California game wardens oppose lead ammo ban

By   /   October 8, 2013  /   7 Comments

By Katy Grimes | Cal Watchdog

There are more than a dozen gun-control bills sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, awaiting his signature or veto. Brown has been uncharacteristically quiet about his stance on gun control.

Noticing Brown’s silence, the association representing active and retired state fish and game wardens sent a letter Thursday to the governor opposing the bill to ban lead ammunition, urging a veto.  This is fairly significant since the California Fish and Game Wardens’ Association are breaking with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is supportive of AB 711, the lead ammo ban by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Southgate. The bill would effectively ban hunting under the guise of “protecting the environment.”

Read more at Cal Watchdog.


  • Social Justice

    Hopefully, Governor Brown will see the flaws and misrepresentations that plague AB711 and send it to the shredder.

  • ericmills

    Though I’m generally in support of our under-staffed and under-paid wardens, I think they’re mistaken on this one. Spent lead ammo in the environment is a serious problem for ALL wildlife, not just the condors. Secondary lead poisoning of scavengers is also problematic: vultures, eagles, badgers, coyotes, foxes, ravens, jays, etc. AB 711 is NOT “anti-hunting”–it’s about ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.

    If hunters were the true conservationists they claim to be (and many are), they should be leading this effort. The Feds banned the use of lead for hunting ducks and geese back in ’91, and the sport didn’t go belly-up. AB 711 won’t go into effect until July of 2019, giving hunters and ammo manufacturers alike more than ample time to adjust and comply.

    Whatever your opinion, let the Governor hear from you. Deadline is Oct. 13.

    Governor Jerry Brown
    The State Capitol
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    tel. 916/445-2841
    fax 916/558-3160
    email – see website:

  • Bobby

    Hey eric what are we supposed to do if it gets banned theres nothing left for ys to use. Anything besides lead is considered armor piercing which is illegal federally. And ammo that could be a possibility for use isnt readily available in supply. So we are left with no other options

  • coast40 .

    “Anything besides lead is considered armor piercing”. Where do you get your “facts”? from sacbee.c0m

    “Lead-free bullets are made in 35 calibers and 51 rifle cartridge
    designations. Thirty-one companies are certified to distribute lead-free
    bullets in California. Equivalent lead-free and lead-core ammunition
    for most popular calibers are similar in price, with lead-free only
    slightly higher.

    Then, there’s the claim that the federal Bureau
    of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives might classify non-lead
    bullets for hunting as “armor piercing,” so hunters would be left with
    nothing. They conveniently seem to have forgotten that the 1968 federal
    law banning armor-piercing ammunition has a specific exemption for
    “sporting purposes.”

    The fact is the industry has been
    manufacturing and selling non-lead ammunition for sporting purposes for
    more than 30 years. But to allay fears, the bill requires the director
    of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to temporarily suspend
    the lead ammunition ban if ATF makes an unlikely ruling to ban non-lead
    hunting bullets, making particular calibers unavailable.

    The U.S.
    military, which has had a major cleanup problem at its firing ranges,
    is gradually switching away from lead bullets – beginning in 2010 with
    non-lead 5.56 mm bullets and expanding by 2014 to non-lead 7.62 mm

    Read more here:

  • Phillip Loughlin

    Where do I start?
    First, as much as I support the effort of the Game Wardens’ Association to fight AB711, I have to take serious issue with the last statement in this report. AB711 would NOT ban hunting. It will, probably, result in a few hunters giving up the sport… at least in CA… but hunters will keep on hunting, even if they have to endure undue hardships to do so.
    Despite what folks like Eric Mills (below) would like us to believe, lead hunting ammunition is not a “serious problem” in the environment. It’s not necessarily a great thing, but neither are golf courses, highways, or McMansions. There’s a question of scale here, and the proposition that the use of lead ammo for hunting is anything akin to a “serious problem” is simply hyperbole.

    That said, I do agree that if we could get the political agendas out of the way and restore some level of trust, there should be a dialog among hunters about the ongoing use of lead ammo. We ought to be able to dispel some myths and misinformation, and tackle the very real questions of lead’s negative impacts (there are some) and how we choose to respond to them. There are many options out there besides an outright ban on lead bullets.
    In the meantime, I continue to oppose AB711, and encourage all CA hunters to do the same. It’s a bad law that will do practically nothing to protect or conserve California’s natural heritage.

  • Phillip Loughlin

    Coast40 is correct in pointing out that the “armor piercing ammo ban” does not preclude the development, sale, or use of lead-free hunting ammunition (except the law is from 1986, not 1968). The law is specific to handgun ammunition, and includes the aforementioned exception for ammo used for sporting purposes.
    As far as availability of alternatives, this is where the argument is far less clear. There are hundreds of variations of caliber, chamber, and bullet size on the current market and in widespread use by hunters. There is simply no way the industry, even with a five year grace period, is going to come up with alternatives for all of them. It’s simply not realistic or practical.
    The argument that there are plenty of lead-free offerings available now is also misleading. Barnes and Lapua are two manufacturers who have been making lead-free bullets the longest, and while their catalogs include a pretty wide variety of projectiles, the reality on the showroom floor is that most of them aren’t available… or aren’t available in appreciable quantities. I do think that the industry can fill this gap by 2019, at least for the most common calibers.
    The change by the military is irrelevant to this conversation. Military ammunition is subject to an entirely different set of performance criteria, and the variety of projectile sizes is nominal. It is, however, worth note that most of the military trials of lead-free bullets have failed, resulting in a switch back to lead.
    I expect that none of these objections to a lead ban is completely insurmountable. The question I have, however, is, “why?”
    Despite the propaganda, when you look at the realities (lead ammo has been in use for centuries), the use of lead ammunition for hunting is not an environmental or a human health problem. It is entirely plausible, based on the evidence, that it kills some scavenger birds. However, it is also true and obvious that these birds aren’t on the decline. People aren’t getting sick. Groundwater supplies are not being contaminated. How is this a “serious problem”? This is far too much ado about nothing… and a lead ammo ban is an unjustifiable burden on hunters and the ammunition industry for far too little real return.

  • John Meyer

    The problem with non lead bullets is they do not deform when entering the animal and do less tissue damage and therefore it causes the animal to die slower and more painfully