15 10 2012
State Senator Leland Yee’s Uninformed Gun Law (SB 249)
Have you ever wondered where inspiration for new laws come from? Often times, the source is some cataclysmic event, such as the recent shooting sprees. Other times, the inspiration comes from something else, such as a fear-mongering news report.
That’s right. Senator Yee’s proposed SB 249 came to him after watching a CBS San Francisco report on the evil “bullet-button” contraption that circumvents state laws!
What’s a bullet button? It’s probably better to start with the current state law. As written, the law prohibits owning assault-weapons. What’s that? By statute, it’s defined as a gun that has a few nifty features, such as a detachable magazine, pistol grip, and telescoping stock. In short, the law targeted the AR-15.
The bullet button, which has been around since at least 2009, is a device that fits where the magazine release button used to be. It requires the use of the tip of a bullet or a tool to press the release. As such, it technically is a fixed magazine and takes the AR-15 back out of the assault-weapons ban.
Sounds dangerous right? And the Aurora shooter used an AR-15, so they must be bad, right? Well, that’s certainly debatable. James Holmes did use an AR-15. He also used a “century clip” or 100 round magazine, which is illegal here in California. Holmes’ AR-15 reportedly jammed, leading him to switch to one of this other weapons: the legal Glock 40 pistol or the Remington pump shotgun.
The AR-15 isn’t the enemy of safety, nor is the bullet button. The Virginia Tech shooting was done with pistols. The Sikh temple shooting was done with a pistol. The Arizona shooting was done with a pistol. Holmes, Page, Loughner, and Seung-Hui all used Glocks, the same weapon used by most law enforcement officers.
Besides, there are other legal and much more worrisome devices to ban, such as the bump-stock. It makes your AR-15 into a machine gun … legally. Wait, did we just inspire another piece of legislation?
Firearms evolve. If you ban a fixed magazine, the bullet button emerges. If you ban automatic weapons, the bump stock emerges. If you ban all semi-automatic rifles, criminals grab banned guns or perfectly legal pistols. If you ban all guns, you violate the Constitution.
The true enemy is untreated and unreported mental illness and the disconnect between mental illness treatment and background checks. The failed solution is ineffective gun control laws written by individuals who know absolutely nothing about guns.
SB 249 will make the owning or possessing of a bullet button device a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. Selling the devices can result in up to a year in jail and/or a fine of exactly $1,000. Present owners of bullet-buttons will have to have the device removed at their own expense.
A few of my other gun-related posts:
- Woke Up This Morning, Got Yourself a Gun (Legally in NYC) (FindLaw’s New York Criminal Law Blog)
- If at First You Fail To Infringe Upon Their Gun Rights… (FindLaw’s Chicago Criminal Law Blog)