AB 1664 (Levine & Ting) Closes the Bullet Button Loophole in Assault Weapon Ban
AB 1664 by Assemblymembers Marc Levine (D-Marin County) and Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) was introduced today to close a loophole in law that allows the gun industry to evade the assault weapons ban in California. Specifically, AB 1664 will prohibit the use of a “bullet button” or other tool that allows for easily changeable magazines on all military-style assault weapons. Guns equipped with a bullet button are functionally the same as illegal assault weapons, but they are sold legally in California. This kind of assault rifle was used in the San Bernardino mass shooting last month and a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport in 2013.
“Killing machines have no place on our streets and gun violence must not be tolerated,” said Assemblymember Levine. “This legislation closes a loophole in law that allows military-style assault rifles to be sold legally in California. We raise our children in communities, not war zones.”
“Mass shootings have become routine, almost daily occurrences across the country,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). “This bill offers a rational solution to a common threat facing our communities. Shooters use military-style weaponry because it enables them to kill as many innocent people as fast as they can. It’s time to stop the carnage.”
“We must close the loopholes in our assault weapons ban so that guns like the ones used in San Bernardino, Newtown, and Aurora cannot be bought legally in our state,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), who is a co-author of AB 1664 and with Attorney General Kamala Harris introduced AB 1663 today, which bans bullet button guns by requiring all magazines to be permanently affixed.
“AB 1664 closes the ‘bullet button’ loophole in California’s assault weapon ban,” stated Juliet Leftwich, Legal Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco. “We understand that these weapons of war have no place in civilian hands and that gun manufacturers will do anything they can to circumvent existing laws to ban them. AB 1664 will strengthen California law and send the clear message that military-style weapons – which were first banned by the Legislature in 1989 - have no place in our state.” The Law Center was formed after an assault weapons massacre at the 101 California Street Building in San Francisco in 1993, which left eight people dead and six wounded.
“Since California’s first assault weapons law was passed in 1989 in the wake of the tragic Stockton school yard shooting, we have struggled to make it real in the face of the gun industry’s determination to find new ways to evade the law’s intent,” said Amanda Wilcox, Legislation & Policy Chair of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We support the goal of AB 1664 to finally close the loopholes in a manner that will prevent the firearms industry from continuing to sell these lethal military-style weapons in our state. Curbing the ability to rapidly reload will decrease the lethality in future mass shootings and save lives.”
California law bans assault rifles with magazines that are detachable by hand, in order to prevent shooters from reloading quickly and inflicting mass damage. The development of the bullet button clearly exploits this provision in California law. Instead of removing a magazine by hand, the bullet button allows the shooter to simply press a recessed button that is accessible using the tip of a bullet or other small tool.
# # #
Assemblymember Marc Levine represents the 10th Assembly District which includes Marin and Sonoma Counties.
Assemblymember Philip Ting represents the 19th Assembly District which spans the west side of San Francisco as well as the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City.