Yee Fights for Stronger Assault Weapon Ban

October 11, 2013

SB 47 would close loophole allowing easily exchangeable magazines

SACRAMENTO – Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) recommitted to passing his legislation to strengthen the California Assault Weapon Ban today, in the wake of Governor Jerry Brown’s veto of SB 374 by Senator Darrell Steinberg.

“California’s Assault Weapons Ban has protected the public for decades,” said Yee. “But we must work to make sure that it is capable of dealing with new threats that face California. In the Governor’s veto message, he spoke of the importance of our gun laws and the need to make sure they are carefully tailored. SB 47 will protect the public while keeping an appropriately narrow scope.”

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.

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 before legislature this past year.

“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.

“Legislation passed back in 2000 was designed to regulate and control the use of assault weapons,” said Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese of the Los Angeles Police Department when he testified in favor of the bill. “Products such as magnetized buttons have overridden the original intent of the law, effectively subverting the assault weapon ban.”

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. California’s rate of gun deaths has dropped by 56% as a result of the past 20 years of strong gun laws.

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.

SB 47 is currently before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it could be heard as early as January.

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Contact: Dan Lieberman,

(916) 651-4008