Senate Democrats, Law Enforcement, Mayors Announce Bills to Reduce Gun Violence

February 07, 2013

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

SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) along with several of his colleagues, law enforcement, gun safety advocates, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a series of bills to help prevent gun violence.

The legislative package is designed to close loopholes in the existing regulations, keep the circulation of firearms and ammunition out of the hands of dangerous persons, and strengthen education relating to firearms and gun ownership.

Among the bills is Yee’s SB 47 to prohibit the use of the bullet button and other devices that allow for 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 firearm action. Essentially, bullets could only be loaded one-by-one from the top of the gun.

“While we cannot stop every senseless act of gun violence, the significant rise of mass shootings across the country demonstrates that we must take steps to close the loopholes that currently exist in California,” said Yee. “These bills will lower the likelihood of a mass shooting and limit the casualties when such an incident occurs.”

In addition to SB 47, Yee is authoring SB 108 to 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.

Yee also plans to introduce legislation that will remove unnecessary and cumbersome barriers that have prevented many counties from implementing Laura’s Law, a program that allows enforcement of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) orders for some potentially dangerous mentally ill patients.

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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Senate Democrats’ Ten Legislative Actions

 REGULATION: Closing loopholes in existing laws
1.       Fixed magazines (Steinberg): Prohibit the future sale, purchase, manufacture, importation, or transfer in California of semi-automatic rifles that can accept detachable magazines. This legislative action decisively closes the loopholes that have allowed the gun industry to flood our communities with rapid-reload battlefield weapons.
2.       High Capacity magazines (Hancock): Ban possession of large capacity ammunition magazines over 10 rounds. This legislative action decisively closes loopholes that have allowed the gun industry to enable the assembly and home-modification of 10-round magazines into larger capacity magazines.
3.       Bullet button (Yee): This legislative action closes the loophole that has allowed the gun industry to flood our communities with modification tools to rapidly detach and replace magazines from semi-automatic rifles.
4.       Shotgun Definition (Jackson):  This legislative action updates the definition of a banned shotgun with a revolving cylinder to include the new technology of a shotgun-rifle combination.

CIRCULATION: Keeping weapons and ammunition in the hands of responsible gun owners
5.       Requires Ownership Record of all Guns (Steinberg): Applies ownership records consistently across-the-board, ensuring all firearms are recorded, and ensuring that no firearms of any classification are legally accessible to prohibited persons or persons without a background check.
6.       Ammunition Purchase Permit (de Leon): Expanding on what Los Angeles and Sacramento are already doing requiring anyone wishing to purchase ammunition in California to obtain a purchase permit first, by passing a full and complete background check.
7.       Gun Loans (Block): This legislative action prevents unregulated gun loans, with exceptions, including hunting. To limit legal accessibility of weapons to prohibited persons or persons without a background check.
 8.       APPS Expansion (Leno): This legislative action prohibits individuals on APPS from residing in a home with any weapons. Expand the APPS list by adding more than two DUIs, other crimes. 
9.       APPS Enforcement (Leno/Steinberg): This legislative action authorizes DOJ to use existing DROS funding to eliminate the 19,000 backlog of individuals on APPS.

EDUCATION: Fostering a culture of responsible and informed gun ownership
10.   Fire arm safety certificate (Block): This legislative action will establish a safety certificate for handguns, mirroring the training currently required annually to lawfully carry a concealed weapon (CCW).

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