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The economic impact of CA’s lead ammo ban

 

Rifle ammunition
Photo credit: Brady Miller, goHUNT.com

In October 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed California Assembly Bill (A.B.) 711, banning lead ammunition for hunting anywhere in the state. The statewide ban is scheduled to take effect in 2019.

Brown stated that hunters are “the original conservationists” and shifting to non-toxic ammunition “will allow them to continue the conservation heritage of California.” Still, will the costs of the bill outweigh the benefits? According to a recent report released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the answer is a resounding yes.

The report details the economic impact of California’s ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition and finds that the implementation of A.B. 711 will at least triple the price of ammunition, cause more than one-third of the state’s hunters to hunt less or stop hunting completely, cost California’s economy millions of dollars and, ironically enough, lead to a dramatic decline in funding for wildlife conservation.

Here is a closer look at the economic issues associated with requiring California hunters to switch to alternative ammunition composed of metals other than lead:

PRICES OF AMMUNITION

Major U.S. ammunition manufacturers report that a ban on traditional ammunition with lead components in California for hunting would lead to significantly higher prices: centerfire up 284%, rimfire up 294% and shotshells up 387%.

Projected price increases

HUNTER PARTICIPATION

Based on a survey of California hunters, an increase in ammunition prices would have a significant impact on hunter participation: 13% of California hunters report they would stop hunting as a result of the price change, an additional 10% were unsure if they would continue to hunt, and another 23% said they would likely hunt less than in recent years.  

Change in hunter activity

AMMUNITION SUPPLY

Though alternative ammunition in some calibers is available in the retail market, alternative ammunition only constitutes a small portion of annual ammunition manufacturing. Of all ammunition produced, only 5.3% of centerfire ammunition and 0.5% of rimfire rifle ammunition is produced using alternative metals, and for shotshells it's 24%. On top of this, most of the already small amount of alternative ammunition produced is not intended for hunting purposes, but rather is designated for indoor and specialty uses. The manufacturers are also very small in size and do not have the capacity and resources to meet the levels required of California.

CA ammunition compensation

The report indicates that the demand in California for the following calibers would exceed national production or require a large portion of national production of all alternative substitutes, ultimately leading to shortages and canceled hunting trips:

THE CALIFORNIA ECONOMY

With the loss of more than 50,000 hunters in the state, California’s economy will take a severe hit. Loss will include:

  • 1,868 jobs
  • $68.7 million in salaries and wages
  • $13.9 million in state and local tax revenue
  • $5.8 million of federal tax revenues

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION FUNDS

Hunters are the primary source of conservation funding in the state. A dramatic decline in hunters ultimately means fewer dollars for wildlife conservation. The expected reduction in hunter participation and their spending will result in a direct loss of at least $2.7 million in revenue from reduced license sales and a $695,000 reduction in its allocation of excise tax revenues from the federal Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund. These funds serve all wildlife, not just game species.

4 Comments

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Matt F. - posted 4 years ago on 11-13-2014 11:47:40 pm

I am trying to understand how centerfire ammunition prices will increase by 387% by switching from lead to copper bullets. For example, the current price on Cabela's for a box of Barnes Vor-TX (130 grain, 270 win, 100% copper) are $42.99 and the current price for a box of Nosler Trophy Grade Accubond (130 grain, 270 win, lead alloy) is $44.99. Even a cheap box of 270, 130 grain bullets cost around $20, so this would only be around 100% increase (200% of the overall cost). I personally only reload and the Swift Sciroccos and Nosler Accubonds I load in my 270 win, 30-06, and 300 win mag cost around the same amount as the Barnes, Hornady, and Nosler all-copper bullets. Just trying to understand how the numbers that are being reported are substantiated. For the record, I'm a native Montanan, live in Montana, and have never shot or hunted with an a copper bullet.

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 4 years ago on 10-29-2014 05:14:27 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Hi Don. Can you explain more about which bar chart and price discussion you are referring to? I just took another look at the article and all the numbers match up in the text and charts. Thanks and hope you are having a great season.

Don M. - posted 4 years ago on 10-27-2014 11:59:41 pm
Idaho Falls

Check out the Prices discussion compared to the bar chart. Which is correct?

Dwight S. - posted 4 years ago on 10-24-2014 11:23:27 am

My aunt from California told me decades ago "There ain't nothing out there but fruits, nuts, and flakes", and it looks that they all vote.