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October 22, 2021

Governor Silent on Calif. Lead Bullet Ban

A spokeswoman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday the
governor had yet to make a decision on the proposed ban against
using lead bullets in the condor range.
Hollister – A spokeswoman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday the governor had yet to make a decision on the proposed ban against using lead bullets in the condor range.

With the state Assembly and Senate both recently approving the legislation to limit hunters to using non-lead ammunition in the condor range, which includes San Benito County, it’s now up to the governor to either sign or veto the bill.

The Riddley-Tree Condor Preservation Act authored by Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, has yet to reach the governor’s desk, the spokeswoman said. Schwarzenegger has until Oct. 14 to approve or veto all bills approved during the current legislative session, which ends later this week.

The proposed ban against use of lead bullets in the condor range has been sparked by illness or death to many of the free-flying California condors. Pinnacles National Monument in San Benito County has been home to one of the reintroduction programs since 2003.

Hunters against the legislation, however, argue such a law violates their Second Amendment rights, that many responsible hunters bury their gut piles preventing lead poisoning, and that non-lead ammunition would make hunting more difficult. Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula, contended to the Associated Press that the ban would also harm the state’s economy by discouraging people from spending money on hunting.

This summer, two of the monument’s condors were found to have elevated lead levels in their bloodstream, after 11 condors from the park were treated last year for the same problem. Kelly Sorenson, head of the Ventana Wilderness Society, has said 12 of the 48 California condor deaths in the wild, since the reintroduction began in 1997, have been due to lead poisoning.

Two Pinnacles condors died this year, but the causes of death have not been determined.

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