Yee Submits Legislation to Strengthen CA Assault Weapon Ban, Close Bullet Button Loophole

January 14, 2013

Bills will prohibit easily changeable magazines on assault weapons and require safe storage of all guns

SACRAMENTO – One month after the massacre that resulted in the killing of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) today submitted legislation that will strengthen California’s assault weapon ban.

“Four weeks after the tragedy in Newtown, like most people, I am still shocked,” said Yee. “Our country has changed forever. While we cannot stop every senseless act of gun violence, the significant rise of mass shootings demonstrates that we must take steps to close the loopholes that currently exist in California. These bills will lower the likelihood of a mass shooting and limit the casualties when such an incident occurs.”

Specifically, Yee’s SB 47 will prohibit the use of the bullet button and other devices that allow for easily changeable magazines on all military-style assault weapons, such as AR-15s. Under SB 47, featured weapons would only be allowed to have low capacity (10-round) ammunition magazines that could not be changed without dissembling the weapon. Essentially, bullets could only be loaded one-by-one from the top of the gun.

Yee’s SB 108 will require all guns to be properly stored when not in the possession of the owner.  Current law only requires that gun owners own a trigger lock or safety lock box for their weapon, but doesn’t require the safety device to be used on an idle firearm. Yee’s bill will specifically require that all guns be properly stored with a trigger lock or in a lock box at a residence when the owner is not present.

In support of Yee’s legislation, the President of the California Brady Campaign, Dallas Stout, Psy.D, said, “California enacted the first ban on assault weapons in the country after a deranged man shot and killed five children and wounded thirty others at a Stockton Elementary School in 1989. The ban has saved lives and has reduced gun deaths for over 20 years. We won’t let unscrupulous gun manufacturers get away with modifying their guns to try to get around California’s Assault Weapon Ban.”

Click here for language of SB 47

Click here for language of SB 108

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence recently released a study that showed the states with the toughest gun laws have the lowest rates of gun-related deaths, while states with weak gun laws have the highest rates of gun deaths.

The 6 states with the lowest per capita gun death rates (Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut), all had some of the toughest gun laws in country.

In contrast, the top 10 states with the highest per capita gun death rates (Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi) all had weak gun laws.

“It is a fact that strong gun laws work and weak laws result in the loss of innocent lives,” said Yee “Clearly, there is a direct correlation between common sense gun laws and fewer gun-related homicides.”

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