Injecting some sanity into California’s gun laws
This article is probably of interest only to residents of California. For the unfamiliar: California is blessed to have a state government that rivals its federal counterpart for bureaucracy, inane legislation and intrusive and unnecessary regulation. And in no walk of life is this more evident than in firearm law, where CA decided that the federal rules on “assault weapons” were insufficient for the Golden State.
In order to understand the value of the Bullet Button, one needs to know a bit about California law. It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into the details of assault weapon legality, so as briefly as I can put it, in 1994 the federal government passed a law known as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). This law codified the definition of an assault weapon, and made them illegal to purchase. There was a ten-year sunset provision on this law, so it lapsed in 2004, and assault weapons were then legal again. Except in California, where in 1999 SB 23 defined (and outlawed) certain firearm configurations. In simplest terms, if the gun’s magazine is detachable, it may not legally have certain other “features” common to AR-15s, such as a folding stock or pistol grip.
Now, here’s the good news: a commonly-accepted definition of a “detachable” magazine is one that can be removed without a tool. And…a tool can be almost anything, even a cartridge for the gun. Enter the Bullet Button from Prince Industries (no web site), a clever invention that honors the law while preserving most of the convenience of a detachable magazine.
The Bullet Button is just a few small parts that alter the behavior of the magazine release. Parts 1, 2 and 3 in the photo make up the Bullet Button. Part 3 fits inside part 2. Part 4 is the magazine release that comes with an AR-15 parts kit. Parts 5 and 6 are the standard magazine release spring and button; these can be discarded after installation of the Bullet Button.
Here’s a close-up of the Bullet Button installed. The area colored in red is the inner button (part 3 above). The picture doesn’t depict it well, but the inner button is actually recessed into the outer button (part 2 above). Using a bullet or some other pointy tool to depress this inner button is what releases the magazine. The outer “button” is actually solid and will not depress as it does in a conventional AR-15.
The Bullet Button is an intelligent, clever approach to helping fix an unreasonable situation. As of this writing, the CA DOJ has not taken an official position on this product, nor do I expect them to anytime soon. But, the Bullet Button has passed the scrutiny of several gun law scholars, and seems to be a defensible implementation. And, it makes life a lot easier for California’s law-abiding gun owners.