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Enterprising Gun Makers Create Workarounds To California's New Assault Weapon Ban

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- California's new assault weapons ban will require tens of thousands of gun owners in the state to register their ARs as assault weapons by the end of the year. But enterprising gun makers have already come out with workarounds to avoid it.

One of them is the so-called 'Drop in Fixed Magazine' or DFM, made by Franklin Armory.

Franklin Armory owner Jay Jacobson demonstrated his patented new device to KPIX. It's designed to get around the state's new assault weapons law.

The new law clamps down on a previous device known as a bullet button, a workaround for an earlier ban on rifles with detachable and quickly reloadable ammunition magazines.

Part 1: Expanded California Assault Weapon Ban Leaves Thousands Of Gun Owners In Limbo 

Under the revised rules, bullet button guns with certain other features are now considered assault weapons that will have to be registered by the end of the year.

But many gun owners don't want to do that, hence the DFM.

The magazine is fixed from the bottom is the law requires. But it can come out the top, technically legal because it involves partially disassembling the gun. It's a workaround that still allows shooters to quickly reload with very little delay.

"Basically if it's not written that you can't do it, it should be good to go. So it's not a loophole, it's just the legislature hasn't covered that yet," said Jacobson.

The DFM is not the only "workaround" product on the market. We found half a dozen online, like the AR Maglock, the Patriot Mag Release the MA Loader, or the Bear Flag Defense. They are all designed to allow bullet button gun owners to avoid registering, yet still have fast re-loading weapons.

The Department of Justice won't say whether any of these devices are legal until after it issues formal regulations on how to implement the new assault weapons ban, a process that is six months behind schedule. But advocates for stricter gun laws are already crying foul.

"It's a game of whackamole," said Ari Freilich with the Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Freilich helped lawmakers in Sacramento craft the new gun law.

"You don't need to slaughter a herd of deer when you are hunting, that is what they are saying these are for. These are weapons of war. If we can add an additional second of reload we can save lives. A classroom of children escaped the Sandy Hook massacre while the shooter stopped to reload," he said.

But it's an argument Jacobson and many gun owners will never buy.

"Criminals don't care. So the only people that are affected by this are law abiding Californians that are trying to do the right thing. The legislature has tried several times to basically find ways to prevent the AR-15 from entering California. And the reality is that whether it's Franklin Armory or my peers in the industry, there's always going to be a way to make the firearm legal in California, and they are just grasping at straws," said Jacobson.

According to the DOJ's website regulations governing the new assault weapons law are still pending, but should be effective in the very near future.

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