A new law in California will phase out the use of lead ammunition for hunting throughout the state. The law, introduced as Assembly Bill 711 in March 2013 by Assembly Member Anthony Rendon, passed both the Assembly and the Senate and was signed by the governor on October 11. It provides that non-lead ammunition “shall be required when taking all wildlife, including game mammals, game birds, nongame birds, and nongame mammals, with any firearm,” and establishes an implementation deadline of July 1, 2019.
It is hoped that this law will help restore populations of imperiled species by reducing lead exposure. Lead is a toxin that, when deposited in the wild, is known to harm birds—including bald eagles, loons, swans, condors and ravens—as well as bears and other animals. It also poses risks to human health, and may harm those who ingest meat from animals killed with lead ammunition through exposure to lead residue.
Because non-lead ammunition is readily available, hunters may easily and cost-effectively make the transition away from lead bullets. The use of lead ammunition for hunting waterfowl has been prohibited nationwide since 1991, and lead shot has been banned in parts of California since 2008 to protect the California condor. AWI applauds California's efforts to protect wildlife and public safety by restricting the use of lead ammunition.