Lead Ban Chronicles – HSUS Reports That Lead-Free Ammo Is Readily Available
July 31, 2014
California hunters (and hunters from other states take note), according to the Humane Society’s “world’s leading expert in the use of nontoxic ammunition”, lead-free ammunition is readily available in California.
I’m not sure how one gets the title of “world’s leading expert in the use of nontoxic ammunition”, but this fellow has apparently done extensive research and determined that any hunter in CA who needs lead-free ammo can get it in plenty of time for hunting season. I guess any of you who were planning to attend the CDFW lead ammo workshops in hopes of expressing your concerns about the lack of ammo availability can just stay home. The problem is solved. I mean, we can take a press release from the Humane Society at its word, right?
Here’s what the press release says. There’s a link to the actual study in the release. The PDF is really, REALLY worth a read.
A new study from one of the world’s leading experts in use of nontoxic ammunition shows that nonlead ammunition is widely available throughout California. The study (see PDF) surveyed retail stores in California and online sources, concluding there is widespread market and retail availability of all popular shotgun and rifle ammunition types for the take of wildlife in California.
Last year, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 711, requiring the state’s Fish and Game Commission to implement regulations requiring the use of nontoxic, nonlead ammunition for all hunting in California by 2019. In his signing message approving the bill, Gov. Jerry Brown urged the Commission to phase in this implementation in the “least disruptive” manner possible. The study addresses Gov. Brown’s request and addresses any concerns regarding the uncertainty about the market and retail availability of nonlead ammunition in California.
“With nonlead ammunition already this widely available before the law is even implemented, we can only expect this availability to increase even more once the law is active,” said Dr. Vernon Thomas, who presented his study to the Commission’s Wildlife Resources Committee on Monday. “The findings should give the Department and Commission confidence that they can implement AB 711 as soon as possible without disrupting hunting activity in California.”
Thomas’ report was commissioned by the sponsors of AB 711 (Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife and The Humane Society of the United States).
According to Thomas, five major U.S. companies already produce nonlead rifle ammunition in more than 48 different calibers that are readily available online and in major sporting/hunting goods stores in California. These calibers include those suitable for hunting all designated species in California.
Of the 111 retail stores in California surveyed for this study, 76 percent carried at least some nonlead ammunition for the purposes of hunting. Availability of nonlead calibers in these stores ranged across the most common hunting ammunition types. In cases where nonlead ammunition cannot be found in a retail store, online retailers are often able to provide the desired ammunition.
Thomas noted that many retailers are actually waiting for the state to implement AB 711 before they begin stocking nonlead ammunition, or expand their current offerings.
“For the minority of stores that had low or no inventory of nonlead ammunition, they reported that lack of customer demand was the primary reason, suggesting that the sooner customers must comply with AB711, the sooner availability on store shelves will increase,” said Thomas.
The California state legislature approved AB 711 in response to mounting research showing that lead from ammunition poses a danger to wildlife and human health. More than 130 wildlife species have been found to be at risk of poisoning by spent lead ammunition left behind by hunters in the field, and people consuming meat hunted with lead ammunition have been shown to have higher levels of lead in their bloodstream.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prohibited the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting in 1991, and California passed a law requiring the use of nonlead ammunition within the range of the California condor in 2007.
July 28, 2014
Compelling stuff, huh? Did you read the report yet?
So all snark and facetiousness aside, this is what CA hunters are up against. The language of AB711 says that full implementation is dependent on the availability of lead-free options. This report suggests that the availability question has been resolved, and that there should be no further barriers to full implementation of AB711.
Of course, the report is bullshit. Seriously, read it.
The timing of the report was well choreographed, since today (08/01) marks the end of the CDFW’s input period for public feedback regarding lead-free ammo. The obvious hope is that hunters failed to participate in the process, leaving little competition for this half-assed report. It’s a slick move, but that’s what HSUS does best.
If nothing else, I hope this makes clear what I’ve been saying. CA hunters, you have to take an active role in the process, or your opportunity is going to be taken away from you. Whether it’s the lead ban, bans on bear hunting, or any other attack on hunting, you are your only reliable allies. There are organizations that can help, but they depend on you for their strength… especially in California. This report is a pretty clear indication of what will happen if you do nothing.
And hunters across the country should be taking note. This is how the game is being played, and organizations like HSUS are masters. They are a well-funded and motivated opponent. Don’t underestimate them.