A few weeks ago, CBS 5 in San Francisco had a breathless report about a “loophole” in California gun laws that allowed people to have “assault weapons”. The so-called loophole that was just discovered by the intrepid reporters is something called a bullet button which has been around for five years or so. A bullet button allows the use of a removable magazine on an AR-15. However, one must use a tool or the tip of your bullet to remove that magazine. Essentially, it is device that allows fixed magazines to be removed for either loading or clearing a jam.
As sure as the sun sets in the West, you just knew that some politician was going to jump on this imagined bandwagon and introduce a law to outlaw bullet buttons. That politician is State Senator Leland Yee, Ph.D. who represents parts of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.
Today, Yee introduced his bill to outlaw bullet buttons. He will be gutting the contents of SB 249 and replacing them with his anti-bullet button language.
|Leland Yee – California’s General Gage|
From his press release:
“There is absolutely no reason why these military style weapons need to have such easily changeable magazines,” said Yee. “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, or the storage areas that allow for repeat firing, that can be removed by a normal push button in combination with features such as a pistol grip and telescoping stock are banned in California. The law essentially requires magazines to be fixed, or removed or replaced with the use of a tool, in order to slow down the process of reloading.
To get around the law, gun makers have created a new mechanism, or “tool,” that allows the magazine to 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 allowing magazines to 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 significantly weakened. For the safety of the general public, we must close this loophole.”
Fortunately, the people of California have groups like CalGuns and its president, Gene Hoffman, fighting for them. I just loved the historical lesson Gene gave the reporter from CBS 5 and Senator Yee. Having seen them in action, it would be good for them to take it to heart.
Yee seems to be the type of politician that thrives on attention from special interest groups such as the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center. In his recent effort to be elected Mayor of San Francisco, he touted how he had landed virtually “every major endorsement in the race for mayor.” Yee finished in 5th place.
As a final aside, I find it amusing that Senator Yee insists on putting Ph.D. after his name on his legislative website. While some may find legislators childish, Yee’s doctorate in child psychology has nothing to do with his job as a State Senator. I am reminded of something my late wife Rosanne said about her own Ph.D. – earned at a much more prestigious institution and in a more rigorous field – when asked why she didn’t put it after her name in general usage. She said, and I quote, “that and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee.” I think that puts it into perspective.