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Bay Area Lawmaker Set To Reintroduce 'Bullet Button' Legislation

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) -- Next Monday marks one month since a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. In the wake of the second deadliest massacre in U.S. history, a state senator from the Bay Area will reintroduce a bill that will plug what he calls a major loophole in California's assault weapons ban.

State Senator Leland Yee said after the Newtown massacre, enough is enough. "Assault weapons are killing little kids, babies," Yee said.

Yee told CBS 5 he is ready to reintroduce stronger assault weapons ban legislation in California. "Five, six year old youngsters are going to school trying to learn the lesson of the day. Instead we put them in a killing field. And so these weapons are not for anything but mass destruction and we've got to put an end to that," he said.

Related Coverage:
>> CBS 5 Reports On The Bullet Button
>> Continuing Coverage Of The Newtown Shooting

Yee failed in his attempt last year to ban the so-called "bullet button" on assault-type rifles in California. The legal device essentially allows the tip of a bullet to be used to quickly release the magazine on high powered rifles and another be put in its place.

"Gun manufacturers have created this particular loophole and all we're doing is trying to close this particular loophole. And so I just think we're trying to follow the spirit and intent of the assault weapon ban here in California and closing that particular loophole," Yee said.

Gun rights advocates said they will fight Yee's legislation, just like they have before. "An attempt to ban bullet button AR15s is going to be a very large fight," said Gene Hoffman with the Calguns Foundation.

Hoffman said a ban could actually have the opposite effect. "One of the things you can do instead of having the bullet button is to build a gun in a way that doesn't have features. So, for example it doesn't have a pistol grip. And then you can actually use detachable magazines," he said.

Hoffman went on to say the ban infringes on people's Second Amendment right to bear arms.

"It's very frightening for those of us who believe in the Bill of Rights to see that the government could sit here and say that one of the most popular firearms in America is something we can ban," he said.

But Yee said the bill still respects people's right to own these guns. "We will not be taking any of those weapons away. Once the governor signs this particular bill, you'll have six months to register those particular guns."

The senator said with the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento, his fight will be easier. And he feels the recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown will sway public opinion.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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