DeLeon’s SB 53 would treat ammo buyers like criminals

By JIM MATTHEWS www.OutdoorNewsService.com First, news from Sacramento: SB 53, that horrific piece of legislation that would force all ammunition buyers to essentially go through a criminal booking process – thumb-printing, background check, pay a fine -- I mean a registration fee, and have their name on a registry, is about to pass our goofy legislature. The bill would also ban all ammunition sales from mail order companies, essentially eliminating ammunition availability for old antiques and odd-ball guns in calibers not normally stocked by retail outlets. Thinking people can’t fathom the intent of the bill except to harass gun owners. Senator Kevin De Leon’s bill was amended slightly this week to exempt licensed hunters from the mail order ban. It was a ploy. With over six million gun owners in California and only about 250,000 of us who hunt in this state, this was a feeble effort for De Leon to get some hunting groups who opposed the bill to back off. Hunters and all other gun owners need to call their state Senators and plead with them not to pass this bill. It’s just bad legislation that discriminates against gun owners. FAST AND FURIOUS: You remember Fast and Furious, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ (ATF) botched effort at gun tracking that morphed into a gun-running operation that armed Mexican drug cartels and has led to the death of hundreds of Mexican citizens and the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Well, the a judge this week demanded that Eric Holder’s Justice Department release a log of all withheld documents to the court. There is a belief these withheld documents contain information that AFT officials and members of the president’s staff knew of the operation and let it continue even when it became clear the AFF was losing track of the guns. Justice has until Oct. 1 to turn over the log, and eventually all the documents, so the public might finally know who was responsible for this illegal operation. I would be there will be another computer crash (like the one that ate the IRS documents) that will gobble up the log and all of the documents it lists. DOVE OPENER SEPT. 1 – DFW MUM: The Arizona Game and Fish Department has launched a major public information campaign about this year’s dove hunting season opener on Sept. 1 (Go to this link for the Arizona information: http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/hunt-info/dove/dove.shtml). The big news is a new 15 bird limits (a 50 percent increase) and excellent hunting opportunity. California has the same limit and as good (maybe better) hunting opportunity, but apparently our Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is intent on keeping this news a secret. BIGHORN SHEEP DIE – NO ONE PROSECUTED: While there was a big splash in the news when an animal control officer in La Quinta rescued a young desert bighorn sheep ram from a canal last Sunday, there hasn’t been a peep about the death of another bighorn in canal in the same area this week since the rescue. But that’s hardly news these days. These rare desert sheep drown all the time in these canals. I was shown the skull of a huge ram that drowned in one of the area canals a couple of years ago, a sheep that would have brought over $100,000 in tag money if the sheep was killed legally by a hunter who bought an auction tag. Yet, no hands were even slapped over the needless death of this sheep, no fines collected, no citations written. The DFW refuses to demand that the golf course owners and canal operators fence the sheep off of the fairways (where they get diseases and die) and canals (where they drown) to protect them from the hazards. In fact -- I’ll repeat this -- they don’t even get fined for illegal take when one drowns or dies of disease. This is our DFW at its best. They will help implement a stupid statewide ban on lead ammunition for hunting on the off chance it might save a hawk or two from dying of lead poisoning. And “might” is an optimistic term because the reality is that the ban will have zero effect on any species’ population. But this is the same agency that won’t enforce regulations and laws that ban the take of eagles (by windmills and solar power) and bighorn sheep (by golf-course caused disease and drowning in canals). The agencies priorities are completely out of whack. END

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