A Bay Area lawmaker introduced a bill today to close a loophole in the state’s assault-weapons law allowing “bullet-button” semiautomatic rifles that reload in an instant.
State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, gutted and amended SB 249 to carry the legislation, and expects it will be considered by the Legislature next month.
“There is absolutely no reason why these military style weapons need to have such easily changeable magazines,” Yee said in a news release. “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 that can be removed by a normal push button, in combination with features such as a pistol grip and telescoping stock, are banned by California law; the law essentially requires that magazines be fixed, or removed or replaced with the use of a tool, in order to slow down the reloading process.
In an apparent effort to get around the law, gun makers have created a new mechanism that lets the magazine be easily removed by the tip of a bullet or in some cases by just putting a small magnet over the “bullet button,” basically recreating a normal push-button and letting magazines 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 practically toothless. For the safety of the general public, we must close this loophole.”
The “bullet button” controversy was brought to the fore by a recent report by CBS5. As you can see here, it’s cheap and easy to install: