It hasn’t been the best year for those who would restrict our Second Amendment rights. After starting the year talking about hastily passing bills to drastically curtail law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights, the anti-gun movement fell flat when the Senate shot down the Bloomberg/Obama anti-gun agenda.
While some individual state legislatures passed anti-gun laws, those laws are now being rebuked by people voting with their feet and at the ballot box. Firearms manufacturers are moving jobs out of hostile states like Connecticut, New York and Colorado to states that welcome the industry with open arms and strong support for the Second Amendment. And in Colorado, grassroots activists mounted a stunning recall campaign to remove from office two state senators who led the charge to pass a package of anti-Second Amendment legislation.
The gun control movement also lost control of the narrative, as the mainstream media started talking more and more about a broken mental health system as the root cause behind many of the tragic acts of mass violence. The focus on mental health is growing, and by corollary, the drive to restrict our rights is fading.
So after striking out in Congress and at the ballot box, the gun control movement has resorted to backdoor methods to advance their extreme agenda.
California’s recently-signed-into-law ban on traditional ammunition is a striking example of the tactics that can be expected from the gun control crowd in the future. The California condor is a scavenger that feasts on the remains of dead animals. Under the guise of saving the California condor from extinction, anti-hunting and gun control groups advanced legislation that will now make it much more expensive – if not impossible – for California sportsmen to hunt.
The thought behind the new law, if you listen to its supporters, is that lead ammunition used in hunting leads to lead left behind gut piles, which leads to condors contracting lead poisoning and dying after eating those animals. Unfortunately for the anti-hunting lobby, there is no hard science to back that theory up. Proponents of the law conveniently ignore the fact that despite a regional ban on traditional ammunition in the area of the state frequented by the condor, the birds still ingested lead from paint chips and landfills.
The issue for the hunting community is this: lead ammunition is far less expensive and more readily available than other alternative ammunition types. The relative cost differential for alternative-metal ammunition is as much as 200 percent, leaving many California hunters priced out of the woods. And those who can afford it will encounter shortages as California creates an artificial spike in national demand.
This Trojan-horse gun control strategy is likely to be used more and more in the future. Anti-gun operatives have learned the lesson the hard way: Americans do not like having their Second Amendment rights infringed upon. The challenge for hunters, sportsmen and other Second Amendment advocates will be to stay vigilant, and protect against other forms of Trojan-horse gun control before they spread eastward.
Larry Keane is senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @lkeane.