The US has seen many atrocious shootings on its own soil over the past year. Democrats have tried to pass sensible gun laws such as requiring stricter background checks, but such attempts have been met with much opposition from Republicans. However, one state in particular has taken a step into decreasing gun violence: on July 1, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed into effect various gun laws, most notably the requirement to install a contraption called a “bullet button” into various rifles and register them with the state.
To understand the reason behind the push for the installation of “bullet buttons” on semiautomatic rifles, it is important to first understand the process of shooting, emptying, and reloading a rifle. Traditionally, a rifle owner has to only press a button on the side of a rifle called a “mag release,” which would cause the magazine to fall out, thereby allowing the owner to load a new magazine. However, the proposed “bullet button” makes it harder for gun owners to reload their rifles as this contraption requires the owners to partially separate the lower and upper parts of their rifles and disengage the contraption in order to load another magazine.
The proposed contraption would make it more time-consuming for rifle owners to reload their rifles, and it is for this purpose that the contraption was designed. The proponents of such features argue that these devices would make it harder for potential criminals to reload their firearms, preventing a mass shooting like the recent San Bernardino shooting. Although proponents argue that the “bullet button” will lead to a safer environment, some people do not agree and argue for better alternatives. When asked about the introduction of the “bullet button,” Loyola junior Collin Saydah replied, “Instead of having it harder to use, why not make it harder to obtain?” He also continued to state, “If somebody is going to attack you, they are most likely to use an unregistered firearm, without the bullet button.”
Concerns similar to Saydah reflect the debate over whether the law is practical or not. Are there perceived benefits? Yes, there very well are. However, are there better alternatives to make a more significant impact? There may be, and it is this possibility that has many gun owners frustrated with the gun laws in California.