Assault rifles virtually identical to the one used in the Aurora, Colo., massacre last month are easy to find in California, despite the state’s ban on assault weapons.
That’s because gun manufacturers have exploited a loophole in the law by marketing assault rifles with a release button for the ammunition magazine that can be activated with the tip of a bullet.
They’re called “bullet button” semiautomatic assault weapons and, according to critics, they circumvent California’s ban on guns with a detachable ammunition magazine by allowing the user to “spray fire” bullets as quickly as they can pull the trigger.
But a bill set to be heard Thursday in the State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee aims to close the loophole in hopes of preventing mass shootings such as the one in Aurora or the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin.
SB 249, sponsored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), would end the sale of “bullet button” assault weapons by clarifying existing law to define “detachable magazine” in a way that is consistent with the plain language of the law.
The bill would also make clear that the California Department of Justice has the authority to update and bring into compliance existing regulations concerning assault weapons.
According to the Violence Policy Center, gun manufacturers Smith & Wesson, Bushmaster and DPMS, ArmaLite, Colt, and Sig Sauer are actively targeting California in an effort to lift sagging sales of this class of weapon.
“Ironically the gun industry is targeting California because of the very success of the state’s assault weapons ban,” the group says in a statement.
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