California Legislators Plan New Attack on Gun Rights: Banning Lead Ammo

February 24, 2020


Matthew Hoy

Democrats in California are continuing their attack on gun rights by proposing banning lead ammo at indoor and outdoor shooting ranges—another effort to make shooting sports and self-defense something only the very rich can afford.

A bill introduced Friday by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and co-authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski would ban the use of lead ammunition at indoor or outdoor shooting ranges. The bill builds on AB711, passed in 2013, which banned the use of lead ammunition for hunting in the state. That bill was fully implemented statewide just last year (it originally only covered portions of the state where the endangered California Condor resides).

Sen. Bob Wieckowski proposes banning lead ammo.

Sen. Bob Wieckowski

Basing the ban on public health concerns—lead paint and as a gasoline additive have long been prohibited—such a ban would be devastating for public and private ranges along with limiting the ability to train extensively or participate in shooting sports like 3-gun, IDPA and USPSA to only the wealthiest shooters.

Lead-free handgun ammunition can cost approximately $1.40 a round. Standard lead ammunition used for training or competition shooting goes for as little as $0.28 a round. Translate that into a modest 200-round training day at the range and the non-lead ammo would cost you $280 out of pocket versus just $56 for the traditional ammunition.

It's not as though shooters are unaware of the dangers of lead ammunition. Pregnant women are encouraged not to use firearms while they are pregnant, and washing your face and hands are strongly recommended after shooting.

The air quality at indoor shooting ranges is already regulated by three different government agencies, the EPA, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These regulations require air circulation systems designed to blow microscopic lead particles downrange, away from shooters, and air filtering systems that capture lead particles so they are not re-circulated to the range or expelled into the environment.

If lawmakers really are concerned about the environment and the health of shooters, there are other methods that can be used; public education, inspections, etc., that would be far less costly or have the effect of making training for self defense solely the domain of the ultra-wealthy.

This proposed law is just another attack on California gun owners. The public health concerns are bogus.

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