Lead Ammunition Ban on the Move in New York

Contact: Joe Mullin, Northeastern States Manager

  • On March 30, New York Assembly Bill 5728 (A. 5728) – legislation that would prohibit the use of lead ammunition for hunting on “wildlife management areas, state forests, forest preserves, state parks or any other state-owned land that is open for hunting” as well as “land area contributing surface water to the New York City water supply” – passed the Assembly and was sent to the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation.
  • Just last year, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of opposition for this bill’s same-as version in the Senate, as did the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council, calling for a swift rejection of this legislation.
  • Wildlife management decisions such as lead ammunition bans must be left under the sound, scientifically based discretion of the state’s fish and wildlife agency and not the legislature.

Why it Matters: The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has opposed legislatively-driven lead ammunition bans in states across the nation for a variety of reasons. Simply put, state fish and wildlife agencies are in the best possible positions to make the necessary decisions and take reactionary measures to ensure the continued conservation of our nation’s fish and wildlife. Therefore, these decisions should and must be left to the discretion of the agencies.

In March of 2021, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted testimony against legislation that would have banned the use of lead ammunition for hunting on “wildlife management areas, state forests, forest preserves, state parks or any other state-owned land that is open for hunting” and “land area contributing surface water to the New York City water supply.” Similarly, the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council weighed in by sending a letter of opposition that addressed lead ammunition bans in both the Senate and Assembly. Flash forward to March 30 of this year, A. 5728 has passed the Assembly and was sent to be heard in the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation.

What sets A. 5728 apart from legislative efforts to ban lead ammunition in other states is that it prohibits its use in the “land area contributing surface water to the New York City water supply.” Despite the claimed risks to human health and safety, it is reported that an individual would have to eat a “blood-shot burger frequently to maintain enough metallic lead in your digestive system for these fragments to be a dangerous source of lead poisoning.” It therefore stands to reason that if directly consuming game meat shot with lead bullets has been proven to not have any such adverse effects, there is no cause for concern that lead bullets would somehow cause human health concerns in the state’s water supply.

Another concern is the availability and prices of ammunition. Generally, nontraditional ammunition is significantly more expensive than lead shot and is not nearly as readily available for purchase as traditional ammunition. From a cost standpoint, a ban on lead ammunition would require hunters to purchase exorbitantly more expensive nontraditional ammunition, which serves as a disincentive to active hunters and a barrier to entry for novice sportsmen and women across the state.

CSF will continue to oppose this lead ammunition ban and other misguided legislatively driven efforts as they arise. Additional updates will be provided as they are made available.

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