In a Thursday vote, the California Assembly approved a ban on the use of lead ammunition. The ban, AB 711, would require the use of nonlead ammo in the taking of any wildlife in California, far expanding the state’s current ammunition laws. According to the LA Times, the 44-21 Assembly vote was split between party lines with a majority of Republicans opposing the measure. The bill will now head to the state senate for consideration.

Several notable animal rights groups have supported the legislation, saying that the use of lead ammo is harmful to animals such as the critically endangered California condor. The condor is North America’s largest land bird, and one of the longest-lived bird species with lifespans of up to 60 years. The bird is also very rare and vulnerable as a species. Groups like the Audubon Society and the Humane Society of the United States claim that when the birds eat hunter-shot game they are harmed by the lead ammunition inside. The bullet can act as a neurotoxin and the bird’s body can mistakenly incorporate the lead component with tissues and organs. However, the studies conducted by California universities, independent researchers, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have yielded conflicting results as to whether lead ammo was actually damaging the condor population.

The National Rifle Association and other opponents of the bill point to studies that show the bird’s resilience to lead poisoning as well as the 2007 ban of lead ammo in condor range, which yielded no significant results. Hunters also claim that alternative ammunition is much pricier–up to 30% more expensive–and is less accurate. The metals found in nonlead ammo has some conservationists worried as well. Containing copper, bismuth, and tungsten, some claim these metals could potentially damage the environment and wildlife.

California law currently requires the use of nonlead centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition when taking big game or coyotes in condor range. Hunting waterfowl with lead ammunition is also prohibited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If AB 711 passes the state senate and is signed by Governor Jerry Brown, the ban will be put into place incrementally over the next two years.

Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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7 thoughts on “California State Assembly Passes Lead Ammo Ban

  1. Wow, what liberal democrats want, liberal democrats get. How does that work??? Everything Crapifornia starts spreads like a cancer to the rest of the country. We are doomed.

  2. And soon they will realize that non-lead ammunition in handguns will be violating the federal ban on armor piercing hand gun ammo 18 USC 921 17
    (B)The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—

    (i)
    a projectile or projectile core
    which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely
    (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a
    combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium
    copper, or depleted uranium; or

    So you can’t shoot lead based projectiles, and you can’t shoot projectiles consisting of any of the above listed metals, so therefor pistol ammunition will be banned….

    And now you see the true goal of the new “lead free” laws. It’s only a couple steps away. Ban lead hunting ammo, then ban all lead ammo, then you have a complete ammo ban for handguns since non-lead ammo is already banned.

  3. I am tired of nearly insane extremes on both sides of guns/transfers/ammo and their my way or no way. What is really needed is Moderates on both sides of the issue, well informed, knowledgeable, responsible and sane discussing, listening and then submitting sane compromises on all the issues. For now in CA it seems extremes on guns/ammo running the show. In other states where rules are even blind can get gun permit to carry, the extreme nra types are getting their way. Both sides refuse to compromise, discuss or listen or comment in a manner that might accomplish something meaningful to the massive amount of folks in the middle who really do not have a clue as to what is going on, for now.

    Be it either extreme, they ALL consider moderation to be a direct threat and attack with no holds barred. Whether the latter is from fear, ignorance, or in some case big profits and trolling the simple minded one issue vote, is open for discussion. But until the moderate, informed, knowledgeable and responsible can get a voice, we will continue to see “we won” (for today) and “we lost” (for today) run wild and damage nation and in truth moderate sane responsible gun owners that it seems, none speak for. How do the moderates on either side get into this thing when screaming extremes on both sides do damage to us all? Doubt the extremes fear, panic and hate, read various gun and “anti” gun posts, they represent a fools paradise of fears.

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