A Bill to Ban Lead Ammunition Could Protect California Condors
California outlaws lead ammo to safeguard an iconic bird.
The current rift between hunting and environmental groups marks something of a departure, since they have collaborated on such efforts as deer population control. To make things more complicated, some conservation groups oppose the bill as well. For example, Ducks Unlimited, along with several other groups, wrote in a letter that the new bill "would be devastating to the thousands of Californians that participate in hunting and recreational shooting, the firearms and ammunition industries, as well as the vital conservation programs they fund." Many in this camp regard the bill as veiled attempt to limit hunting, a direct attack on hunters, or an issue of "sav[ing] California's hunting heritage."
Most of their complaints center on the supposed higher price of nonlead hunting ammunition, and ignore a recent study concluding that the price of copper-based ammunition (the common nonlead alternative) is generally comparable to the price of lead-based ammo. And for good measure, AB 711 even calls for establishing "a process that will provide hunters with nonlead ammunition at no or reduced charge."
Frost insists this bill is not about limiting hunting itself. "That's not our goal. We're not trying to outlaw hunting," he says. "We're trying to find something that's good enough to help the birds but doesn't impact these hunting groups and other folks who don't want to make a more radical change."
*This story has been updated to reflect that the legislation was signed into law.