With firearms hunting seasons poised to begin across the country, a new report released this week asserts that the implementation of California's ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition will result in shortages and potential price gouging in The Golden State.
The survey-based report was conducted by Florida-based Southwick Associates, an outdoor marketing group specializing in the industries associated with the shooting sports and other outdoor recreation. It was commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the primary trade association for the firearms and ammunition industries and was presented during a public hearing this week of the Wildlife Resource Committee of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission.
AB711, which bans lead-based ammo across the entire state of California, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2013. It becomes effective in 2019.
Due to technical and market-based constraints on manufacturers, the implementation of AB711 would at least triple the price of ammunition, driving more than one-third of the state's hunters to hunt less or stop hunting completely, the report contends. With the loss of more than 50,000 hunters in the state, California's economy would suffer the loss of millions of dollars in salaries and in tax revenue.
Utilizing a survey of major U.S. ammunition manufacturers, the report found that a ban on traditional ammo with lead components would translate to a price increase of 284 percent for centerfire ammo, 294 percent for rimfire ammo, and 387 percent for shotgun shells.
Further, based on a survey of California hunters, an increase in ammunition prices will drive 36 percent to either stop hunting completely or reduce participation. A total of 13 percent of those surveyed reported they would stop hunting, 10 percent said they were unsure if they would continue, and 23 percent said they would be less likely to participate in hunting.
In addition, the loss of hunter numbers would result in fewer dollars for wildlife conservation in a state already strapped for funding of wildlife programs and law enforcement.