August 13th, 2012

California SB249 Would Outlaw Mag-Equipped Semi-Auto Rifles

After California banned the sale and ownership of many semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, AR lower receivers were developed with devices such as the “Bullet Button” that required the use of a “tool” to remove magazines. These tool-activated ARs were deemed legal in California by state authorities. Now, when you go to a High Power match in California, you’ll see shooters using ARs fitted with bullet buttons. This has allowed California-based shooters, such as the National Champion California Grizzlies Junior Team, to continue to compete in matches, without having to switch to bolt-action rifles. That may all change soon….

Senate Bill 249 California Yee

SB249 Would Outlaw Many Current Semi-Auto Rifles and Mandate Confiscation
California Senate Bill 249, introduced by CA State Senator Leland Yee (D. San Francisco), renders bullet button-equipped ARs (and similar semi-autos) illegal. Yee’s SB249 changes the definition of what constitutes a detachable magazine for a semi-automatic firearm, potentially making an estimated one million semi-automatic rifles legally sold in that state “illegal to possess” as of July 1, 2013. Ironically, SB249 was originally an innocuous agriculture bill that passed in the California Senate back in May. But, by way of a sneaky amendment, Senator Yee turned the bill into a wide-reaching gun ban.

If passed, SB249 could force owners of currently-legal semi-automatic rifles to surrender their rifles or face confiscation. Though semi-auto rifle owners would be required to turn in their guns (or face imprisonment), SB249 has no provisions to allow reimbursement for the loss of valuable property. Worse yet, the bill doesn’t require a public notice program to advise owners of the change in state law.

This bill appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to media reports of recent shootings involving ARs. But in fact, the overall crime rate has declined in California while bullet-button ARs have been legal to buy and shoot. So SB249 serves no useful purpose. The NRA-ILA recommends that all Californians contact their state legislators and urge them to oppose SB249.

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