TTAG commentator Mark N wrote this under yesterday’s post CA Bullet Button Senator Leland Yee Plays the Race Card. Mark explains the “thinking” behind California State Senate Bill 249:
Under California’s form of the AWB, semi-auto “black” rifles were required to have “fixed” magazines. I guess the thought was that a fixed magazine would make it more difficult to reload, thereby reducing the firepower of the rifle. (Also banned were magazines of greater than 10 rounds.) The “problem” is the stautory definition of “fixed.” Under the law (that Yee drafted) “fixed” means that a tool is required to remove the mag. When the law was first passed, you had to pop the rear pin on the upper to reload an internal mag. But some bright smith figured out how to make a “bullet button” . . .
These buttons are in the same place as the original mag release, but cannot be operated with a finger; instead a tool is required–usually a bullet–which is pressed into the recessed release. This is perfectly legal under the statute as written, as the DOJ has conceded. The most recent iteration of the bullet button tool is simply a magnet that pops onto the release and is pressed. (These are of questionable legality, because the rule has been that the tool must be separate from the firearm).
When Yee caught wind of them, he drafted a new law that will return us to the early days of the AWB–and to a place where there isn’t likely a manufacturer of compliant weapons. The intent is quite clear–our infamous representative Portantino (of the open carry ban) specifically stated the purpose was to rid the state of “assault weapons”, and it mattered to him not one whit that they are legal in all of the other states in the Union. “We don’t want those semiautomatic rifles here,” he said (roughly).
The democrats have a near supermajority in the Legislature. The republicans cannot stop its passage. Only Brown can do so by vetoing it, or a constitutional challenge that will be filed one minute after he signs this legislation into law.