Committee Approves Bill to Close Assault Weapon Loophole

July 03, 2012

Loophole puts public at risk by allowing military style weapons with detachable magazines
 
SACRAMENTO – California has some of strongest gun control laws in the country, however gun manufacturers are getting around one the state’s most important assault weapon laws. The loophole allows ownership of a semi-automatic weapon – such as an AR-15 and AK-47 – that has a magazine which can be easily detached by a small magnet.

On a 4-2 partisan vote, the Assembly Public Safety Committee today approved legislation authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) to close the loophole.

“There is absolutely no reason why these military style weapons need to have such easily changeable magazines,” said Yee. “While most gun owners are law abiding, I am deeply concerned with these assault weapons getting into the wrong hands, resulting in mass casualties of civilians or law enforcement officers.”

Magazines, or the storage areas that allow for repeat firing, that can be removed by a normal push button in combination with features such as a pistol grip and telescoping stock are banned in California. The law essentially requires magazines to be fixed, or removed or replaced with the use of a tool, in order to slow down the process of reloading.

To get around the law, gun makers have created a new mechanism, or “tool,” that allows the magazine to be easily removed by just putting a small magnet over the tool release feature, basically recreating a normal push button and allowing magazines to be changed within seconds.

“These conversions are circumventing the spirit of California’s assault weapon statute,” said Yee. “Absent this bill, California’s assault weapon ban is significantly weakened. For the safety of the general public, we must close this loophole.”

Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center agrees. He recently told CBS 5 in San Francisco, “If the bullet button assault weapon is allowed to come into the state then the California assault weapons ban basically doesn’t exist anymore.”

Since introducing the bill, Yee has received dozens of racist emails and voicemails in opposition to the bill. One such voicemail message said, “Buddy we are out here and we are going to fight you…I see you’re from Communist China and you aren’t getting away with this crap…Go back to China…”

Others have taken to Twitter, Facebook, Calguns.net, AR15.com, AroundTheCapitol.com, and other websites to post offensive comments and photos, including racist caricatures of Asians and comments such as “Take this sh*t back to China you communist f*ck,” “who the f*ck let a chink into office,” and “Read the AMERICAN constitution, you commie chink f*ck,” among others.

SB 249 will next be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,
(916) 651-4008