Heartland Outdoors: Through the Lens

SB0201 Seeks to Ban All Lead Ammunition For Hunting

Saturday, February 02

There’s been a flurry of bills introduced during the first few weeks of legislative session in Illinois, and rest assured that we will be providing a look at all of them in the coming few days, but SB0201 just jumped out at me on the “WHAT????!!” list.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Iris Martinez (D) of the 20th district, seemed straight forward enough when I started reading through it.

“Section 5. The Wildlife Code is amended by adding Section
5 2.5b as follows:

6   (520 ILCS 5/2.5b new)
7   Sec. 2.5b. Nontoxic ammunition.
8   (a) Except as provided in subsections (e) and (g), and as
9 soon as can be practicably implemented by the Department of
10 Natural Resources under subsection (d), nontoxic ammunition,
11 as certified by the Department, shall be required when taking
12 all wildlife, including game mammals, game birds, non-game
13 birds, and non-game mammals with any firearm.
14   (b) The Department shall adopt by rule a public process to
15 certify ammunition as nontoxic ammunition and shall define, by
16 rule, nontoxic ammunition to include only ammunition in which
17 there is no lead content, excluding the presence of trace
18 elements of lead. The Department shall establish and annually
19 update a list of certified ammunition. The list of certified
20 ammunition shall include, but not be limited to, any federally
21 approved nontoxic shotgun ammunition.”

Nothing surprising in that section, and I think a good many of us saw some type of push to ban all lead ammo coming. We all have our individual arguments for/against; we know how to fight a lead ammunition ban. We know what to do, have data and arguments at the ready.

What caused me to nearly fall out of my chair – was the second section of the bill. The section that frankly, in my opinion is just ridiculous and would be a giant fiasco.


(c) To the extent that funding is available, the Department
23 shall establish a process that provides hunters with nontoxic
1 ammunition at no or reduced charge. The process shall provide
2 that the offer for nontoxic ammunition at no or reduced charge
3 may be redeemed through a coupon sent to a permit holder with
4 the appropriate permit tag. If available funding is not
5 sufficient to provide nontoxic ammunition at no charge, the
6 Department shall set the value of the reduced charge coupon at
7 the maximum value possible through available funding, up to the
8 average cost within this State for nontoxic ammunition, as
9 determined by the Department. The nontoxic ammunition coupon
10 program described in this subsection (c) shall be implemented
11 to the extent that there is sufficient funding within the
12 Department.

Our DNR is already underfunded and understaffed. Thankfully there is included the all important phrase “ to the extent funding is available”. This bill would task IDNR with setting up this entire program to PROVIDE non toxic ammunition.  AT NO OR REDUCED COST.  Could someone please explain to me how exactly this could or would work? Putting our DNR in the position of distributing ammunition sets off a whole series of questions.  First question is does this after the fact turn our DNR into an ammunition dealer? Is that even legal?

I can’t quite figure out the intended logistics of this proposed program either. How would a hunter actually acquire the no/low cost non toxic ammunition or “coupons” ?  Do you get your ammunition when you get your tags and permits? 

It seems to me that this bill sets forth in just a few words an enormous undertaking for IDNR. An undertaking that the agency is not able to fulfill in it’s current state of funding and staff. Essentially a whole new program and all that entails would have to be created.

I say remove the language tasking IDNR with this nonsense of distribution and provision of ammunition. Let us first argue, debate,  and decide if a total lead ban for hunting is appropriate for Illinois hunters. Then, should that even come to pass, hunters would just have to find ammo on their own.

Seriously do we want to have to acquire our ammunition through a DNR program? I think not.

What do you think Heartland Community? Is this a shining example of legislation written by someone who has little knowledge of things actually work? A step towards impairing our ability to hunt? A, I just a crazy grump old broad? (well, I suppose that’s a given!).

Let’s discuss this situation Heartland folks!

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