UPDATE: 'Bullet Button' Ban Killed in Appropriations

Though California Senator Leland Yee's bill SB 249, which would ban guns with 'bullet buttons,' was scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee this Thursday, it has been pulled from the calendar.


UPDATED, 10:14 a.m.: Patch has confirmed with the office of Senator Leland Yee that SB 249 was pulled from the state's Assembly Appropriations Committee's calendar, meaning no hearing will take place, which is required before it can be voted on.

Yee's chief of staff, Adam Keigwin, sent out a statement Thursday morning in which Yee deeply criticized the committee's decision to hold the bill.

“I am deeply disappointed that the bill is being held by the Appropriations Committee,” Yee said in the statement. “My greatest fear is that another senseless act of violence will happen before the loophole is closed. Despite the gun lobby’s efforts to derail common sense legislation, I will not give up this fight.”

The pulling of the bill from the Appropriation Committee's calendar essentially kills the bill for 2012 - meaning, unless the committee changes its mind, the bill is heard, and the Assembly votes on it by this Friday night at midnight, the bill cannot be reintroduced again until 2013.

Many gun advocate groups are speculating today that the decision was a bend in pressure from wide opposition to the bill. Some also suggest that the Committee realized the costs of pushing such a bill through the process would cost too much money the state doesn't have right now. At a minimum, costs could be around $200,000 to $400,000.

PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - What do you think of the Appropriations Committee's decision to hold SB 249? Tell us in the comments section at the end of this article.



California Senator Leland Yee's controversial bill, SB 249 - also known as  or an amendment to California's assault weapon ban - is scheduled to be heard by the State Assembly's Appropriations Committee this Thursday, Aug. 16.

If the bill is pushed forward by the committee and voted on by the Assembly before Friday night at midnight, it could be signed into law.

If it is not voted on by Friday night at midnight, the bill is "dead" for 2012, meaning it can't be reintroduced until next year.

Last month, the bill was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.

Last week, Yee (D-San Mateo/San Francisco) submitted amendments to the bill, including a stricter definition of what would be made illegal under the bill if it is signed into state law.

SB 249 / California's 'Assault Weapons' Ban

Currently, assault weapons are illegal in California. The law currently defines an "assault weapon" as a semi-automatic rifle with both a pistol grip and a detachable magazine, among other features. In other words, a gun's magazine must be "fixed" according to the specifications of the state law in order to be legal.

To be considered "fixed," a magazine cannot be easily detached without either disassembling the gun or the use of a tool.

However, many gun manufacturers have designed guns with so-called "bullet buttons" in order to get around the law and be considered legal under California law. 

A "bullet button" is designed to replace a normal magazine release button with a recessed button that can only be accessed through the use of a tool - such as, the tip of a bullet, or a small tool shaped like a nail or pick. 

The bullet button adds a minimum of five to 10 seconds onto the time it would normally take a shooter using a gun with a detachable magazine to reload.

Yee wants guns with bullet buttons banned. In particular, since the recent mass shootings and  in Wisconsin, Yee is pushing his bill even harder

However, the California Department of Justice has declared on numerous occasions that semi-automatic rifles modified with a bullet button are considered to have "fixed" magazines, and therefore are legal under California law.

Both Yee and the nonprofit Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C. have sent out several press releases and statements declaring that the types of guns Yee wants banned under his bill are "almost identical" to the ones used by accused shooter James Holmes in Colorado, and "possibly identical" to firearms used in Wisconsin.

However, several news reports confirm that the gun used by accused shooter Wade Michael Page in the Wisconsin Sikh temple was, in fact, a 9mm handgun that he purchased legally. The gun used by accused shooter James Holmes in Aurora, Colo. was a AR-15 assault rifle, which are already illegal in California because they do not have bullet buttons, and feature detachable magazines.

Under Yee's bill, SB 249, guns with "bullet buttons" would also be classified as assault weapons, and therefore be made illegal.

Recently, California Attorney General Kamala Harris - the former head district attorney of San Francisco - endorsed Yee's bill.

Confiscation Without Recompensation?

Many who are passionately opposed to SB 249 worry that Yee's bill would mean, by law, authorities would be allowed to confiscate "assault weapons" or guns with "bullet buttons" without reimbursing citizens for the price they paid for the guns, because the law declares them "public nuisances."

Members of the "Stop SB 249" campaign - a self-proclaimed "grassroots coalition of The Calguns Foundation, the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees (Cal-FFL), and thousands of interested Californians" - posted language from Yee's proposed bill on the group's website explaining this fear.

It reads:

"No reimbursement is required by this act, pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution, because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution."

Opposition to SB 249

Many groups, such as the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, the CalGuns Foundation, and the Stop SB249 campaign have started petitions, phone banks, e-mail campaigns and other efforts to try and get SB 249 killed.

Besides being morally and constitutionally opposed to the bill, many involved in these campaigns also say the bill and its specific language is "hastily conceived" and that the state of California, with its current fiscal crisis, can't afford to spend the money necessary to get such a bill passed through the legislature - campaign literature from Stop SB249 suggests the minimum cost could be anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000 just to implement the changes in regulation that would be required if the bill is signed into law.


Have you commented on or voted in our SB 249 poll? to vote and join the conversation on the merits of this bill.

Eric August 15, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Lee is a politician. Knows zero about guns. just wants to jump on the gun control band wagon. Typical liberal
Carlos Chapeton August 15, 2012 at 05:51 PM
When did this turn into a fishing thread? lol. BTW it also says the law was written in 1910. I am not a fisherman, but I am willing to bet the licences are there to regulate the amount of fishing to protect the fish populations. I may be wrong, but that would seem so make sense. You know not all laws that were written that long ago still make sense today, right?
William August 15, 2012 at 06:04 PM
All I can say is that when the Zombie Apocalypse comes, Bullet Buttons will be very much out of fashion and High Capacity Magazines will be worth their weight in gold. These idiot liberals will be begging for us to save them from the infected hordes. We will save them, and then we will use them as Bait.
concerned voter August 15, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Yee is showboating because he is running for a statewide office-- sec of state.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 06:40 PM
lol Watch The Walking Dead much? If indeed the Zombiepocalypse were to happen, I think a sharp machete or a big shovel might be more useful. 1) They don't run out of ammo. 2) You can also use them to create favorable conditions for the reintroduction of agriculture into society.
Buck Shaw August 15, 2012 at 06:43 PM
When the greenies declaired tree's sustainable. Out went the phrase "Save a tree, use plastic bags" so I'll use what ever is right. I just wonder if someone can tell me which has the bigger carbon footprint? Paper or Plastic ? Dear Mr. Yee you don't need a law for plastic bags if its wrong its wrong. The people will do whats right..
Ben Toy August 15, 2012 at 06:46 PM
As usual, solving the wrong problem...it is NOT the gun but the people who use guns to kill people that is/are the problem Plus, people are inventive. Revolvers used to take longer to reload via each bullet had to be inserted after taking out the spent cartridge. Then came the plastic holder that you insert *ALL* the rounds needed to fill it This proposed law will create yet another very high margin, albeit illegal, market for an after market gizmo to circumvent that need for a tool. Focus on fixing the wacko people out there. Part of today's societal metrics of blaming the in-animate object instead of the person...are we getting too PC about this? I think so Remember, killing someone with your bare hands is illegal. More illegal if you use an in-animate object...like a base ball bat, a rock, a knife and the most illegal of them all...use a gun. Notice a singular component in all of this illegal activity ? It is the 'person' that does the illegal act..
Ben Toy August 15, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Consider myself very liberal, but factored by a healthy dose of realist or AKA common sense
Ben Toy August 15, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Agree and add that those bent on killing will go to any means to obtain their weapon of choice. Be it a knife, cannon, poison or gun Bet anyone with enough money and/or resources/connections can purchase any kind of 'gun', be it an old, old civil war model to a flintlock to a full automatic
Andrew August 15, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Remember Katrina? After the hurricane people started breaking into houses and taking whatever they wanted. If a big disaster happens, I want to be ready to protect myself and it will be very convenient to be able to reload my weapon within 5 seconds.
Ben Toy August 15, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Yes, Katrina was a very good example of what society can become during a natural disaster The Watts Riots is an example of a non-natural disaster. The Korean area was left mostly untouched by the looters because the store owners gathered together and shot at the looters. Not killing/maiming, but close enough to warn them.
Andrew August 15, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Exactly. He just wants to appeal to the liberal voters so he can keep his health benefits and high salary.
William August 15, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Vanessa - The only drawback to your suggestion is that it would require close proximity to the walking dead and thus more risk of infection. However, your weapons of choice would be excellent if one does run out of ammo. :) I will draw a parallel for all the liberal, gun-biased types who jump on the bandwagon to ban this or that and not allow myself or other law abiding citizens to own this or that when an unfortunate incident like the Aurora Theater Shooting occurs. Two weeks ago, an irresponsible, medicated individual made a conscious decision to get in his truck and drive when he had been forbidden by law to do so. He killed two innocent people and injured several others at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sneath Lane. After this tragic incident, I did not see or hear anybody trying to pass a new law that would limit what type of vehicle I could drive or if I would even be allowed to own a vehicle. Why is that? Automobiles kill considerably more people that guns do on an annual basis yet I never see anybody trying to build their political career on trying to ban them. I will take my chances with the law abiding gun owners rather than chance it on a soccer Mom driving a 3-Ton SUV and talking or texting at the same time.
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 08:22 PM
@ William I didn't think about the spatter. Maybe we should add a welder's helmet to the list of things that should be in my emergency kit. (: I suspect no one is trying to pass a law that restricts car ownership, because there's a very slim chance of winning support for something that would make it hard for parents to take their kids to school. Try lugging football gear on a bike. It seems like many people are concerned that guns are getting into the hands of people who are not mentally stable. Would you support making a psychiatric evaluation a requirement for gun ownership?
William August 15, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Vanessa - As it is now the background check done when purchasing a firearm is supposed to red flag any previous criminal activity and any previous history of mental illness. I think an additional evaluation would add considerably more expense to an already expensive process. What one sees a lot is that a firearm is purchased legally by a person who at the time shows no signs of any mental illness or violent tendencies but some internal or external factor at some point causes that individual to literally snap and go on a violent shooting spree. Once again it is the same principle as an individual driving a car into a crowd of people intentionally. There may have been no previous indication that there was anything wrong with that individual but yet these things happen and are nearly impossilbe to predict or control for that matter. If your emergency kit is also intended to be a survival kit , then the first thing you should have after food and water, is an adequate means of self defense, especially for a woman. A reliable firearm, an adequate supply of ammunition and the knowledge to use both properly could not only save your life but perhaps more importantly, your honor. :)
Jesse Asis August 15, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Mr. Lee, you have my vote to VOTE you out of OFFICE, you think you represent the mass, the people, YOU DON'T. You are the reason American's are loosing their rights. YOU need to leave office and stick your head in the sand. The reason you have a right to make bad decisions like that was granted to you by PEOPLE who fought for those rights of BAD GOVERNMENT when they try to control and take OUR RIGHTS away. Sit down shut up and read the 2nd amendments, read it line by line, The PEOPLE have a right to BEAR arms against the corrupt government. Don't believe in it, just read up on the ATF's "Fast & Furious", Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama's BS... enough said...
hutch August 15, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Leland Yee is one of the only politicians I have written to twice that never bothered to answer my letters. He is out for himself and only interested in what makes him look good. Now this bullet button is another chance for him to showboat before an election. I will never vote for him again.
Ben Toy August 16, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Let me be clear, my comments are NOT against Senator Yee. He is doing what he thinks is right and of what his constituents desire of him. Of course there is politics, as he is an elected official and must appease voters My issue is the general paranoia of guns by the general public. Of course also abhor the fact that guns are behind killings, as am likewise reading of murders using other methods, but I do NOT blame the in-animate object. It is the sick person(s) that I blame Used to consider those who hate guns and blame the guns were out of touch, too PC or just hates guns. Maybe their efficiency compared to other, older era's 'latest and greatest' killing things. Like when mankind morphed from stones, knives, spears to the bow and arrow. Now think otherwise. It this article that gave new light on the issue...for me at least. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-08-11/doctors-target-gun-violence-as-a-social-disease As there are other more effective methods to murder. Over there in the areas with civil strife. Turning anti-aircraft machine guns and cannons onto the general public tells me that these kinds of people will use whatever and using anti-aircraft machine guns/cannons/rockets is way in-efficient or the definition of over kill Those folks 'like' to kill, therefore what the above article is all about...they are sick people. Now think they 'like' to be close and personal with and during the murdering and maiming
cef August 16, 2012 at 01:35 AM
cef ,don,t let your guard down they might want to sneak this in on friday night, the vote that is ,make sure us gun owners keep up the pressure about how we feel about this issue. i hate to say it but this isn,t over yet. caution people
m August 16, 2012 at 02:07 AM
If a criminal wants a gun of any kind he/she can get it no matter what the laws are. The only people that these guns are out of the hands of are law abiding citizens. Gun "control" advocates are most certainly misinformed if they think that criminals won't get these very same guns very easily if laws like SB249 pass.
m August 16, 2012 at 02:07 AM
If a criminal wants a gun of any kind he/she can get it no matter what the laws are. The only people that these guns are out of the hands of are law abiding citizens. Gun "control" advocates are most certainly misinformed if they think that criminals won't get these very same guns very easily if laws like SB249 pass.
Gary Vielbaum August 16, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Why Senator Lee would not focus this much energy on jobs and education in a state that already has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country is beyond me. If this isn't a wake up call to his ineptitude I don't know what is.
Antonio Catpo August 16, 2012 at 04:12 AM
"guns don't kill people, people kill people", what a ridiculous statement. If guns weren't so easily accesible we wouldn't have an average of 20 mass shootings per year.
Steve Hayes August 16, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I was thinking the same thing. Modern guns enable people to kill many people very quickly. Yes, you can say cars kill people also but very few people intentionally use cars to kill people. I would like to hear (from the NRA supporters) how we might restrict the availability of guns and ammo from unstable people - longer wait periods, registration with local police, some sort of monitoring system keeping track of who is buying large amounts of ammo????
Mike August 16, 2012 at 06:14 AM
I‘ve used firearms for 52 years. I’ve done so as a Hunter, a US Marine (Vietnam Era), and as a Police Officer. I recognize that not everyone should own a firearm, drink alcohol, or drive a car for that matter. California already has the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Some of the laws I believe are pretty lame, a few make a lot of sense, but most do nothing more than just give us a false sense of comfort. Criminals and the” mentally unstable” do not give a darn about laws. In fact what I have observed during my lifetime with very few exceptions is that when a firearm has been used to commit a crime it was almost always illegally in the possession of the person using it and the user did not buy it at a gun shop. Senator Lee is a man I have spent some time with and he’s a man who I respect. However, on this one I just do not agree with him. The only thing that his proposed law would accomplish is to assure that only the “bad guys” and “nut cases” will have what his law forbids them to have and it will deny law abiding people something that they have legally obtained.
Charles August 16, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Fisking a Gun Control Editorial Posted on July 24, 2012 by correia45 This editorial was sent to me by a fan. It is an opinion piece from CNN. As can be expected in the aftermath of any shooting that grabs headlines, two things are going to happen. 1. Liberals will knee jerk try to pin it on the right. 2. They’ll start bleating for more gun control. We got #1 when ABC news was trying to blame this on the Tea Party before the blood had even dried, and of course when that came back as untrue, just like it did with the Giffords shooting, they went right into #2. Come on. Seriously news media? And there are still a handful of people out there who think that you guys are unbiased? They must sleep in helmets. http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/fisking-a-gun-control-editorial/ Larry Correia is the New York Times bestselling author
Andrew August 17, 2012 at 02:55 AM
@Steve. I support the NRA and I agree with you. Maybe instead of banning guns altogether, the gov't should check gun owners every 3 months and check their mental stability and how much ammo they're buying. They should also test people on the rules too. I think most gun owners will agree with that. But banning guns altogether will just make things worse.
Sam Adams August 30, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I'd like to throw one idea out there: Why are the guns and legal gun owners being attacked. Why is it that a firearm purchase form asks if a person is on medication or being treated for mental illness yet nothing is done to verify it. The rights of mental patients apparently outweigh the rights of ever sane citizen. What is behind this is basically govt wanting to ban firearms period and will use every media driven tragedy to capitalize on it.
Charles September 16, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Gun control measures don't stop violence January 18, 2011|By Robert A. Levy, Special to CNN In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed 253 journal articles, 99 books and 43 government publications evaluating 80 gun-control measures. Researchers could not identify a single regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide or accidents. A year earlier, the Centers for Disease Control reported on ammunition bans, restrictions on acquisition, waiting periods, registration, licensing, child access prevention and zero tolerance laws. CDC's conclusion: There was no conclusive evidence that the laws reduced gun violence. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-01-18/opinion/levy.anti.gun.control_1_gun-control-gun-regulations-gun-related-crimes?_s=PM:OPINION
Charles March 26, 2014 at 03:25 PM
California state Sen. Leland Yee arrested in corruption case (03-26) 11:00 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested on public corruption charges Wednesday morning in a federal investigation that also targeted Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, a notorious former San Francisco gangster, officials said. http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/FBI-conducting-raids-in-San-Francisco-5350602.php


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