By Clarissa Toll |Staff Writer|
Lead ammunition will be illegal in 2019. Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 711 into law on Oct. 11 making California the first state to outlaw lead bullets for hunting purposes.
The legislation was pushed by the Humane Society of the United States and will be put into effect due to continued lead poisoning found in California wildlife.
The LA Zoo is currently treating 21 California Condors for malnutrition and having a disease that stops the stomach from moving food, according to Zoo officials in a recent press release.
Scientists believe these are symptoms from the birds’ ingesting carcasses killed with lead ammunition.
According to a press release from the Center of Biological Diversity, “Nationwide, millions of non-target birds and other wildlife are poisoned each year from scavenging carcasses containing lead-bullet fragments, eating lead-poisoned prey, or ingesting spent lead-shot pellets, mistaking them for food or grit.”
The Center of Biological Diversity states that 130 species of wildlife contracted lead poisoning due to used lead ammunition.
Dr. Nicole Bournias-Vardiabasis of the CSUSB Biology department explains that wildlife who ingest this lead contamination can suffer from heath issues such as heart and liver failure, and muscle wasting.
Although the state mandate will not come into effect until Jul. 1, 2019, California Fish and Game are to begin processing and promoting the legislation as early as 2015.
Many firearm associations and organizations are protesting AB 711 because of the havoc they believe it will cause on hunting.
“Alternative ammunition made with brass can be classified as armor piercing ammunition that is illegal to make, sell or possess unless the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) grants special permission,” stated the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“As the Humane Society of the United States knows, ATF refuses to grant manufacturers the needed waivers to produce and provide alternative ammunition. This is one key reason why every major hunting organization in California and nationwide understand that an enacted AB 711 would amount to ban on hunting,” added NSSF.
Although strong voices oppose the bill, many humane organizations call for continued support and recognition.
The ASPCA urged their audience to thank the governor for passing the mandate to protect the “vulnerable wildlife.”
Hunters and gun owners also are speaking out on the issue.
Bronson Benzien, a local college student who uses 200-500 lead ammunition rounds for target shooting per month stated, “I am not surprised by this new mandate. California has been vigorously passing anti-gun laws left and right over the past 12 months.”
“Of course there are ulterior motives behind the bill. California wants to reduce the amount of gun-owning citizens in the state and therefore continues to pass absurd bills that do not protect anyone or anything and only put burdens on gun owning citizens,” added Benzien.
The six-year span in between signing and implementation of legislation is due to the necessary time needed for manufactures and programs to adhere to the new regulations, such as, expounding on the definition of armor piercing ammunition to better inform producers and consumers of the alternative products.
Further details on Assembly Bill 711 can be found at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.