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.

Rick Painter August 15, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Nobody wants sensless violence, I think we need less generalized control in the gun arena, if we were to study the folks commiting the acts we would find it very common that the shooters are on some type of Psychotropic drug, this could be discovered durrring the background check with a little data base cross referencing, We would see the mass shootings in mass decline if we did not sell firearms of any type, with or without bullet buttons to mentally unstable folks.
Matt Anthony August 15, 2012 at 08:46 PM
it is about time they killed this thing. The legislature needs to work to repeal the stupid original ban on guns with a pistol grip (i mean assault weapons). Fix our state and stop trying to take my guns.
SeanT August 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM
This draconian bill is a piece of garbage and belongs in the circular file. Mr. Yee should focus his efforts on fixing this mess of a state budget we have instead of the time wasting subjects that are the brain child of a pantywaste. There is no way on earth you'd get people to turn them over. Never happen.
Bwood August 15, 2012 at 11:49 PM
The fix is in - the bill has been pulled so that there can be no vote on it. All you A-types can relax now...
Paul Davis August 16, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Of course no one wants violence,cali already has enough gun restrictions and the recent shootings were not even in this state.Guns are everywhere and if they take them from law abiding citizens then only criminals will have them.By the way,cars,swimming pools and a number of other things kill more.So lets give up all our freedoms so only the "upper class" may have them.Bow to the mighty democrat!!!!!!!!!!!!
michael turner August 16, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Our state legislators are cowards! They worry about the gun owners and pass laws that severly impact my constutional right to keep and bar arms, which by the way is a RIGHT not a privelage all in the name of public safety but yet they do nothing about the the numerous repeat offenders that drive drunk, some which have killed or injured countless citizens of this state and walk out of the court rooms with a slap on the hand! I think they need to ban vehicles that can exceed the posted speed limit (thats a law violated each day) along with aichol content of acocholic beverages sold in this state. Additionally make ignition enterlock devices mandatory on all vehicles sold along with a 15 day waiting period to purchase said vehicle. Of course Sen Yee and all his cronies won't have any of this action because it will impact their daily lives, life styles and or their addictions! They're not serious about public safey they just want all of our guns. They're the ones that should be labeled "Public Nuisance"
Marty August 16, 2012 at 04:53 AM
Maybe this is the answer............you guys need a good laugh! Texas Women A TRUE STORY FROM... "THE HOUSTON HERALD" HOUSTON , TEXAS Last Thursday night around midnight, a woman from Houston , Texas was arrested, jailed, and charged with manslaughter for shooting a man 6 times in the back as he was running away with her purse. The following Monday morning, the woman was called in front of the Arraignment Judge, sworn-in, and asked to explain her actions. The woman replied, "I was standing at the corner bus stop for about 15 minutes, waiting for the bus to take me home after work. I am a waitress at a local cafe. I was there alone, so I had my right hand on my pistol in my purse hanging on my left shoulder. All of a sudden I was spun around hard to my left. As I caught my balance, I saw a man running away with my purse. I looked down at my right hand and saw that my fingers were wrapped tightly around my pistol. The next thing I remember is saying out loud, "No Way Punk! You're not stealing my pay check and tips." I raised my right hand, pointed my pistol at the man running away from me with my purse, and started squeezing the trigger of my pistol. When asked by the arraignment judge, "Why did you shoot the man 6 times? The woman replied under oath, "Because, when I pulled the trigger the 7th time, it only went click." The woman was acquitted of all charges. She was back at work the next day! That's Gun Control, Texas Style
Gordon Frampton August 16, 2012 at 05:43 AM
That is awesome. In California she would definitely be in jail because the guy no longer preesented a threat of death or derious injury.
David August 16, 2012 at 06:06 AM
its nice to have people in the chat that get it thanks for that.
David August 16, 2012 at 06:10 AM
If you call the majority of californian's against a law and willing to fund the GUN RIGHTS groups to stop it a "FIX" you're really not getting it.
David August 16, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Here is a link to the AP interview with a member of the Sikh shooting saying what really happened these types of incidents can't happen any more without the truth comming out that is why the government will continue to try and take our guns as well as shut us up with internet laws like SISPA and PIPPA. http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/printer_64838.shtml
Bwood August 16, 2012 at 01:00 PM
A funny but PHONY story …. http://snopes.com/crime/justice/click.asp
Bwood August 16, 2012 at 01:02 PM
"If you call the majority of californian's against a law and willing to fund the GUN RIGHTS groups to stop it a "FIX" you're really not getting it." David, that depends on your definition of "getting it."
David August 16, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Funny Bwood all the times I have posted the false flag proof never will anyone who shares your views will comment on it the news just wants you to think this was a crazy one armed nut carrying a assault rifle and that was not the case
Marty August 16, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Yes, of course it was a PHONY story and I think most got that from ............"you guys need a good laugh!" Carry on...gotta clean my Glock.
Rev. Harry Davies August 16, 2012 at 08:13 PM
From what I hear, it would be best if California and Fed's back away from trying to remove guns from the people, there will be a point where the people will have enough and rise up. I keep reading and hearing from people, they will never take our guns. Other States have relaxed laws on guns and crime has dropped. But CA wants to push and push, this disturbs me. I don't want to see an all out war here!
Aaron August 16, 2012 at 09:28 PM
That's just it my friend... The legislators here in the "Utopia" that is California will never accept the fact that relaxed gun laws actually means safer environment. Statistics prove that! They won't accept the fact many of us have "assault weapons", but own them responsibly and have never harmed a single person... ever! (That doesn't mean I wouldn't be willing to use it someday. It's not like the American Revolution didn't have a cause! And that exact cause is why the founding fathers included that little 2nd Amendment thing.) Remember the old saying... The pen is mightier than the sword... but the guy with a sword decides who is allowed to use the pen! The government, with its pen, works for ME. I have a sword!
Tim August 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM
This whole issue is incomprehensible to me. The 2nd Amendment was conceived and enacted to prevent the very thing we, now, find ourselves spending precious time and vast resources combatting: the usurpation of our individual freedoms, perpetrated by the very government employed by the People to prevent such usurpation. To all the no-load legislators in California who are so intent on creating their own political legacy on the already straining backs of the People: get a clue, we don't need you over-regulating the hardworking, law-abiding, already-burdened populace of the state. Isn't there ample GOOD work to be done elsewhere? Is it just that the other stuff doesn't warrant your efforts, because it cannot provide the publicity and attention your push-button darlings do? I would probably suffer a life-ending heart attack, or stroke, were there no political machinations following some nut-job's woe-is-me shooting escapade. Tell me, how do you legislate against lunacy?
Leagal Voter August 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM
“My greatest fear is that another senseless act of violence will happen before the loophole is closed." OMG can anyone be so far removed from reality to think that by creating a law that will turn 10's of thousands of law abiding citizens into criminals think that they are saving even 1 life with this ludercris proposal. Mr. Yee and Staff WAKE UP. To Quote Thomas Jefferson "The Beauty of the second ammendment is that you won't need it until they try and take it away"
Aaron August 17, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Answer... Yep, the can be VERY far removed. My biggest fear is a government that will take away my constitutional rights.
Charles T. August 18, 2012 at 06:54 AM
Well, you know what they say "when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". California has become so permissive when it comes to punishing crime, no wonder criminals are not afraid to commit crimes with guns. We need to beef up the punishment for committing crimes, then maybe criminals will be deterred. Until then, armed self defense works for me. I'll never figure out why our legislature thinks that passing another gun law will make any difference. Isn't shooting and killing people, armed robbery, brandishing a weapon, etc., etc. already a crime? Why do they think criminals will obey yet another gun law when they don't obey them now.
Sean Erickson August 30, 2012 at 08:30 PM
It funny that Mr Yee wants to take away our Constitutional Rights yet he's protected buy guards who carry sub machine guns concealed. I can't get a concealed weapons permit just to protect my family or even own a sub machine gun like an Uzi, yet Mr. Yee's staff can. People have you had enough of the Democrat Communists hypocrites running California into the ground yet?
Keith Higgins September 03, 2012 at 06:37 PM
How do we get Yee and other unAmerican like him out of office?
Keith Higgins September 03, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Charles, I agree that the current logic is silly and miss guided, and that's being nice. We need to focus on getting these people out of office. I'm not a California resident yet but may be in one short week and am researching the republic of CA's guy laws and am shocked at how far California has let these dictators go. Time to fire them!
Greg Coppes September 03, 2012 at 06:54 PM
The assault rifle ban itself is unconstitutional as written. Once a challenge makes it's way to the Supreme court. Basically it won't pass the "Heller" case test.
Rex A Urbani February 28, 2013 at 05:03 AM
no more gun laws!!! inforce the laws on firearms a better already on the books!! a good slogan for us should be: use a gun to commit a crime goto jail and spend some time!!!!!


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