Bill Aims to Get Lead Out of Ammo

A bill that aims to get the lead out of ammunition is being considered by lawmakers in Sacramento. AB711 would phase out the use of lead bullets and shot for all hunting in the Golden State.

According to Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director with The Humane Society of the United States, lead poisoning from ammunition takes an extreme and painful toll on animals, and threatens the integrity of the environment.

"The real objective of the bill is to remove lead and dangerous toxins from the capacity that it now has in ammunition to harm wildlife, humans, and the environment," she said.

Fearing said nationally renowned scientists in the field of lead poisoning released a study earlier this year that concluded lead-based ammunition is likely the greatest, largely unregulated, source of lead knowingly discharged into the environment in the United States.

Opponents say the bill would increase hunting costs and result in lost hunting and tag fees and taxes. Some hunters say non-lead bullets are more expensive and less effective, but Fearing disagrees.

"There was a peer-reviewed published study that came out in AMBIO Journal earlier this year that demonstrated convincingly that there is not a significant difference in either the quality, the effectiveness, or the price of non-lead-based ammunition compared with lead-based ammunition," she asserted.

It's not just wildlife and the environment that are at risk, Fearing said, stating that lead ammunition also has the potential to harm humans who eat the meat of either the targeted animal or the other animals that consume the carcasses of animals that have been killed with lead-containing bullets.

"Again, because the lead has shattered out upon impact, meat from those animals often contains fragments of lead," she said. "And when they're ingested by humans studies have show that their blood lead levels are higher than those who do not consume game meat."

The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 44-21. It will be heard in the state Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Tuesday morning.

Story by Lori Abbott

About the Author

To support democracy and promote public dialogue in a rapidly changing media environment, Public News Service advocates for journalism in the public interest. It serves 36 states.
RSS icon


5 Dead, Including Suspect, in Santa Monica Shooting


Students Return to Santa Monica College After Shooting

LEAVE A COMMENT Leave Comment  


Radical animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the US, Audubon California, Center for Biological Diversity, and Action For Animals are conducting a war aimed at the banning of sport hunting in California. One way they are trying to accomplish this is by sponsoring AB711, which calls for a state-wide ban on most kinds of hunting ammunition available to the public. The same groups may try to expand the ban to your state. These groups claim that scavenging animals, such as the California condor, ingest and are poisoned by pieces of metallic lead bullets present in gut piles of harvested game left in the field by hunters. They rely on certain scientific papers that allegedly support these claims, and often use the poisoning of the California condor to justify their anti-lead ammunition agenda.

But there are serious scientific questions about the validity of their claims. The failure of the hastily-enacted California lead ammunition ban legislation of 2007 (AB821) suggests that these groups are wrong. AB821 banned the use of lead ammunition in the “condor zone” region of California. It was strong-armed through the legislature, bypassing the usual path involving the more scientifically inclined California Fish & Game Commission, based on the promise that the ban would lower the condors’ elevated blood-lead levels, and solve the lead poisoning problem. But AB821 has not resulted in lower blood-lead levels or otherwise reduced lead poisoning in condors. Despite the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s acknowledgment that 99% of hunters are complying with the lead ban in the “condor zone” since the law took effect, condors’ blood-lead levels, poisoning and mortality have increased since 2007!

There are obviously other sources of lead in the environment. These alternative sources are likely an industrial lead compound (e.g leaded gasoline, paint or pesticides), which is far more soluble and bioavailable to condors. We have identified some of those potential alternative sources, and we encourage you to join the hunt for the truth with us and learn the real facts! To learn all the facts in the lead ammunition debate, visit