Capitol Alert: Sacramento sheriff, game wardens, come out against lead ban

ccadelago@sacbee.comOctober 4, 2013 

When a measure banning lead ammunition for hunters cleared the California Legislature, detractors included the Alliance for Dogmen, the Mule Deer Foundation and Gun Owners of California.

With Gov. Jerry Brown set to weigh in soon, a handful of others have come out in opposition to Assembly Bill 711. Among them is a group of unions and labor leaders, the California Fish and Game Wardens' Association (The Department of Fish and Wildlife is a supporter) and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones.

In a letter to Brown on Thursday, Jones wrote that he was concerned because the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that most non-lead ammunition meets the criteria for "armor piercing" and thus has banned the manufacturing and sale of such ammunition without special permission.

As a result, Jones argues that non-lead bullets have become scarce in most hunting calibers.

"I believe that this bill, if signed, would enact an undue burden on the entire hunting community, which includes many members of law enforcement," Jones wrote.

In their letter to Brown on Wednesday, the game wardens' association, arguing they are on the front line of enforcing the current ban on lead ammunition for hunting near condors, wrote that "there is insufficient data to justify such a drastic action across the entire state."

Supporters of AB 711 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, say lead-based bullets are one of the major sources of harmful lead discharge into the environment. Brown has until Oct. 13 to decide the fate of the measure.

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