage in residences with a person who is prohibited from owning firearms.

• AB 538 by Assemblymember Richard Pan (Sacramento): firearm dealers must provide a record of sale to the purchaser.

• AB 539 by Assemblymember Richard Pan (Sacramento): a person who is prohibited from owning a firearm may transfer it to a firearms dealer for storage.

• AB 711 by Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (Lakewood): bans the use of lead ammo for hunting.

• AB 1131 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (Berkeley): extends the amount of time someone is prohibited from owning a firearm after being deemed a threat by a therapist.

• SB 363 by Senator Roderick D. Wright (Los Angeles): “criminal storage” expanded to include a loaded firearm where it can be easily accessed by someone prohibited from owning firearms.

• SB 683 by Senator Marty Block (San Diego): long-gun owners must obtain safety certificates.

• SB 127 by Senator Ted Gaines (Rocklin): therapists whose patients make threats towards other individuals must notify the authorities of the possible danger.

Vetoed Bills:

• AB 169 by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (Sacramento): handguns that have not been tested or approved by the state would be subject to further restrictions.

• AB 180 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (Alameda): a local proposal that would have given the city of Oakland an exemption from state laws so it can pass its own, stricter bills.

• SB 299 by Senator Mark DeSaulnier (Concord): requires gun owners to report a firearm theft or loss to authorities.

• SB 374 by Senator Darrell Steinberg (Sacramento): bans all semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines.

• SB 475 by Senator Mark Leno (San Francisco): a local bill that asked for a ban on gun shows at the Cow Palace.

• SB 567 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Santa Barbara): all shotguns with a revolving cylinder and rifled bore would be considered illegal.

• SB 755 by Senator Lois Wolk (Davis): widens the list of crimes that prohibit a person from owning firearms.

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?

States Involved:

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