This information is current as of July 10, 2010, the deadline for submittal of this article.
PASSAGE OF SB 282 NOW CONTIGENT UPON THE PASSAGE OF AB 2358
A partial win was scored for firearms owners at the capitol on June 29-but it came with a catch. SB 282, the firearms and ammunition transactions privacy bill, successfully made it out of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, supported by both sides of the aisle, with a unanimous vote. However, SB 282 was amended in the Assembly Public Safety Committee to reflect that its enactment is fully contingent upon the enactment of AB 2358. The amendment was pushed through using the argument that both bills deal with privacy issues related to ammunition purchases. This new “contingency” amendment may be an issue for many firearms owners. Here is why.
Although AB 2358 has a provision to protect the privacy of handgun ammunition purchaser information, it also has a preemption issue lurking within. AB 2358 would require that handgun ammunition vendors transmit records of sale, information on the quantity and type of ammunition purchased, and the personal information of purchasers collected at the time of sale to local law enforcement if required by city or county ordinance. AB 2358’s requirements directly conflict with the state’s ability to regulate ammunition purchases without interference by local jurisdictions. You can just imagine the multitude of complicated and conflicting local ordinances that are out there now and all of those that will be created as a result of AB 2358. State law supersedes local ordinances in the regulation of firearms and ammunition for good reason. Without state oversight in this arena there would be chaos and firearms owners and vendors would be at the whim of city councils and county boards throughout the state.
SB 282 (Wright, D-Los Angeles) is a CRPA-NRA co-sponsored bill that seeks to resolve the privacy fiasco created last year by AB 962, the handgun ammunition registration bill. AB 962 requires, effective February 1, 2011, that ammunition purchasers provide vendors with detailed personal information: name, signature, residence, date of birth, phone number, driver’s license number, and thumb print. Your personal information is slated to be collected and stored by vendors without any provision for protection against identity theft, sales of your information to third parties, or secure destruction of your information. SB 282 calls for ammunition vendors to protect the privacy of your records, as well as handgun ammunition and firearms transactions.
AB 2358 (De Leon-Los Angeles) also proposes to clean up language created by AB 962 (also a De Leon bill) and protect the personal information of handgun ammunition purchasers in the same manner as SB 282. AB 2358, however, only deals with handgun ammunition transactions. This is in contrast to SB 282 which covers both ammunition and firearms transactions. AB 2358 would allow law enforcement to copy handgun ammunition sales and purchaser information and remove it from handgun ammunition vendor facilities. In addition, AB 2358 would allow uncontrolled expansion of city and county ordinances that would require handgun ammunition vendors to transmit all information relating to handgun ammunition sales to local law enforcement agencies (including purchasers’ personal information).
AB 2223 – LEAD BAN ON STATE WILDLIFE AREAS SHOT DOWN
One half of the battle on the lead ban issue is over! On June 29, AB 2223, the bill proposing a ban on the use of lead shot on state wildlife areas, was defeated in a 4 to 3 vote in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water. The author of the bill, Assembly Member Pedro Nava, introduced AB 2223 on behalf of Audubon, California in an attempt to circumvent the regulatory process, delegated to the Fish and Game Commission, to govern hunting on state wildlife areas. The June 29 defeat is a significant victory for hunters in California.
AB 2223 was strongly opposed at the capitol by CRPA. Thank you to everyone who voiced their unyielding opposition to their representatives. Thanks to the “No” votes and those who elected to “abstain” AB 2223 was defeated. Please take time to thank those legislators who voted no or abstained. Here is how the vote broke down:
Yes: Pavely, D-Agoura Hills
Kehoe, D-San Diego Lowenthal, D-Long Beach
No: Cogdill, R-Fresno
Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta Huff, R-Diamond Bar Wolk, D-Davis
Abstain: Padilla, D-Pacoima Simitian, D-Palo Alto
Even with this victory we cannot rest easy yet. As you probably recall, a proposal to ban lead shot on state wildlife areas and ecological reserves is now pending before the Fish and Game Commission (FGC). At its June 24 meeting the FGC voted to place the lead ban issue on the August FGC meeting agenda to discuss four options. The difference between AB 2223 and the regulatory options before the FGC is that AB 2223 dealt with only the use of lead shot. The regulatory options before the FGC include the potential for banning lead bullets, as well as lead shot. The four options being considered are:
1) Ban the use of lead shot on wildlife areas and ecological reserves.
2) Ban the use of lead shot on wildlife areas and ecological reserves with designated wetlands.
3) Ban the use of ammunition containing lead projectiles on wildlife and ecological reserves.
4) No change.
The Department of Fish and Game has no new information to support banning the use of lead projectiles on state wildlife areas and ecological reserves. The last reports submitted to the FGC on the effects of lead was during the proposal to eliminate the use of lead shot for hunting upland game in the condor zone. That proposal was rejected by the FGC in August 2009. The CRPA will oppose any change in the use of lead for hunting on state wildlife areas and ecological reserves and encourages its membership to contact the FGC and voice their opposition to the lead ban proposal.
GOOD NEWS: SB 1179 PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE
Thanks go out to the CRPA membership on this one! SB 1179 was voted out of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife on June 29 and is now in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. Senate Bill 1179 is an important bill for all hunters-its aim is to help preserve the tradition of hunting in California by allowing potential new hunters to be introduced to hunting, by a licensed hunter, without having to purchase a hunting license for themselves. SB 1179 would establish a program with two free hunting days per year when unlicensed hunters can hunt if they are accompanied by a licensed hunter. The program would require newly recruited hunters to complete an on-line hunter education course. This legislation promises to help recruit the next generation of hunters by allowing novices to try their hand at hunting without being required to purchase a license.
Please continue to help support hunting by supporting SB 1179. Contact your legislators and the members of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations and urge them to vote “yes” on SB 1179.
CONTINUE TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON AB 1810 &AB 1934
Thanks to your help we had a win this month with AB 2223, but we need to keep the pressure on the legislature to defeat AB 1810 and AB 1934. Voice your opposition! Both of these bills made it out of the Senate Committee on Public Safety and are awaiting a hearing in Senate Appropriations. Please help CRPA defeat these bills. These bills have nothing to do with crime control as the authors claim. They will not curb violence or make California safer; they will only serve to impose unreasonable restrictions on decent law-abiding residents. Contact your Senator and the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to register strong opposition. It is important that they hear directly from you and clearly know that you do not want your firearms rights infringed upon.
AB 1810 requires registration of rifles and shotguns in the same way handguns are now registered in California. Under current law, the information collected at the time of purchase of a rifle or shotgun (serial number, make, and model) is destroyed after the background check is completed. AB 1810 will require that the make, model, and serial number of the firearm, as well as the identifying information of the purchaser, be recorded and kept on file by the California Attorney General’s office. AB 1810 will also impose additional burdens on taxpayers to maintain the registration system as well as on the state’s licensed firearms dealers and small businesses who already deal with extensive recordkeeping requirements.
AB 1934 deletes provisions of current law that allow a firearm to be carried openly in a belt holster. The proponents of AB 1934 don’t trust you. If this bill passes, the open carrying of an unloaded handgun will be illegal with few exceptions. For example, licensed hunters, fishermen, and campers that historically have carried a handgun in a belt holster would be prohibited from carrying a firearm in any prohibited area of an unincorporated area. This would include forest service roads, trails, and campgrounds. The problem with AB 1934 is that it does not provide a way for the average person to carry a firearm for self-protection or other legitimate purposes.
To view the full text of these and other bills, visit the CRPA website at www.crpa.org.
POTENTIAL CLOSURE OF GREATER SAGE-GROUSE SEASON
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that Greater Sagegrouse are experiencing long term decline in population due to habitat degradation and loss caused by, among other things, uncontrolled off-highway vehicle use and invasive noxious weeds. The populations affected include the Bi-State population (also known as the Mono Basin population) of sagegrouse, which includes populations in Nevada as well as populations in Alpine, Inyo, and Mono counties in California.
As a result of the population decline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now considering Greater Sage-grouse as a candidate for listing under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service has a backlog of other priority species for listing at this time and has not been able to move forward with any action concerning the Greater Sage-grouse population. As a result, The Center for Biological Diversity has filed notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over failure to list the Greater Sage-grouse as a candidate for threatened or endangered status.
At its June meeting, the Fish and Game Commission received and discussed an “Initial Statement of Reasons” from the Department of Fish and Game Commission staff (DFG), regarding the general season for hunting Greater Sagegrouse in the four zones contained in Lassen, Mono, and Inyo counties. The report focused on reducing the impact hunting may have on the sage-grouse populations and proposed a reduction in the number of hunting permits issued, which could include a full season closure.
The three alternative proposals being considered by the Commission are:
1) Eliminate all permits for hunting sage-grouse. Very few permits are currently issued, and total take may not be of any significance to population numbers. This would result in the decrease of hunter opportunity.
2) Reduce the number of permits. A lower limit on the number of permits issued would eliminate the Commission’s ability to allow for more hunter opportunity when populations can support more take.
3) No Change Alternative. The “no change” alternative would maintain the current number of permits issued for sage-grouse and could potentially add to mortalities experienced by those populations if population numbers continue to decrease.
CRPA is strongly opposed to a full season closure as proposed in Alternative 1. In addition, Alternative 2 does not offer a good option for hunters either because it does not offer more hunter opportunity when populations increase.
CRPA supports the No Change Alternative as hunting is not a factor in the decline of sage-grouse populations. With the No Change Alternative, the DFG can continue to closely monitor the population, issue permits, and control allowable take based on population surveys.
If the sage-grouse season is closed by the Commission now it may never reopen due to the atmosphere of tight budgets and restricted resources we are facing. Reopening of the season would require an extensive environmental review, under the California Environmental Quality Act, which is a very expensive endeavor for the DFG.
Today in California, sage-grouse hunting is closely regulated and permits are controlled and issued by lottery. Therefore, the Commission dictates how many permits are issued and how many birds are taken. And this system works. This is in sharp contrast to some other states that do not use a permit system and instead have a general season with only bag limits and no close control over the number of hunters in the field.
The Commission will consider final adoption of the Greater Sagegrouse regulations, as well as all other upland game regulations at its August meeting. Please contact the Commission to voice your opinion on this issue. Submit your comments to the Commission at 1416 Ninth St., Rm. 1320, Sacramento, 95814, or through the Commission’s website a firstname.lastname@example.org
REPORT ON LEVELS OF LEAD FOUND IN CALIFORNIA CONDORS
The annual report on the “Levels of Lead Found in California Condors” for the 2009 period was reviewed at the June 23, 2010 Fish and Game Commission meeting. The purpose of the report is to determine if the law banning lead bullets for hunting big game and nongame species in the condor range (effective July 1, 2008) is reducing lead levels in the blood of the California condor. The report is required to be prepared by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and issued by the Commission pursuant to the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act. The report does not contain information directly collected by the DFG, but instead utilizes information reported to the DFG by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The prior report issued was for 2008, and the next required report will be for the 2012 period to be issued in June 2013.
Last year, during the Commission’s discussion regarding the 2008 report, the Commission noted that there was at least a 95+% compliance rate with the law requiring non-lead bullets. According to the 2009 report, the lead levels in 90 condors were found to be elevated despite the lead bullet ban for hunting in the condor zone. The 2009 report states that “The Department and Commission have concluded that this information, representing the second year of data after adoption of the regulation to prohibit lead in condor range, should not be considered conclusive of any “cause and effect” relationship between the prohibition of lead projectiles in condor range and blood lead levels detected in condors. In part, this is because the specific sources and locations of lead sources detected in sampled condors are not specifically known, relationships of sampled condors to hunting activity are not specifically known, and as it relates to the regulations in place that prohibit lead projectiles in condor range, the condor feeding habits for this period of time are also not specifically known.”
CRPA, NRA, and other groups provided testimony before the Commission pointing out that in spite of the lead ban, the lead levels are going up in the condors which indicates that there are other sources of lead contamination impacting the condor population not hunters using lead bullets.
The Commission and the DFG concluded the discussion by acknowledging that they do not have enough conclusive information to make a finding and that “Ultimately, it is too soon to tell whether the ban on lead ammunition for big game and non-game hunting has significantly reduced the frequency and level of lead exposure in condors. So, for the foreseeable future hunters will be required to use non-lead bullets for hunting in the condor zone.”
PROFILE: JOHN McCAMMON DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
(Provided courtesy of the DFG) When I first came to the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in April 2006, I had the privilege of serving as chief deputy director. This position allowed me to utilize my extensive experience and knowledge as a public administrator to help refine DFG’s organizational structure, establish budget transparency, and work directly with staff to set short- and longterm goals. We have been successful in meeting our objectives in these areas because of the commitment of each DFG employee and the support of partners, stakeholders, and the Schwarzenegger Administration.
On January 6, 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger appointed me director of DFG, and I accepted this honor with pride and enthusiasm. This position enhances my ability to serve California, contribute to the conservation of its diverse wildlife and habitats, and lead an extraordinary team of dedicated professionals who fully embrace our mission and are personally committed to the essential task of providing for the protection and responsible use of the public’s resources held in our trust.
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