A proposed new bill in Minnesota has introduced legislation prohibiting the use or possession of lead ammunition while hunting. According to the Sports AllianceMinnesota State Representative Kelly Morrison is the author House Bill 2556. The bill calls for a complete ban on lead bullets and shotgun shells when used for hunting. The bill authorizes the use of lead ammunition for non-hunting shooting and proposes a “buy-back” program under which the state can purchase lead ammunition from hunters who should replace their loads with non-toxic options. Funding has not been established for the “buy-back” program.
The recommended penalty for offenders is $500 for a first offense, with subsequent offenses carrying a fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. House Bill 2556 is currently sitting on the House Committee on Finance and Environmental and Natural Resources Policy where it awaits a hearing.
Minnesota is the latest state to jump on the lead-free bandwagon that started when Maine introduced the LD 1015 while New York introduced a 703. Environmentalists frequently refer to an inconclusive study to support their claim of lead toxicity to animals. According to Brian Lynn of the Sportsmen’s Alliance, “The California condor studies that states have relied on were first referenced in 2013 and are inconclusive. Lead ammunition was banned in the condor area of California where the study took place, and it was banned statewide. These referenced isotope levels have not changed, indicating another source of lead ingestion by scavenger birds. Almost a decade later, the problem returns.
The Minnesota bill also includes a ban on sinkers and lead fishing lures. Switching to non-toxic increases expenses for hunters and anglers while ammo bills drop with an already depleted ammo inventory.