California’s Great Gun Grab: State’s Sweeping Gun Control Bills Target Firearms, Ammo — and Hunting

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

Breaking new ground in the state-level battle over firearms, the Democratic-dominated California state legislature has taken gun control into uncharted territory with a flurry of new bills that target not just firearms and ammunition, but also recreational hunting.

Among the dozen gun-control bills sitting on California Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk are measures that would outlaw lead ammunition for hunting as well as common types of hunting rifles under the umbrella of an assault-weapons ban. Taken together, the measures go far beyond the efforts that have inspired a sharp backlash and political battles in states such as Connecticut and Colorado.

To put the lead bill in context, about 95 percent of all ammunition sold in California contains lead. The alternative is metal bullets, some of which can pierce police armor and are banned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Critics say the bill would effectively end hunting as a sport in California.

“If California outlaws lead bullets, the federal government already outlaws everything else, so there’s nothing left for hunters to use,” said California Assemblyman Brian Jones, a Republican from Santee. “It basically outlaws hunting.”

Mr. Brown has yet to say whether he will sign any or all of the gun bills, but the effort has already sparked a backlash against the Democratic-sponsored bills by one of the party’s chief constituencies: labor unions. A half-dozen California labor leaders have formed a coalition urging the governor to veto Assembly Bill 711, the lead-ammunition ban, citing the loss of manufacturing and supply-chain jobs as well as recreational opportunities.

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