Repeal of Obama’s Lead Ammunition Ban Does Not Eliminate California Ban

Spring Wild Turkeys AP PhotoThe Gazette, David Lee Hartlage
AP/The Gazette/ David Lee Hartlage

Although Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke repealed Obama’s lead ammunition ban on March 2, California’s ban on lead ammunition remains in effect for the coming Turkey season.

Zinke’s action removed a ban at the federal or national level, but the state-level ban remains.

In fact, on March 6 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a reminder:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding hunters that nonlead ammunition is now required statewide when hunting wild turkeys with a shotgun. The upcoming 2017 spring wild turkey season will be the first hunting season with significant participation for which nonlead shot will be required statewide.

These regulations apply both to public and private lands (except for licensed game bird clubs), including all national forests, Bureau of Land Management properties and CDFW lands. Private landowners or anyone authorized to hunt on private land must also comply with these regulations.

The ban that Zinke revoked was issued by National Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe on January 19, the last full day of the Obama administration. It put in place a phasing out of lead ammunition on Federal land that would have been completed in five years. The ban covered “National Parks, tribal lands and national wildlife refuges in order to mirror policies in states where traditional ammunition is already restricted.” It also directed the “Assistant Director, Migratory Birds, in consultation with National Flyway Councils and individual states, …[to] establish a process to phase in a requirement for the use of nontoxic ammunition for recreational hunting of mourning doves and other upland game birds.”

In other words, it was a broad ban that covered traditional shooting and hunting ammunition. Zinke revoked the ban, but his actions do not impact state-level bans like those in California.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at