State lead bullet ban proposed

June 24, 2013

bulletsA state Senate panel will consider a proposal today to completely ban the use of lead ammunition in California.

If the measure by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) makes it into law, all lead would be banned in bullets, shell shot and other ammunition in all parts of the state.

Presently, non lead ammunition must be used in specific areas for taking big game or coyotes in deer hunting areas in the California condor range.

According to documents presented by the Southern California lawmaker, lead poisoning “has been shown to be a leading cause of mortality in condors, as condors are scavengers and feed primarily on dead carrion – a source of ingested lead. Condors and other wildlife – including avian predators and scavengers such as bald eagles, golden eagles, turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks and ravens, remained threatened by environmental lead. Numerous upland game bird species, including mourning doves, ring-necked pheasants and wild turkeys, are also threatened.”

Opposition to the bill is organized by the California Rifle and Pistol Association, officials of which said in response to the bill’s presentation that the lead ban “has failed to decrease” condor deaths by lead poisoning.

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It’s worth throwing a couple of things out on the table.

First, metallic lead in the environment is pretty much a non-issue. While the lead in bullets is not identical to lead in its natural state, it’s just as stable (in regards to decomposition into water or soil). It is NOT the same as the lead in chemical compounds, such as those found in gasoline additives, paint, or solder.

While the evidence is strong that lead bullet fragments and shot are toxic to some scavenger bird species, it is not strong enough to justify an outright ban. With the exception of the condor, which was already endangered when it was released back into a toxic environment, lead isn’t having any significant effect on other species… not eagles, ravens, or buzzards. While individual birds are dying and evidence suggest lead ammo, the species as a whole are doing fine, or even increasing. There are no grounds here to ban lead ammo, especially considering all of the other non-essential activities and products we use that do far more harm.

Even more important to point out is that there is no evidence at all that eating game killed with lead shot, slugs, or bullets is harmful to people. Research has been done, and it simply didn’t present the findings so many people seem to want (or expect).

Replacing lead for shotguns was relatively simple. There are six shotgun gauges (bore sizes) in use in the US, and the ballistic requirements for shot are very basic. On the other hand, rifle and handgun ammunition comes in thousands of variations… and all of them are based on very specific ballistic performance. Copper-based ammunition is good, for the most part, but it is very expensive and extremely difficult to find for all but the most common calibers. A lead ammo ban will, essentially, make many firearms useless… or at least illegal to use… since there will be no lead-free options available.

The argument about the ATF re-defining “cop-killer” bullets to include lead-free ammo is intentional misdirection, put out to create fear in folks already paranoid about the loss of gun rights. While CA has certainly pushed the limits of common sense with proposed gun laws, changing the definition of armor-piercing is not part of that list.

There’s a reasonable discussion to be had about voluntarily switching to lead-free ammo. That conversation needs to be based in fact and logic, not myth, hyperbole and outright lies.

” First, metallic lead in the environment is pretty much a non-issue. While the lead in bullets is not identical to lead in its natural state, it’s just as stable (in regards to decomposition into water or soil). ”

Fiddlesticks! Perhaps correct only in that it is MORE concentrated, and thus more poisonous.

It is widely accepted that the Roman Empire fell in large part through long term lead exposure from water contaminated by the use of lead plumbing.

18th and 19th century sailors succumbed to confusion and dementia from eating tainted foods from cans soldered with lead.

20th century moonshiners ignorantly blinded and killed thousands by using lead to make their homemade stills.

The evidence is overwhelming concerning the hazards surrounding lead.

The CDC states: “Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes un recognized . “.

Since there are less dangerous alternatives, why don’t do the smart, modern thing; and not become distracted or dissuaded by a false narrative that is merely a political agenda stuck in the past ?

Slowerfaster, I’m neither a geologist nor a chemist, so I can’t lay out the fine differences between naturally occurring metallic lead and spent bullets or shot. But I can say that none of your examples refutes my argument (and as far as the causes for the fall of the Roman Empire, “widely accepted” theory is still only theory… not fact).

I know lead has a long and ugly history of poisoning humans. Under the proper conditions, it becomes readily bioavailable and once that happens it wreaks havoc. But those conditions don’t exist in the majority of soil and waterways, and actual examples of spent lead ammunition leaching into soil and groundwater are extremely rare… even on shooting ranges where decades of lead have accumulated.

Like so many others, you jump to the CDC statements about lead toxicity without looking at the likely pathways of exposure. Ever read the MSDS for lead, or the OSHA recommendations? Ingested metallic lead is the least likely path of exposure and is generally not a concern. The CDC’s own research on people who eat lead-killed game showed no dangerous blood-lead level increases, and despite the agency’s tendency to err on the side of caution, the most they could offer as a “warning” is the recommendation to limit the amount of lead-killed game eaten by pregnant or nursing mothers. Meat processors were provided with recommended best practices for minimizing the amount of lead fragments that made their way into processed game. And the recommendations to hunters were to consider bullets that don’t fragment as readily, and to consider targeting areas away from large bones.

The thing that most stands out here is that the CDC did not, and does not recommend a ban on lead ammo. Whatever risks their research may have exposed were not significant enough to even warrant a recommendation to state wildlife agencies to phase out lead ammo. This agency, charged with protecting the health of the nation and made up of doctors,chemists, physiologists, etc. did not find cause for general alarm in regards to the continued use of lead shot or bullets.

But the one thing I do agree with is that we start to consider alternatives. That’s an approach I’ve advocated ever since I first became involved with this issue. Hunters should become more educated on the topic, and as individuals, they should make the choices that work for them. This is much more likely to happen if the rhetoric, political agenda, and fear-mongering propaganda were left in the dust.

Unfortunately, the ship of reasonable and apolitical discussion has pretty much sailed. With the NRA on one side and HSUS on the other, hunters and non-hunters alike are being inundated with propaganda, lies, and misdirection.

nice B-slap! Huzzah!

***** post!

…to all the anti-gun anti 2nd Amendment crowd, beware of all the Machivellian arguments to effectively take away the root purpose of the 2nd Amendment, to secure the people from tyranny, dictatorships, centralized order (ie., monitary policy, debt, state religion albeit atheism, monotheism or polytheism, etc….

I strongly believe that the 2nd Amendment is the citizen’s nuclear weapon, it’s the ultimate deterant and if a citizen misuses their firearm, they are in jeopardy of losing their liberty, property and standing in the community, checks and balances are in place.

Fact! Crime will always be part of society.

Fact! Crime v. Terrorism v. Act of War is a subjective State definition

I see the Prohibition of Lead Bullets as another step of emasculating the citizen. By possesion of LEAD BULLETS you will become a criminal and its not a stretch to see the slippery slope of being labeled a TERRORIST.

So given the current and changing NSA policy of data mining, you can now imagine the expanded criteria of LEO/MILITARY justified drone activity (albeit Federal v. CA State)….more cause for Big Sister to stick her nose where it doesn’t belong.

I believe the proponents that are attempting to PROHIBIT LEAD AMMUNITION is nothing more than a Red Herring. If they had another viable substitute to LEAD, whether it’s another natural occuring substance, Unobtanium, or some other mysterious material that can match the physical properties, availability and efficacy of lead, I’m listening….

Advocates that would wish to continue dumping a known toxic substance into the environment ( wherever that may be ) must have already ingested too much into their own systems.

i agree with that. the lead compromises a bird’s immune system. i hunt in Colorado with steel. the other interesting side are some of the alternatives which are purportedly being considered as being “armour-piercing” by the ATF. can’t win for losing.

Lots of talk, but no-one is thinking. No more lead bullets ? Guess this also means no more b-b guns, or pellet guns. Yes………. great idea … let ‘s disarm the childern… possibly this will solve all the problems… and in a few years we wont even know what a gun was. New bow and arrow age ?

spears & tomahawks….oh, put flintsone on the list

(andy partridge)

Programmes of violence,

As entertainment,

Brings the disease into your room.

We know the germ,

Which is man-made in metal,

Is really a key to your own tomb.

Prevention is better than cure,

Bad apples affecting the pure,

You’ll gather your senses I’m sure

Then agree to,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

And never more to fire them.

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

And never more desire them.

Children will want them,

Mothers supply them,

As long as your killers are heroes.

And all the media

Will fiddle while rome burns,

Acting like modern-time neros.

Prevention is better than cure,

Bad apples affecting the pure,

You’ll gather your senses I’m sure

Then agree to,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

And never more to fire them.

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

And never more desire them.

I’m speaking to the justice league of america.

The u s of a,

Hey you,

Yes you in particular!

When it comes to the judgement day and you’re standing at the gates with your weaponry,

You dead go down on one knee,

Clasp your hands in prayer and start quoting me,

‘cos we say…

Our father we’ve managed to contain the epidemic in one place, now,

Let’s hope they shoot themselves instead of others,

Help to civilize the race now.

We’ve trapped the cause of the plague,

In the land of the free and the home of the brave.

If we listen quietly we can hear them shooting from grave to grave.

You ought to,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

And never more to fire them.

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

Melt the guns,

And never more desire them.

and of course, Capt Kirk, i must put my phaser on stun

Perfect Storm Brewing

1. Environmenal Groups to ban lead ammunition. Alternate materials include tungsten alloys, bismuth, steel, iron, brass, copper or bronze.

2. ATF’s pending re-characterization of “armor piercing” which includes tungsten alloys, bismuth, steel, iron, brass, copper or bronze.

Ugghhh……what in the hell are we going to be left with – wooden tips?

“We aren’t taking guns away from you”, says liberal friends, media, and politicians. Directly? Maybe. Indirectly? Absolutely!

Good bye Freedom!

“2. ATF’s pending re-characterization of “armor piercing” which includes tungsten alloys, bismuth, steel, iron, brass, copper or bronze.” actually, i did read about that at really makes you wonder if we are being buffaloed and thrown red-herrings.

You’re getting there, tomsquawk, please keep researching and reading. Discover it for yourself – multiple avenues of information; don’t take our words for it: find it yourself and discover.

Based on Bad Science and political motives.

what bad science?

The connection between lead from bullets and lead from other sources. Birds are still dyeing in “no lead bullet” areas.

good point. i haven’t looked at Ducks Unlimited lately but i wonder what their research shows. pesticides, genetic engineering, could be alot of things. lead is fairly obvious.

Lead is a soft material and tends to flaten out when striking its target. That tends to slow it down on impact. Steel bullets will tend to travel farther on impact. Steel bullets wil cause wounds than kills in game and will likely lead to more unintended victims in random drive by shootings and other shooting.

i suggest that we all should do some research on a complex issue. just Google up lead vs steel shot. there isn’t a simplistic explanation but i would error on the side of steel.

Never “google” anything. Use Ixquick or Startpage. Google keeps a tracking cookie on your computer and delivers up results based on your previous searches and algorithms that determine where you stand politically/psychologically/etc. so that, basically, they can tell you what you want to hear and keep you on the “digital plantation” forever. In other words, Google just told you what you wanted to hear about “lead vs steel shot,” didn’t they?


Ixquick turned up same articles

DuckDuckGO all the way, for me! It naturally allows one to search anonymously… even google and bing (just append your search with !g or !b). Anyway, happy searching!

We have had a non tox ammo mandate in the special condor zone since 2008.

How many more of these birds have died since that time? How many have died at the hands of the supposed helpers? How many have died from eating other non food items? How many have died by other means than lead bullets?

Our focus should be on the elimination of the most egregious of all bird killers. No single act would insure the safety of our feathered friends more than the slaughter of house cats. After all, this is about saving birds——-right? Cat owners should be required to register these creatures of mass destruction and pass a background check for bird sensitivity. It’s only fair. Yours in solidarity until the last cat draws its last breath.



Don’t try and bring logic and facts into this particular “argument” – it makes people FEEL GOOD somewhere, so it bears a state-wide ban!

Sorry, this to me as the same as the air resorces board banning trucks older than 96 because they could cause cancer in some people from the nox they might spew in the air.

Nothing but hooey.

Copper ammo is way expensive and is gonna be harder to get than ammo is now,Max is propbly right just another way to control us.

Oh rubbish, it’s a war against firearms. If they were serious they’d go after wind turbines which kill hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

Colorado has banned lead. I’ve done plenty of goose and duck hunting there. I’m still a bad shot with either lead or steel, so why not?

Well, if you don’t need lead, you really don’t need steel either… or copper… or that firearm. Or those privacy rights… or any of those “rights.” The government should just tell you what you need, as they see fit.