NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry – criticized the introduction of a bill in California to ban traditional shot shells containing lead BBs in state wildlife areas.
The sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D), announced the proposed legislation at a press conference, where he was flanked by representatives from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – the country’s largest anti-hunting group. Just yesterday the assemblyman, who is running for California attorney general, was endorsed by the Sierra Club California. The involvement of the HSUS and the timing of the endorsement demonstrate that the real motive behind the ban is to diminish hunting in the state by making it much more expensive to buy ammunition, thereby forcing more hunters out of the field and keeping new hunters from going afield.
Wildlife management policy must be based on science, not on opinion or political or symbolic gesture. Assemblyman Nava's claim that traditional shot shells need to be banned to protect wildlife populations is simply not supported by sound science.
“Wildlife population management decisions and hunting regulations are best left to the professionals at the California Fish and Game Department based on sound science,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “The Legislature is not the appropriate forum for these decisions to be made.”
The introduction of the traditional ammunition ban comes on the heels of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission (FWP) rejecting a similar proposal in its state on the grounds that a ban lacked “biological justification.”
“If Assemblyman Nava’s bill passes,” continued Keane, “it is the state and local economies that will need help. The proposed ban, while doing nothing to help wildlife, would force hunters to use other more costly ammunition alternatives. This would make hunting more expensive and ultimately lead to a decline in hunters, hunter support for wildlife conservation and hunter-generated income.”