California is on the verge of becoming the first state to impose a full ban on hunting with lead bullets — with environmentalists and gun-rights advocates squaring off as Gov. Jerry Brown decides whether to sign the legislation.
The state already has a ban on lead-bullet hunting in eight counties with an endangered condor population. But the new proposal, overwhelmingly approved this month by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, would impose a statewide ban on all hunting.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has until Oct. 12 to decide whether to sign the legislation, which would not be fully implemented for at least several years.
Environmentalists and other supporters have broadened their argument beyond protecting the prehistoric condor bird, saying the lead bullets, and the left-behind lead fragments on which animals feed, are making their way into the country’s edible meat supply.
And they point to a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and the North Dakota Department of Public Health that concluded lead is so prevalent in meat harvested through hunting that pregnant women and children should never eat it.
“There is no safe level of lead for human consumption,” said bill sponsor and state Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, a Los Angeles-area Democrat.