California hunters may lose lead bullets

September 16, 2013

Jerry BrownGovernor Jerry Brown may make California the first state in the country to ban the use of lead bullets for the purpose of hunting. [SF Gate]

AB 711, which would require hunters to use ammunition made from a metal other than lead, passed the legislature last week and is awaiting Brown’s signature.

Proponents of the bill argue that leftover fragments from lead ammunition discharge into the environment and harm humans and nontarget animals.

“The Centers for Disease Control and leading scientists from around the country agree that there is no safe level of lead exposure for humans,” said Democratic assemblyman and co-author of the bill, Richard Pan.

Dan Taylor, the public policy direct for Audubon California, a backer of the bill, said 35 ammunition manufacturers and the U.S. Army already used copper, steel and other metals.

AB 711 is a milestone in the effort to protect the wildlife,” Taylor said. “We’ve removed lead from gasoline, paint and children’s toys. It’s clear that lead ammunition has no place in hunting when safer and more effective alternatives are available.”

But, lead remains the most common material used in bullets, and gun advocates say the ban would drastically reduce sales, eliminate jobs and cost the state million of dollars in lost hunting license and tag fees, which the Department of Fish and Wildlife uses to fund conservation projects.

NRA attorney Chuck Michel said copper bullets are more expensive, heat up and spark more and are more of a threat than lead to start wildfires. Michel also said that there is no credible evidence that lead bullets are poisoning condors and other scavenging birds.

“These condors are flocking around both official and unofficial dump sites,” Michel said. “There are pictures of them eating the chipped lead paint.”




  1. ironyman2000 says:

    The kneedragging knucklejerks raise their tiny heads once again.

    (-8) 12 Total Votes - 2 up - 10 down
    • r0y says:

      How else would you be able to see over the mud?

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • aft50s says:

      I am no hunter, but if there is a suitable hunting alternative available, at around the same cost, why not use it? However, break into to my home and attempt to harm a family member, a serious case of lead poisoningmay occur, regardless of what moonbeam says.

      (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
      • easymoney says:

        All those that hunt in the condor zone already have been using non tox ammo. And yes there are getting to be more ammo options because many states are gearing up for this non tox where the condors have been artificially transplanted. But, this new ammo is at a considerable increase in cost and lacking in availability.
        And no you do not at this time have to use non tox to defend yourself or family, so far…

        “The California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is a New World vulture, the largest North American land bird. This condor became extinct in the wild in 1987 (all remaining wild individuals were captured) but has been reintroduced to northern Arizona and southern Utah (including the Grand Canyon area and Zion National Park), coastal mountains of central and southern California, and northern Baja California. Although other fossil members are known, it is the only surviving member of the genus Gymnogyps”

        The Ridley-Tree Condor Act:

        BILL TEXT

        AMENDED IN SENATE JULY 11, 2007

        INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Nava
        (Coauthors: Assembly Members Eng, Huffman, Levine, Salas, and

        FEBRUARY 22, 2007

        An act to add Section 3004.5 to the Fish and Game Code, relating
        to conservation.”

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  2. SpeakTruth says:

    Hypothetical question: If there weren’t any more California condors, then would gun owners still be facing a lead ammo ban?

    Instead of giving a motive to a group of people with the means, Liberals should just call this what it is; a gun grab.

    (14) 28 Total Votes - 21 up - 7 down
  3. cch says:

    Lead is one of the most toxic elements known to man. That’s why it was removed from gasoline and paint. Hunters and ranchers always take the opportunity to remind the public that they’re committed conservationists, and many of them agree that lead should be replaced with something non-toxic. Here’s a chance for the rest of them to prove that they really do care about wildland conservation.

    For a bit more information see

    (-18) 46 Total Votes - 14 up - 32 down
    • info says:

      I do agree Lead is “one of the most toxic elements known to man”; however, why do we still allow it in fishing gear, aviation fuel, ceramics, candy, makeup, and a whole lot of other products? Perhaps because these products have nothing to do with firearms?

      I hope those who wish to ban lead bullets also have the same conviction for all lead products. If not, I believe such individuals should be classified as hypocrites.

      (29) 39 Total Votes - 34 up - 5 down
    • easymoney says:

      Lead ammo has already been banned in the condor zone, for over two years.
      The science on condor deaths and attributed causes has never been fully documented. The 70 or so existing condors have all been bred and raised in captivity, then released in the wild. There have been many deaths due to other than lead bullets from hunters that are not made public. In fact two years ago two young condors died at the hands of rangers, hauling them out of the Ventana Wilderness in dog crates on the back of ATV trying to save them from the impending fire.
      I would love to see the facts on man caused deaths from other than lead bullets.
      Most hunters have been using copper or non tox ammo all this time and still the condors die.

      (23) 29 Total Votes - 26 up - 3 down
      • pmklemz says:

        Are you kidding? It’s a low utility risk. To my thinking, the ban is worth it if it saves one bird.

        (-24) 34 Total Votes - 5 up - 29 down
        • r0y says:

          I find statements like this ironic, as it usually comes from someone on the left. People on the left also like to Social Engineer our societies and claim that the good of the whole outweighs the good of the few or the one. It is exactly OPPOSITE when they talk about nature and environmentalism.

          Maybe environmentalists are really NOT progressive leftists at heart after all, but are just told they are? It is confusing to me.

          (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
          • pmklemz says:

            Why is it not a low utility risk, as I have said? What is the corresponding cost of requiring hunters to use copper rounds?

            I’m with you that some gun control measures over the last year have been overly-extreme, but this is not one of those. I can’t see the benefit of spraying a toxic heavy metal all over our watersheds. I can’t see the point in furhter endangering an iconic raptor – an eco tourism draw, by the way – when we’ve made similar advances in virtually every other regulated industry.

            Holy white male persecution complex, Batman. Sheesh.

            (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
            • easymoney says:

              A box of hunting lead ammo for a typical big game rifle was in 2008 about $20.00, the same ammo in non tox copper is averaging $48.00 and is not available for all calibers. The magnum calibers were selling for $78.00 a box and not available for any unusual calibers.
              The cost is much higher and the effectiveness of the copper rounds is still being hotly debated.
              Some love it, some hate it, but all will be using this ammo soon in all the western states that have allowed transplanting of the captive condors.

              (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  4. Babak Naficy says:

    please at least google a topic before having a knee jerk reaction. Here is a bulletin from the Arizone Dept of Game and Fish,

    here are some excerpts

    Lead toxicity has been identified as the leading cause of death in condors in the Arizona reintroduction program. At least fifteen condors have died of lead poisoning since 2000. Condors are trapped twice a year to have their blood tested for lead. Biologists have documented over 300 instances of lead exposure in condors since testing began in 1999, with 45 to 95 percent of the condor population testing positive for lead exposure each year.

    High performance all-copper bullets are now available in most rifle calibers. In comparison to lead and copper-jacketed bullets, all-copper bullets do not fragment and are far less toxic. Scavengers like the condor are less likely to ingest one large mushroomed bullet versus many small bullet fragments scattered throughout a carcass or gut pile. Shotgun, pistol, and muzzleloader ammunition are also available in high performing non-lead alternatives. There are also non-lead alternatives for hand-loaders. For a list of some manufacturers and available calibers of non-lead ammunition, click [PDF]. For a list of some non-lead ammunition retailers, click[PDF].

    (-20) 48 Total Votes - 14 up - 34 down
    • info says:

      At least own a firearm for 25 years before you quote a google link. At least experience your SKS being registered and then taken away. At least experience your sporter rifle being classified as an assault rifle and then taken away. At least experience your rights to owning a 50 cal be taken away. .

      Individuals below are now facing a complete ban on lead ammo, semi-automatic rifles, detachable magazines, limits on ammo purchase all while the ATF is considering whether copper, brass, and your “non-lead alternatives” constitutes ‘armor piercing’.

      We are not the ones with a knee jerk reaction rather you with your cure all google link.

      (29) 41 Total Votes - 35 up - 6 down
      • pmklemz says:

        You’re breaking my heart.

        (-22) 30 Total Votes - 4 up - 26 down
      • MakersMark says:

        When, exactly, did your guns get taken away by the government?

        (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down
        • info says:

          Really? You don’t have any idea what happened in 1989, 1999, 2000, 2005? Put down the scotch and stop the word play.

          My Sks was taking away in 1999 after I did my civic duty and registered it. Of course I sold it out of state before the deadline in 2000 and provided proof via FFL. This was an outright ‘TAKE’ by the government.

          Taking away my right to purchase a Colt AR15 in 1989, AR15-AK in 2000, and 50 cal in 2005 is not an outright take from my hands but I consider it the same thing. I guess we will agree to disagree on the interpretation of ‘take’.

          (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  5. Jorge Estrada says:

    Toxic legislation should be required to comply with the CEQA review process as does everyone else in the private sector. The bullfecal staffers are circumventing this process by utilizing a legislative vote.

    (25) 31 Total Votes - 28 up - 3 down
    • pmklemz says:

      So you’re suggesting the Legislature should follow the procedural law it created to govern regulatory agencies and local governments, entities which only hold powers the Legislature granted them in the first place? Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

      (-12) 18 Total Votes - 3 up - 15 down
      • r0y says:

        You’re OK with the government only passing rules, laws and regulations for “other” people, then?

        (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
        • pmklemz says:

          I’m OK with laws applying only to people they were written to apply to. CEQA is an administrative law that the Lege created and can repeal. If you want to bind the Legislature, pass a constitutional amendment.

          (-6) 6 Total Votes - 0 up - 6 down
  6. SLOBIRD says:

    I am not a hunter but a friend who is told me that without lead bullets when game hunting (deer, wild boar, etc.) animals will suffer more because they don’t die instantly. If this is true, and game hunting is legal, seems inhumane.

    (19) 35 Total Votes - 27 up - 8 down
  7. Rambunctious says:

    This is a liberal foot in the door to ban all kinds of ammunition. The only way a lead bullet can harm you is if you’re shot with one.

    (45) 63 Total Votes - 54 up - 9 down
    • easymoney says:

      Bingo rambunctious, the lead ban in the condor zone is over two years old and still they are dieing. The science (not emotions) is incomplete and all the existing condors in the wild today are all hand raised and released. The are still dieing in California in the lead free zone and in many states where they have been planted.
      Vultures and coyotes eat the same carrion and their numbers are growing…

      (17) 23 Total Votes - 20 up - 3 down

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