Cali Looks to Ban Bullet Button, All Detachable Magazines

Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris is joining with state legislators in an effort to criminalize the use of "bullet buttons" in California. (photo by: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times) photo from guns.com.

For some time, firearms deemed “assault weapons” (basically any magazine-fed, semi-automatic rifle) by the state of California have been required to have bullet-buttons installed on their firearms. It’s basically a lock that prevents the quick changing of a magazine by requiring a tool, or the tip of a bullet, to depress a button, allowing for the removal of the mag from the receiver. The state has required these firearms to be registered as “assault weapons” since 2001.

Two bills introduced by Assembly members Marc Levine (D-Marin County) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would close what the lawmakers are calling the "bullet button loophole" by banning the devices, according to this story from guns.com.

Doing this would effectively render any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine illegal in California.

From the story: The framers of the proposals claim that magazines that are non-detachable prevent the rapid reloading that can increase death tolls in mass shootings.

“Killing machines have no place on our streets and gun violence must not be tolerated,” said Levine in the story. “This legislation assures that gun manufacturers cannot work around the intent of California’s ban on military-style assault weapons. We raise our children in communities, not war zones.”

Levine's bill, AB 1664, along with Chiu's companion bill, AB 1663, would classify a semi-automatic centerfire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept no more than 10 rounds as an "assault weapon" under state law, the story says.

Owners of firearms with a bullet button would have until 2018 to register their guns. Gun owners after that date who have the device on an unregistered rifle would be open to felony charges and up to a year in prison.

“Detachable magazines cost lives, and it is more important to save lives during future mass shootings than to be able to reload assault weapons in the blink of an eye,” said Chiu.