In a move opposed by SCI, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law on Saturday banning lead centerfire ammunition in the range of the endangered California condor. The law, called the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act (introduced by Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara), usurps some of the authority of the State Fish and Game Commission to regulate hunting in the State. The purported purpose of the Act is to protect endangered condors from lead ingestion. The Act mandates non-lead ammunition for big-game and coyote hunting in condor range. The Act defines condor range in an overbroad fashion using deer zones and highways in an area of south and central California. The California Fish and Game Commission recently proposed a similar ban, but a more carefully crafted ban. For example, under the Commission”s proposal, the “range” in which the ban would apply more accurately reflected where the bird currently exists, an exception was made for gun types for which non-lead ammunition does not currently exist, and recognition was made that copper ammunition contains trace elements of lead. The Act, on the other hand, requires completely lead-free ammunition, which does not currently exist, according to testimony given to the Commission. The Act authorizes a program to provide free or discounted ammunition, but does not guarantee funding. Violations of the Act can result in fines of up to $5,000. The Act requires that the ban go into effect on July 1, 2008.
Gov. Schwarzenegger also signed an unprecedented measure Saturday “requiring that certain pistols sold in the state be equipped to mark each cartridge when fired so police can more easily trace the weapons. The bill requiring that semiautomatic pistols be equipped with microstamping devices by 2010 is the first in the nation.” (Source: L.A. Times / Outdoor Wire/SCI In the Crosshairs)
I do not really understand the concept of this law and I am sure I am going to be hearing more and more about it, but the reality is that there is no ammunition that is 100% lead free, so by signing this bill, Gov. Schwarzenegger effectively just banned hunting in areas where Condor habitat exists. Sportsmen must get on the phone and voice their outrage and work to overturn this law.