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08/31/2018 / By Tracey Watson
In one of the stranger stories to come out of the Golden State this year, Bond Arms Inc., the Texan firearm distributor, has announced that as a result of a recent Proposition 65 (Prop 65) ruling, its products will no longer be available in California from 31 August.
The company announced:
After August 30th, Bond Arms products will NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE (including guns, barrels, holsters, accessories, apparel, etc.) in the state of California due to Prop 65, which makes all manufacturers label products that could have a chemical that could cause cancer or birth defects, even though it won’t.
That’s right: Somehow legislators in California have decided that a chemical that comes into contact with Bond Arms firearms could cause cancer, and that these products would therefore have to carry warning labels. Bond Arms has decided that instead of having unsightly warnings engraved on the side of their handguns, they will simply no longer supply their products in the state.
Prop 65 isn’t new legislation; it actually dates back to 1986. At that time, Californians were becoming increasingly concerned about exposure to toxic chemicals and voted for the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by it original name, Proposition 65. This legislation requires that the state publish a list – updated annually – of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive problems. The list currently contains over 800 chemicals.
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) explains that in terms of Prop 65, businesses are obligated to inform Californians about “significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment.” It is hoped that this information will enable the state’s residents to make wise choices about which products to purchase and how to protect themselves from environmental harm.
So far, so good. That sounds like sensible and necessary legislation, right?
The implementation of Prop 65 in regard to Bond Arms, however, is ridiculous. To be concerned about the fact that a handgun has come into contact with a chemical on the Prop 65 list seems to be an extreme interpretation of the law and hardly what its writers intended. It is far more likely that legislators are using Prop 65 as a loophole to take aim at handguns in a state that is notoriously anti-gun.
It stands to reason that in a state that’s so concerned about chemicals that it wants to engrave warnings on handguns, that it would be extremely strict on the use of dangerous pesticides too, right?
Despite the fact that the adverse effects of pesticide exposure on human health are extremely well known and documented, California allows pervasive use of these toxic chemicals throughout the state, including in close proximity to schools.
Back in 2014, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) found that 2,500 schools in 15 different counties were located within one-quarter of a mile of an area with heavy pesticide use. (Related: Pesticides are heavily used near thousands of California schools.)
And what about pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables – exposure to which can double a child’s risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in addition to other serious health risks? They sure don’t carve warnings into the sides of bananas and oranges, or put warning labels on the packaging of fresh produce, do they? (Related: Pesticides used in California “salad bowl” growing region destroying health of workers, children.)
Clearly, Californian legislators have ulterior motives for “gunning” for Bond Arms. It’s a real shame that instead of using Prop 65 to truly protect the health of Californians as originally intended, they’re using it to pursue an anti-gun vendetta.
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