Hunters and Economy Hit: Ban on Traditional Ammunition Becomes Law in California

Posted: Oct 12, 2013 9:00 AM

California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation into law late Friday banning the use of traditional ammunition containing lead in the Golden State, making it the first state in the country to do so.

“We are greatly disappointed that Gov. Brown decided to sign AB 711, which as we view things today will effectively end or greatly curtail hunting in California, given the restrictions on the use of non-traditional ammunition," National Shooting Sports Foundation Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane said in a statement. “We will have more to say on this important issue, but it is mind boggling that the governor would shut down this American tradition and actually imperil the substantial conservation funding that is provided to California through the federal excise tax on ammunition.”

Environmentalists and gun control lobbyists have long advocated for a ban on lead ammunition with little science to back up their claims it harms animals and the environment they live in. In fact, a ban on traditional ammunition has been seen for years as a backhanded way to keep hunters out and as a way to implement more gun control. Non-traditional ammunition is difficult to find and is very expensive. Not to mention, it might even be illegal under ATF regulations.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has said that non-lead hunting rifle ammunition may fall under the definition of “armor piercing ammunition,” (18 USC 921 (17)(B)(ii)), which is illegal to import, make and sell unless the ATF determines it is exempt because it is “primarily intended to be used for a sporting purpose.

Hunting in the United States adds up to $76 billion in positive economic impact. In California alone each year, 53,000 jobs are supported, $452 million in state tax revenue is collected, $473 million in federal tax revenue is collected and $3.6 billion is spent by sportsmen for hunting. That's all about to change.

The good news is, Brown vetoed legislation that would have outlawed rifles with detachable magazines.

Brown has vetoed SB 374, a measure that would have classified any semiautomatic center-fire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept 10 rounds of ammunition or less as an assault weapon. This bill would have required that all such firearms be registered with the state and make their future sale illegal. He also vetoed AB 180 that would have allowed the City of Oakland to enact its own ordinance regarding firearms that would be even more restrictive than state law.

“We are pleased that Gov. Brown vetoed SB 374 and AB 180, however, as these proposed restrictions on law-abiding Californians would have done nothing to make the state safer," Keane said.

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