Yee: Colo. massacre underscores need for gun bill

State Sen. Leland Yee quickly linked this morning’s massacre at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater to his own bill to change California’s assault-weapons policy:

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this horrific tragedy and their families. These events are shocking to all of us and sadly remind us of the carnage that is possible when assault weapons get into the wrong hands. It is imperative that we take every step possible to eliminate the types of senseless killings witnessed in Aurora, Colorado. We must limit access to weapons that can carry massive rounds of bullets or that can be easily reloaded. SB 249 is a step in that direction and should be approved by the Legislature as soon as possible.”

Yee’s SB 249 would close what the San Francisco Democrat calls a loophole in the state’s assault-weapons law, already among the nation’s most stringent.

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. Yee’s bill, now pending before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, would prohibit this.

The alleged gunman in Colorado reportedly was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a Glock handgun.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Typical

    Thoughts and prayers to the poor families in Aurora.

    However, what we do not need is a politician using a tragedy to get new laws passed. How about instead of trying to pass new laws, get law enforcement more funds to enforce the ones we already have. California and the United States government have strict gun laws, enforce those.

  • Elwood

    Thank God for term limits.

    One of the biggest idiots in the CA leg.(and there are SO MANY to choose from) will soon be gone.

  • JohnW

    Have never been to that theater, but lived two miles from there. Also watched on the TV in my office four miles from Columbine while the local stations reported live from outside the school as the shooting continued inside.

    I hate the NRA and disagree with the Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment. I’m in favor of strict and strictly enforced gun laws. However, I don’t know that such laws could have prevented either Columbine or Aurora.

  • RR senile columnist

    Mr Yee, tear down that bill!
    It will do nothing to prevent mass murders.

  • ForLiberty

    The laws did not save four cops in Oakland from a heavily armed parolee. Yep, I believe there is a law on the books that prevents a convicted felon from possessing a firearm, yet it was unable to prevent the deadly assault on the four officers from Oakland PD.

  • Elwood

    69 killed in Norway.


    Damn’ Norwegian Rifle Association and lax Norwegian gun laws are to blame!

  • JohnW

    @5 For Liberty

    Well, in the case of Aurora, the Glocks, shotgun, AR, large clip and 6,000 rounds of ammo were all purchased legally. Yes, a 24-year old student can purchase 6,000 rounds of ammo, no questions asked! I wonder how the firearms dealers who sold the stuff to that kid feel today. How much does it cost to buy 6,000 rounds anyway?

    The guns that killed the four cops in Oakland and that kill people in Oakland and Richmond nearly every day most likely started out as a legal sale in Georgia or other states with lax resale laws. The party who bought them legally (probably in quantity) then sold them to a middle man who trafficked them illegally into California.

    In this age of modern technology, we should have the ability to electronically and instantaneously trace every gun used in a crime back to the parties who originally sold and bought the gun and every change of hands from that point. The last documented buyer should have civil liability, unless the gun was stolen under circumstances that buyer could not have reasonably prevented.

    I’d be interested to know what percentage of the AR-type weapons in circulation and related ammo and large clips are possessed by criminals vs by legal and sane owners.

    Wlth millions of new guns added every year to the hundred of millions already in circulation, the day is not far away when the stuff we see in Oakland and Richmond every day spreads like cancer to Walnut Creek, Lamorinda, Danville, Dublin etc.

  • Truthclubber

    There are nine guns for every ten people in America.

    You can thank folks like Phil “I have as many guns as I need, but I don’t have as many guns as I want.” Gramm for that sad fact.

  • Elwood

    We need to find a way to get a gun to that poor underprivileged tenth person!

    I suggest a government program paid for by your tax dollars and mine.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    At Christmas time, let’s trade brand-new toys for previously used firearms. No child in high-crime areas should be deprived of the joys of the season. Drug dealers, addicts and thieves : Buy nice toys and get a gun in return! (Stolen toys are unacceptable)

  • JohnW

    Re: #8

    Another sad item is that I’ll bet Phil Gramm doesn’t even own that many guns or shoot them much. But saying that stuff plays well to the crowd down there in Tejas and keeps that NRA money coming in, or going against your opponent.

    But, as stated by my favorite congressman (and there are so many great ones to choose from), Louie Gohmert, events like Aurora can be chalked up to “attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.” Gawd, one of my best friends is next door neighbor to Louie in Tyler, TX. Says he’s not to bright, but a nice guy. Votes for him.

  • JohnW

    Re: #9

    I’m one of the “poor underprivileged tenth person” crowd. Don’t need no gun. My Louisville Slugger bat will do just fine. But I’ll take taxpayer cash in lieu of gun.

    My anti-gun views notwithstanding, I did get a chuckle out of that senior citizen in Ocala, FL a few days ago. Armed bandits tried to rob an “internet cafe” (a/k/a an online gambling house). He was sitting in the back. When the robbers turned their backs, he pulled out his licensed concealed carry handgun and shot at them (wounding but not life threatening). Of course, he might just as easily have caused the bad guys to shoot back and catch some customers in the crossfire.

  • Elwood

    Of course, he might just as easily have caused the bad guys to shoot back and catch some customers in the crossfire.”

    But he didn’t did he?

    Most bad guys can’t hit a bull in the ass with a barn door.

  • JohnW

    U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) tells Mike Wallace that possession and use of high capacity magazines (formerly banned by the assault weapons law) is protected by the Second Amendment.

    He has a point. If you read the 2nd Amendment and the Federalist Papers, they clearly say that.

  • Truthclubber

    @14 —

    As are machine guns and hand grenades — and I demand the right to open carry of each!

    Never know when I might have to toss one of those “pineapples” at some SUV blocking my way at the local Walmart parking lot!

  • For Liberty

    @ #7

    The proposed stripping of the 2nd amendment through laws prohibiting the the rights of our citizens to bare arms are now stretching not only to guns, but to ammunition as you refer to your reply. The laws may not get all the guns off the streets, but some are now written that will make it difficult for those firearms to operate without ammunition.

    The laws may limit the impact of some tradgeties such as we have seen in CO, but will primarily affect law abiding citizens who would never do such an act in the first place.

    As you probably already know, I believe this law referred to in this article is a waste of time and thus demonstrates the dire need for a part-time legislature in CA.