Bendett: If the State Bans Lead, Acquiring Non-Lead Ammunition Must be Easier for Hunters

Assemblyman Scott Bendett (R,C-Sand Lake) is teaming up with Columbia Land Conservancy President Troy Weldy to discuss the challenges likely to emerge should the state move to ban the use of lead bullets and ammunition in the near future. While this transition to non-lead would be a big win for public and environmental health, the hurdles hunters statewide would be forced to jump through to acquire non-lead ammunition could be costly.

“Leaving responsible hunters to acquire non-lead ammunition either out-of-state or online to be picked up at a licensed dealer miles away from home can be expensive and inconvenient,” said Bendett. “If the state makes the switch to non-lead ammunition statewide, there must be clarity and efficiency for hunters looking to navigate the proper legal channels and acquire non-lead bullets. The challenges currently in place as a result of the SAFE Act make obtaining ammunition much more difficult than it needs to be, and this needs to change.”

Weldy believes if the state wishes to ban lead, it could lessen the impact and the opposition by reducing the barriers to acquiring non-lead ammo. This includes amending the SAFE Act. By clarifying the language and making direct-to-home sales legal, registered ammunition dealers could sell non-lead ammunition directly to hunters. Not only would this be more convenient and reduce the cost of purchasing non-lead ammunition, but it would not change the requirements for dealers to register with New York state nor hinder the state’s ability to track ammunition sales if necessary.

“As a hunter myself, I encourage all hunters to use non-lead ammo,” said Weldy. “I transitioned to non-lead years ago as I did not want to inadvertently cause lead poisoning to a bald eagle, fox or a member of my family. This transition was difficult, though. Non-lead bullets are harder to find and more expensive, with the costs and access further increased without the ability for direct-to-consumer shipments.”