Loophole puts public at risk by allowing military style weapons with detachable magazines

SACRAMENTO – California has some of strongest gun control laws in the country, however gun manufacturers are getting around one the state’s most important assault weapon laws. The loophole allows ownership of a semi-automatic weapon – such as an AR-15 and AK-47 – that has a magazine which can be easily detached by a small magnet or the tip of a bullet.

Today, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) introduced legislation to close the loophole.

“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.”

Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center agrees. He recently told CBS 5 in San Francisco, “If the bullet button assault weapon is allowed to come into the state then the California assault weapons ban basically doesn’t exist anymore.”

“Unscrupulous manufacturers are purposely circumventing California’s Assault Weapons law,” said California Brady Campaign President Dallas Stout. “For the safety of the citizens of California and the protection of law enforcement officers, we must close this loophole.”

Yee removed the contents of Senate Bill 249 and replaced it with the new assault weapon language.  The bill will likely be considered by the Assembly next month.


Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,
(916) 651-4008