Chiu seeks ban on ‘bullet button’

San Francisco assemblyman David Chiu is seeking to further expand California’s ban on assault weapons by banning the so-called “bullet button.”

The state’s assault weapon ban, passed in 1989 and amended in 1999, prohibits rifles that accept detachable magazines that can be quickly removed at the touch of a button. To be legal in California, replacing magazines requires the use of a tool.

A “bullet button” is a recessed button that releases the magazine.

A bullet or other small tool needs to be used to push the button because the recess is too small for a human finger.

But Chiu, D-San Francisco, and Attorney General Kamala Harris, think the bullet button allows for too-rapid reloading, calling their legality a “loophole.” They are proposing legislation that would ban them, too.

Harris said in a statement:

“This is a common sense solution that closes a dangerous loophole in California’s assault weapons ban. … We simply must do everything we can to keep dangerous, high capacity firearms off of our streets and out of our communities.”

Gov. Jerry Brown already vetoed in 2013 proposed legislation that would have outlawed bullet buttons in California. In his veto message, Brown said:

“I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights.”

Chiu said in a statement the legislation would ban guns like the ones used in shootings in San Bernardino, Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut:

“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.”