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KCBS in Baghdad by the Bay has a shocking expose on a gaping loophole in California’s gun control laws. It seems that while you can’t own a rifle that will allow a user to use his finger to release and change a magazine, it’s A-OK if your long gun requires a tool to do it. Gunmakers, being the resourceful lot that they are, have created “bullet buttons.” To drop a mag, all you need to do is use the business end of a cartridge to poke the little release in the middle what would normally be the magazine release button on the gun in any other state in the union . . .

It must be a slow news day in the Bay Area. This isn’t anything new. Which may help to explain why the station’s crack investigative reporter couldn’t manage to get a local cop to go on camera to confirm that bullet buttons are legal. Even the state’s doyenne of gun control, Di Fi herself, couldn’t be bothered to decry the impending carnage and hemoglobin in the streets if this legislative gap isn’t plugged tout de suite.

Somehow the power of the market – not to mention the continual innovation and creativity of companies trying to make a buck – never ceases to amaze the gun controllers. And if legal gunmakers keep finding legitimate ways around the the regulatory roadblocks thrown up in front of them, why do gun-grabbers think ever more laws that keep guns out of the hands of responsible citizens will be at all effective in reducing the number of heaters available to the bad guys?

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  1. The astonishing stupidity of the statement “If you leave this on your AR-15, your AR-15 is still illegal” cannot be overstated. Not because he’s incorrect, he’s not. But because that statement, with that picture, makes the ludicrousness of that law (and others like it) more obvious than pretty much anything I’ve ever seen. Folding stocks, heat shields, flash hiders… they all take tools, or at least some solid hand work to put on and take off. The fact that this little piece of magnetic plastic, that you can flick off with your finger, can render your weapon somehow dramatically more dangerous is simply insane.

  2. REally slow. Before bullet buttons, the internal capacity of an AR was 8 rounds, and reloading was pretty slow. With bullet buttons, you get the huge increase in capacity to 10 rounds (why that’s 25% more bullets!!!).

  3. Sigh….. roles his eyes… just sits there looking at the screen blankly….
    California has the dumbest I am mean bumbest, I am being nice and PC here, laws on the books today.
    The fear and trepidation that goes into the laws makes no sense at all! I hate it, and oh well.. The SAF has their work cut out for them for the next millennium I guess. With some 200,000 laws on the books concerning firearms in this country it is a never ending pile of crap!

  4. Hmm, product manufacturers working to make their products compliant with the law. Shocking.

    Somehow this doesn’t freak people out in other markets. When a law is passed requiring that cars have airbags, the car makers might grumble at the extra expense or interference, but when cars later come out with airbags in them, no one accuses them of “getting around” the law, or finding “loopholes”.

    • Yeah, it is amazing what those EEEVIL gun makers will do to keep selling their “instruments of death”. Don’t know if they still make it, but DPMS was selling a SINGLE-SHOT AR-type lower – no magazine well at all – so you could take your upper of any caliber to the range without getting arrested for having an evil assault weapon. Because, of course, LOTS of residents of the PRCa had uppers that weren’t attached to anything, so they didn’t have to be registered with the state, right.

      I was a resident of the PRCa in 1991, when they passed the first “assault weapon” ban. The state estimated there were about 300,000 of them in the state at the time, all of which had to be registered with the state DOJ (“honest, we won’t try to confiscate any of these with out next batch of laws”). Guess how many were actually registered? About 30,000. I guess the 90% that were NOT registered were just harmless uppers, without any of the eeevil assault weapon features.

      Thank God I escaped the PRCa and moved to Idaho. “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last…”

  5. I first heard of the bullet button in 2008 and I am not sure how long they were around before that.
    Found another tool called the mag magnet –
    This fits inside the bullet button and acts as the tool rather than screw driver, cartridge etc.
    Still limited to 10 round mags but PRK legal standard capacity can be bought as disassembled mag repair kits
    There has to be a beach somewhere with clever and now wealthy people sipping drinks with little umbrellas who thought up things like disposable razors, lighters, bullet buttons, mag magnets and mag repair kits.
    Sometimes beating the system is a good thing.

  6. I’m confused, CA doesn’t allow magazine release buttons?. This only applies to rigles? Can someone explain this law? I thought we had it bad in NJ with no CCW.

  7. I’m confused, CA doesn’t allow magazine release buttons?. This only applies to rifles? Can someone explain this law? I thought we had it bad in NJ with no CCW.

    • As far as I understand it, the magazine has to be “fixed”. Legally, what this means is that it requires a tool to remove. What the bullet button does is make it so the magazine on a rifle can’t be released manually, thereby bringing it in compliance with the law. Instead, you need a tool, such as a screwdriver, an awl, or the tip of a cartridge, to push in the button to allow the magazine release to activate.

        • The video demonstrates a rather difficult tactical reload procedure. Here is one that I guarantee will be very time-consuming the first time you practice it, but the second time will go MUCH faster.

          1) Wait for a lull in the action
          2) Assess your surroundings
          3) Check to see if you are in California
          4) If 3 is “yes”, leave California
          5) Check to see if you have a stupid bullet button device on your gun
          6) If 6 is “yes”, replace stupid device with a conventional mag release
          7) depress mag release with your finger
          8 ) retain mag
          9) insert new mag
          10) check your environment for new targets.
          11) If you now find yourself outside of California… congratulations. Remain outside that Godforsaken state.

    • I think part of their “assault weapon” ban says that the semi-auto rifles have to have fixed mags. If the mag requires some kind of “tool” to remove it, it is considered fixed. Of course I don’t live in any of the US Republiks, so I may be mistaken…

    • It doesn’t apply just to rifles – the California assault weapons ban affect pistols and shotguns as well. With pistols, the “triggering” feature is usually the magazine that attaches outside of the grip, a la AR pistols, Tec 9s, etc. though threaded barrels and barrel shrouds, among other features, also invoke assault weapon status. If it has any of those features, then it can’t have a detachable magazine, meaning you need a bullet button.

      Complex as this law may seem, as you might gather from this article, we in California are working to remain compliant, while pursuing lawsuits for its repeal.

      I’m not sure you guys in New Jersey have it any better; for all intents and purposes we don’t have CCW either, but your transport restrictions seem to be exceedingly oppressive. (Brian Aitken comes to mind) Alas, this like asking whether I’d rather be stabbed or burned – both are equally unpleasant, but perhaps in slightly different ways. If I had a choice I wouldn’t want either.

    • California initially did an “Assault Weapon” ban by name. Which failed horribly, as manufacturers basically just changed the name, and there was a lawsuit which forced the definition of “AR” and “AK” to be by name, and then a bill which keeps new names from being added…

      So instead they went with an “Evil Feature” list, eg, pistol grip or thumbhole stock, flash suppressor, collapsible stock, vertical front grip, grenade launcher mount for rifle, and a related list (eg, no magazines outside the grip) for pistols…

      But the evil feature list only applies to weapons with DETACHABLE magazines. If it takes a tool to remove, its not considered detachable so you can load up on all the “Evil” features you want…

      Which makes sense at first glance, but… this is why I’m NOT in favor of “Assault Weapons” bans: They end up focusing on scary looking, rather than actual-scary. A Ruger Mini-14 ranch model, which is “featureless” and therefore not covered by any “assault weapons” ban that I know of, is every bit as scary as an AR if someone is using it on you.

      In fact, these CA legal “Evil Rifles” are LESS scary than a bog-standard Mini-14.

      The Calguns foundation has a Nice Flowchart

  8. “…Assault weapons are defined by characteristic features listed in PC 12276.1:

    A semiautomatic centerfire rifle capable of accepting DETACHABLE magazines and any of:

    ▪ a pistol grip protruding conspicuously below the weapon’s action
    ▪ a thumbhole stock or folding or telescopic stock;
    ▪ a flash suppressor, grenade launcher or flare launcher;
    ▪ a forward pistol grip.

    A semiautomatic centerfire rifle with overall length of less than 30 inches;
    A semiautomatic centerfire rifle with a fixed magazine holding over 10 rounds.”

    With a bullet button, the magazine is no longer considered detachable since you need a tool to remove the magazine. If you don’t have any of the “evil” features listed above, then you can use a regular magazine release button. This is what we call a “featureless” rifle.

    All of this only applies to semi-automatic AND centerfire rifles. .22’s not included.

    I think this is a good law because, here in California, whenever you fire a gun with a thumbhole stock, the thumbhole stock automatically converts regular bullets into baby-homing missiles. Remember: every time you use that thumbhole stock, a baby dies (eyes rolling).

  9. You know, every time I see you guys use the word “heaters” I think of that episode of Star Trek guest-starring Vic Tayback where they visited the planet patterned after a book called “Chicago Mobs of the Twenties”…

    …”A Piece of the Action” — yeah, that’s the one.

  10. The last line of this article says:

    “All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.”

    They should heed their own warning and remove this material from existence. What morons!

  11. I haven’t lived in California in quite some time but are you sure this applies to all such weapons or only to those being sold now?

  12. Every time I see this sort of nonsense in the media, I’m reminded of how utterly clueless journalism majors are. It is as if they believe other human beings are mechanically clueless and stump-stupid as the themselves are.

    There are times when I truly believe that if this sort of stupidity existed in any significant proportion within our species 100,000 years ago, we never would have made it as far as developing the wheel.

    What we need is some Clorox in the gene pool here. If someone is so stupid as to think getting around the magazine release mechanism on a CA rifle is difficult, and they are “shocked” when someone does get around these idiotic modifications, then they should be forcibly sterilized.

    With hedge shears. Or a weed whacker. I can’t decide which.

      • How about an electric weed whacker with a bio-degradable string? Take their shriveled balls off in environmentally-friendly manner. That’s CA for you. (Good luck getting you car smogged. . .)

  13. If I were ever cursed and forced to live in one of the bad states, My first purchase would be a nice lever-action.

    • Yes Sir!

      A .44 mag lever carbine with 10 rounds capacity makes a good traveling companion.

      They fit nicely in a variety of equipment bags, e.g. baseball, lacrosse, golf.


  14. Some enlightenment from a CA resident.

    California law has this mislabeled concept of a detachable magazine, as opposed to a fixed magazine. It’s a feature of the rifle, not the magazines, which are exactly the same as magazines used all over the world. If you can push the magazine release with your finger and the magazine drops out, it’s detachable. If you have to use a tool, like a screwdriver, it’s fixed.

    Because SKS magazines (at least some; I don’t have an SKS and this part is probably minorly garbled) can be removed by poking with a bullet tip, the DoJ clarified that a bullet tip was considered a tool for the purposes of distinguishing between fixed and detachable magazines.

    If the rifle has a detachable magazine, then certain other features like a pistol grip, flash hider, collapsible stock, etc, turn the rifle into a felonious assault weapon. Stupid, yes. As an example of how stupid this is applied, if you have 30 round magazines, you can use them in a featureless (no pistol grip, no flash hider etc) rifle with a detachable magazine, but if you put one in a rifle with a fixed magazine, you have just manufactured a felonious assault weapon.

    On to the Bullet Button. It’s a shield which hides the magazine release button behind a hole too small for a finger but big enough for a bullet tip, or a hex wrench, some keys, etc., Thus it needs a tool to pop the button, and it becomes a fixed magazine rifle, thus you can have that evil pistol grip. You can wear a ring on the end of your index finger with a little pokey stud on it to do the same; it’s just a tool.

    The magnet IS NOT LEGAL. It turns your rifle into a felonious assault weapon because now you can use your finger, which is not a tool, to release the magazine. Don’t try to quibble that the magnet is the tool, because as long as it is attached to the rifle instead of your finger, it is part of the rifle, not a separate tool, and the rifle no longer has a fixed magazine. I have described just two of the idiotic California gun laws, so please do yourself the honor of believing there are more, and that magnet gizmo is one of the consequences. DON’T USE IT!

    Hope that helps.

    • They already have a large capacity ban on magazines for pistols which is so stupid. Manufactures literally have to produce the same gun but two different versions. Then one comes with the 10 round magazine and the other is 12 or larger.
      It is funny the reporter basically commits a felony, on TV no less. Do you think the DOJ will prosecute, I think not. They want to perpetuate the lies to get an outright ban altogether!
      Then we will be no better off than Mexico.

  15. It’s almost like they won’t stop until there is an outright gun ban.

    We better not give an inch.

  16. Dan, You guys should start a series of posts under the heading of HIDDEN CRIMINALS. You could include all those STFU ones in which you council murderers how to pass off bad shoots as legit DGUs. Plus all the ways to beat the the California-type legislation like in this video. It could be great.

    • You could write the first article. In it you could tell people the best way to purchase guns illegally. You know, since you claim to have experience in that field.

    • I believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. As it
      happens, so does every Supreme Court going back 200+ years, so who
      would I be to argue with that kind of tradition? What the hell is a
      hidden criminal anyway? Being a convict is kind of a binary thing,
      you’ve either been convicted or not; and if the state can’t prove
      someone’s committed a crime, how do you, mike, know that it’s not
      because that person simply didn’t do it?

        • I never said that there aren’t people who have committed crimes and haven’t been convicted of them.

          What I am saying is that you cannot legislate on the premise that people are criminals in the absence of a conviction. That goes against a legal tradition that dates back to Justinian, 1400 years ago, the presumption of innocence.

          If, as you claim, you are only trying to “raise the bar” on gun ownership, how will you identify the people who have committed crimes, but not been convicted of them? Keep in mind that since you’re stripping someone of their rights, the method is subject to scrutiny for due process.

  17. Under written ‘law’, any person act or thing may be declared ‘illegal’ or ‘unlawful’. Thus, any person act or thing which has yet to be declared ‘illegal’ or ‘unlawful’ logically or otherwise represents a loophole in whatever written laws currently exist, or something like that.
    Therefore, all seriousness aside, in order to close the Unarmed Public Service Employee loophole, which has allowed unarmed persons who are suspected to be somewhat and relatively incapable of their own defense and thus also suspected to not be capable of providing reasonable assurance to those whom they’re presumed to serve of their ability to successfully protect, defend and preserve their State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States to be employed within government at all levels, the following suggestion is suggested as follows:
    Be it hereby enacted that;- as of 1 January 2013, every person seeking employment within any local, State or the Federal government is required by law to own at least one working Fire-Arm capable of discharging no less than six projectiles of .22 cal. or greater with a single pull of the trigger for each discharge without reloading, ammunition for it and ammunition in excess of the full capacity held by or within the Fire-Arm or its magazine, and have a certificate signed by a qualified NRA instructor verifying said person to have proven themselves capable of safely handling, shooting and caring for their Fire-Arm.
    Persons currently employed within government will have one year from the effective date to comply with the terms of the Public Service Employee Act, or be terminated from employment for failure to comply with this obviously reasonable and provably necessary law.”
    And remember this always and you’ll never forget it, “every loophole is legally actionable.”

  18. 100000000% illegal. This guys is a f*cktard.
    If you leave it on your AR15, you will be arrested. Stupid if you ask me… God I hate this state…

    • No, No, NO!!!!!!!!!!! I already posted the law above. Reading is fundamental!

      It is only illegal if you have one of the features below on the same weapon:

      ▪ a pistol grip protruding conspicuously below the weapon’s action
      ▪ a thumbhole stock or folding or telescopic stock;
      ▪ a flash suppressor, grenade launcher or flare launcher;
      ▪ a forward pistol grip.

      Yes, the gun in the video is illegal. However, If you don’t have any of the above mentioned items, the Mag Magnet is not illegal to leave on your rifle. Period. Argue with that and you’re stupid.

  19. “Since the State of California has no specifically enumerated right to keep and bear arms provision in the State Constitution, it’s expected that lawmakers will eventually get around to closing the legal loophole which currently allows people the privilege of possessing upper appendages and displaying them uncovered without obtaining a may-issue permit.”

  20. Gee…these guys are rocket scientists. I think they should just trash the Kalefornication gun laws as they have not done didley in reducing gun crimes.

  21. Dear Dan Zimmerman,
    Thanks for the info, i was involved in a situation where i believe the cops overtook their authority. i dropped off my friend from school because we carpool. Next minute a cop came and almost rammed his car into me. He came out with a gun in front of my car ready to shoot yelling to put our hands up he called back up a swarm of cops came out and they all had their guns pointed and me and my friend. we were handcuffed and they checked my car without permission or search warrant. They told me the reason they did that was because earlier that day a black Honda civic was stolen in that area. And i was driving a black Honda civic. OMG how many people have black Honda civics. I felt what they did was wrong and they could have just pulled me over and asked for license and registration papers.The officers didnt even apoligize fo CAN I REPORT THIS i dont know what exactly i can do. I wan legal HELP
    To win 200% bet game


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