California hunters may lose lead bullets
September 16, 2013
Governor 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.”