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Effort Underway To Ban Lead Hunting Ammunition In California

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 15, 2013
UPDATE Tues 4/16 at 5pm: The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee approved the bill Tuesday by a vote of nine to four.

Supporters say lead can harm animals if it enters the food chain - such as when a bird eats an animal killed by lead ammunition.

Critics fear the bill could effectively ban hunting altogether in California, because the federal government prohibits most of the substances that would be used in ammunition instead of lead.

The measure faces a second committee vote before reaching the Assembly floor.


The use of lead ammunition in hunting is already regulated in California. But state lawmakers are looking to ban the product in all hunting.

Shotgun shells and other hunting ammunition are typically made with lead. Wildlife experts and environmentalists say that lead makes its way in to the food chain, harming animals. Dan Taylor with Audubon California is supporting legislation that would ban the use of lead hunting ammunition in the state. 

"When lead enters the body of a bird of prey, like a Golden Eagle, it leads to a cascade of effects that can eventually lead to a bird's death," Taylor says.

Taylor says the health risks of lead have been known for thousands of years.

But Lawrence Keane with National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun manufactures, says the federal government prohibits the use of most of the substances that would serve as alternatives to lead.

"If California bans traditional ammunition and the industry can't bring to market alternative ammunition… you end up with, in effect, an ammunition ban for hunting in the state of California," he says.

 Keane says any new regulations should be handled by the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife, not the legislature.

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