Senator Kevin de León Announces Legislation to Protect the Ban on Cop-Killer Bullets

Friday, January 28, 2011

(Sacramento, CA) Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 12:00pm, with Los Angeles’ top cops at his side and amidst a rising tide of gun violence in the region, Senator Kevin de León today announced the introduction of his Senate Bill 124 to protect the ban on cop-killer bullets.

Senator De León was joined by Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, Los Angeles Police Protective League President Paul Weber and Professional Peace Officers Association President Brian Moriguchi, all calling for the Legislature to quickly pass SB 124, which is designed to clarify the definition of handgun ammunition that was called into question in a political decision last week by Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton. The bill is responding to the ruling brought on by a National Rifle Association lawsuit and clarifies the definition of handgun ammunition in the Penal Code to make certain that this court case nor any future gun lobby lawsuit can invalidate California’s ban on cop-killer bullets.

The NRA’s lawsuit against Assembly Bill 962, Parker v. California, didn’t challenge the validity of the language in the bill. Instead, it struck at the heart of California’s long-standing laws against minors purchasing ammunition and, more importantly, it undercut California’s long-standing ban on armor piercing bullets, the so-called cop killer bullets, recklessly putting officers at risk. These are bullets designed to penetrate protective vests.

“Working with Los Angeles’ top law enforcement leadership, I introduced SB 124 to protect our law enforcement officers, who, every day must face danger while they protect the citizens of our state and our communities,” stated Senator De León.

Sheriff Leroy Baca emphasized, “we need to protect our law enforcement personnel from harm and keep handgun ammo, more importantly the “cop-killer” bullets, out of the hands of criminals.  Being in the crime-fighting business we have to uphold laws that control criminal violence that will help keep our communities safe.”

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck continued, “Sadly, the judge’s decision jeopardizes California’s efforts to track criminals illegally acquiring ammunition. It also puts at risk the ban on minors purchasing ammunition.  It is my hope that the Legislature will move quickly to pass Senate Bill 124 to protect these statutes from future court challenges.”

Senate Bill 124 amends the Penal Code to clarify the definition of “handgun ammunition” and cop-killer bullets. Specifically, the bill deletes the words “principally designed” and “primarily designed” from the Penal Code, which the NRA and court argued was unconstitutionally vague.

“The Los Angeles Police Protective League supports legislative efforts to insure that the ban is shielded from this court decision and protected going forward,” stated Paul Weber, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.  “The men and women who protect the rest of us deserve no less.”

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Senator Kevin de León represents the 22nd District including all or parts of the City of Los Angeles, Alhambra, East Los Angeles, Florence-Graham, Maywood, San Marino, South Pasadena, Vernon, and Walnut Park.  He is the Senate Democratic Caucus Chair.