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California Bans High-Capacity Gun Magazines, Bullet Button Loophole

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a number of gun control measures into law Friday, including a bill banning high-capacity gun magazines and another outlawing the "bullet button" loophole that allows shooters to quickly change magazines.

A third gun control measure signed by Brown requires that ammunition sellers be licensed, purchases screened and transactions recorded.

Brown also vetoed other gun bills Friday, including one that would have required homemade firearms to be registered, and another that would have required the reporting of guns that were lost or stolen.

SB 1446, authored by Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Oakland), prohibits the possession of any high-capacity magazine or ammunition-holding device for an assault-style weapon that holds more than 10 rounds.

"These so-called 'high-capacity magazines' are not for target shooting or hunting. Their sole purpose is to kill people in the shortest period of time," said Hancock in a prepared statement. "In a video from the recent Orlando massacre, you can clearly hear at least 22 rounds being fired in rapid succession from inside the building. If the shooter had to stop to reload, he might have been stopped and lives would have been saved."

Local ordinances in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Oakland already ban high-capacity magazines. The ordinances have so far been all upheld by the courts.

The ban on the so-called "bullet button" closes a loophole in California's assault weapon ban in which shooters could use the tip of a bullet or small tool to quickly change magazines.

In a statement, the National Rifle Association called the gun control measures signed by the governor "draconian" and said they turn "California's law-abiding gun owners into second-class citizens."

"The governor and legislature exploited a terrorist attack to push these measures through even though the state's already restrictive laws did nothing to stop the attack in San Bernadino," said spokeswoman Amy Hunter. "These bills make no one safer, they only add another layer of laws that criminals will continue to break. The National Rifle Association is prepared to pursue all options moving forward – legal, legislative and political."


Carlos E. Castañeda is Senior Editor, News & Social Media for CBS San Francisco and a San Francisco native. You can follow him on Twitter or send him an email.

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