With the Democrats controlling a super majority of the California Legislature, this year saw a whole raft of gun laws. Strengthening laws about properly storing guns so children can’t get them unsupervised is about the only law we can find to praise.
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It’s unfortunate that fewer children are taught safe gun handling by their parents. Those living in large cities are less likely to be hunters. They are less likely to take hunter safety courses or have the benefit of 4H target shooting and range safety instruction.
That applies to the California legislators. Most don’t understand hunting and fishing. And they sure don’t know what they’re talking about with weapons in general. Witness Senate Bill 374, which proposed to ban any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine. Fortunately Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed that one.
“This ban covers low-capacity rifles that are commonly used for hunting, firearms training and marksmanship practice, as well as some historical and collectible firearms. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of current gun owners would have to register their rifles as assault weapons and would be banned from selling or transferring them in the future,” Brown wrote in his veto message.
Unfortunately he signed the lead ammunition ban. Under the terms of Assembly Bill 711 lead ammunition will be banned by July 1, 2019, but could be banned as soon as July 1, 2015 or any time thereafter.
What is the alternative to lead bullets? Copper. All-copper, non-expanding bullets work well for thick-skinned game such as one finds on an African safari. As noted by Western Outdoor News’ guns and ammo specialist Steve Comus, those same copper bullets don’t work as well on typical North American game. The best bullet for North American game is a copper-jacketed lead bullet.
It should be noted that non-expanding all-copper bullets have an additional property. They are armor-piercing. If the federal government outlaws them, then AB 711 authorizes the director of Fish & Wildlife to suspend the statewide ban on lead ammunition, except in California condor country.
Only copper or steel coated lead bullets provide assurance of bringing down game such as elk or large deer.
There aren’t grizzly bears in this state, but anyone encountering one in a state with grizzlies would want to have a rifle with lead bullets for personal protection. All-copper bullets would not stop a charging grizzly.
The stopping power of lead bullets is the reason AB 711 exempts “authorized government officials or agents.”
AB 711 purports to save the world from lead poisoning. Nobody eats the lead in the game they bring home or bring to a butcher. As noted by Comus, there is more lead in computers than can be found in the wilderness.
“Yes, computers and other electronics use much, much more lead than anything like the firearms industry,” Comus wrote. “Literally the computer industry puts lead in close proximity, indeed even into the hands, of users. Yet I don’t hesitate to tap the keys of my computer to write this response because of any fear of contracting lead poisoning as a result.”
And about condors, Comus noted, “The practice that initially triggered the assumption that bullet fragments were involved in sick condors occurred as a result of a totally uncommon disposal of leaded bullets by government employees in scenarios that simply do not occur in relation to regular hunting. In their efforts to feed condors unnaturally, the government folks actually fed them lead that would not have been there naturally.”
Bill Karr, editor of Western Outdoor News, told the Mountain Democrat, “Personally, my experience with non-lead bullets for big game hunting has been positive on deer, elk and wild pigs, but the bullets definitely do not pack the same punch as lead for clean, quick kills.”
Faced with a charging wild boar, and elk or moose in rut, a hunter would want a lead bullet to make a quick stop. As pointed out by Karr, the object is a clean, quick kill. No hunter wants a wounded animal running 10 or 20 miles through the brush.
The lead bullet ban is just another loony law from a far-left Legislature that doesn’t have any balance to it.