Senate Votes to Protect California from Gun Violence
Yee’s bills to restrict easily exchangeable magazines, require safe firearm storage advance
SACRAMENTO – The Senate acted early this week, passing two critical gun safety bills authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). Senate Bill (SB) 47, which bans the “bullet button,” and SB 108, which mandates safe storage requirements when the gun owner is not home.
SB 47 would prohibit future assault weapons sold in California from having a “bullet button”, which allows a user to load a new magazine in seconds.
Currently, many assault rifles sold in California have a feature known as a bullet button that allows a magazine to be replaced in mere seconds. 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 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.
“California’s Assault Weapons Ban has protected the public for decades,” said Yee. “We must adapt it along with the times to keep Californians safe from easily reloadable military style weapons.”
SB 47 is part of the LIFE Act, a package of Senate bills representing a concerted effort by Senate Democrats to address the many aspects of gun violence that were debated today.
Yesterday, the Senate passed SB 108, which would require that firearms have a trigger lock or are secured in a gun safe when the owner is not home.
“All too often, unsecured firearms are stolen and end up on the black market, or are found by a child with tragic consequences,” said Yee. “Safely securing a weapon when leaving it alone in your home is a responsible practice that should be required by law for the benefit of public safety.”
“It is past time to strengthen California’s assault weapon law by closing loopholes exploited by unscrupulous gun manufacturers,” said Dallas M. Stout, Psy.D. , President of the California Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We also applaud Senator Yee for addressing the problem of unlocked guns in the home – guns that often unintentionally fall into the hands of children with terrible consequences.”
A 2007 survey conducted by Wake Forest University found that 70% of households that owned firearms and had children did not take adequate precautions to safely store the weapons. American children aged 5-14 are 11 times as likely to be killed by an accidental gunshot wound than in other developed countries, and suicide by gun remains the most common method of suicide for people aged 10-24.
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.
The bills will next be considered by the State Assembly.
Contact: Dan Lieberman,