A proposed bill in Arizona has stirred up controversy among animal rights activists. If passed, HB 2022 would allow the use of specialty ammo inside Arizona cities for snakes and rats. The bill was proposed earlier this month in the state House and is looking good to lawmakers.
“It’s a firearms bill. It’s not a bill that deals with harming snakes or rats or any other vermin, it merely is a firearms bill,” Republican Rep. Jay Lawrence says. Regardless, the bill is still drawing fire from animal rights groups. Lawrence’s measure, would modify state law to allow the use of rat or snake shot to control pests.
Under the new law, cartridges would be used, as opposed to a solid bullet. The cartridges would have a plastic cap that would hold a number of small diameter shots. It would allow only .22 caliber shot rounds with pellets 1.3mm or less in diameter. This would replace the current law that only allows for the use of blanks within city limits to control pests.
Reptile advocates top the list of those opposing the new bill. They argue there are at least four species of endangered snakes at large in Arizona.
“Do we really want people shooting guns in the city limits next to houses?” Russ Johnson of the Phoenix Herpetological Society said. “You’re talking about shooting rats. So you’re shooting on your rooftop, so you got bird shot spraying everywhere. OK, if you’re shooting a snake, you’re pointing down. You’re gonna get a ricochet even though it’s pellet.”