July 7, 2012

Need your help out there..

We gun owners here in California here are under yet another assault (if you will excuse the expression) on our right to bear arms. Many years ago in a liberal galaxy far, far away, the unelightened Feds sought to outlaw what they called Assault Rifles. These were defined, for the purposes of this law as:
Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:

  • Folding or telescoping stock
  • Pistol grip
  • Bayonet mount
  • Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
  • Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device which enables the launching or firing of rifle grenades, though strangely, this applies only to muzzle mounted grenade launchers and not those which are mounted externally)
(A note to concerned readers: I have not used my grenade launcher in years!)

The law only outlawed weapons manufactured in the future; it grandfathered in weapons already legally owned and registered. It was passed and signed immediately into law by President Cohibatator ~~ presumably between diddling interns with huge Havanas. It was also a 10-year law that expired..

..except out here in the People's Republic of Kalifornia. As you may expect, the laws here are draconian ("..are some of the strictest in the United States") and the law forbidding assault weapon ownership predates the federal ban by five years. They are still in force. By the way, it should be noted that several times attempts to re-institute the Federal AWB have failed to make it into law, notably a humiliating 9-89 vote defeat by our beloved menopausal-grandmother-and-only-slightly-smarter-than-Barbara-Boxer Senator Diane Feinstein.

But I ramble.

One of the definitions and disqualifiers of so-called assault weapons out here is the so-called detachable magazine. This point was circumnavigated by the so-called bullet button:
Bullet Button
The California assault weapon ban has been largely circumvented by minor design changes by gun manufacturers. One of the most common modifications is a "bullet button", which modifies a rifle so that the magazine is not removable without the use of a tool - in this case, the tool being a bullet, or other tool, which presses a button (The button is designed so that a finger alone cannot press it ). Weapons with this feature no longer have a "detachable magazine" within the assault weapons definition, and therefore may be exempt depending on the other requirements.

The recent court case Haynie v Pleasanton validated that a Bullet Button is legal and guns that have one installed do not qualify as assault weapons.[31]

The term "bullet button" was coined due to the need to use the tip of a bullet to release the magazine from the gun. many tools have been devised to make it easier and faster to drop the clip from the gun. Because the California law states that you must use an external tool not attached to the gun, the most popular tool, the "magnet button" that sticks on the bullet button is illegal. Of the available tools that are external to the gun the "ThumBee", an elastic band with a "stinger" that slides over the thumb appears to be the fastest and cheapest legal solution. Whatever tool you choose, be sure it is legal because if your gun is determined to be an assault weapon it is a felony and could result in jail time and/or confiscation of your entire gun collection.
Well, as the result of a typically breathless editorial piece by the CBS affiliate that has motivated California State Senator Leland Yee  (D-San Francisco, of course) to gut an existing agricultural bill, SB 249, and use it as a vehicle for banning the bullet button. Without wandering into he weeds, a follow-up of the CBS article can be found here and below is a is a video that responds to the controversy from the gun owner's perspective.

Interestingly, there is a feeling abroad in the land in the wake of the recent DC handgun ban SCOTUS rulings, that tinkering around the edges of the 2nd Amendment will cause the efforts of gun control proponents to blow up in their faces. In the interest of brevity, here is one person's opinion:
Vince Warde · Top Commenter
Sen. Yee should think carefully before pushing this bill. It is going to be a very hard bill to write narrowly so that it only affects the "magnetic mag release". There is no doubt that placing this device on a Bullet Button equipped rifle (with prohibited features) is already a felony. Is it really necessary to ban the button?

I think Sen. Yee's real target is the Bullet Button itself. This is just stupid. These guns are already crippled. They can only use ten round mags and are slow to reload. Merely inserting a hi-capacity magazine, even a legally owned one, is a felony.

Furthermore, if the Bullet Button is banned, it will almost certainly lead to the loss of the entire assault weapons law. Here's how:

1) Most of the weapons generically banned by feature are - according to the Heller/McDonald SCOTUS decisions - protected by the 2nd amendment because they are in "common use" by citizens.

2) The best - and really the only - defense the state of CA can make is that these guns (such as the AK47 and AR15) are not banned at all. They are merely limited in the interest of public safety.

3) Therefore the Bullet Button, ironically is the salvation of the assault weapons ban. Take the bullet button option away and getting the federal courts to strike down the ban is just a matter of time.

Before blowing this off, gun control advocates should remember that you all thought the DC handgun ban would be upheld. You lost. DC has continued to loose - including a loss at the DC Court of Appeals, which struck down long gun registration - let alone a ban.

Therefore gun control advocates would be wise to oppose this bill.
It would be nice of you all out there would send Senator Yee an e-mail voicing your opposition to what he is attempting to do. However, do not expect a receptive audience. Nonetheless, here is his e-mail address:

Please be polite and respectful when you make your points. He won;t be listening, but no sense giving him any -- er -- ammunition.

There is a petition to stop this and I ask that you at least sign it and you are encouraged to visit the Gun Owners of California web site for more news and for ways you can help.

We out here on the frontier appreciate your helping us hold onto our firearms.

UPDATE: Here is a rather interesting analysis of this bill done by the law offices of Jason Davis of the law firm Davis and Associates at the behest of the CalGuns fFoundation. Mr Davis concludes rather ominously:

Again, anything you can do to help us. Remember, if they are successful here, then they will eventually be successful in your state.


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