RELEASE: Legislation to Ban Cop-Killer Bullets Passes Senate

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

(Sacramento, CA) Today, Wednesday, June 1, 2011. The California State Senate voted today 22 to 16 to pass Senate Bill 124, the Cop-Killer Bullet Ban Protection Act. Despite the gun lobby’s concerted and misguided efforts to keep cop-killer bullets legal and accessible, strong law enforcement support from up and down the state won over the majority of Legislators.

    Earlier this year, Los Angeles’ top law enforcement leadership asked Senator Kevin de León to quickly pass SB 124 inoculating California’s ban on cop-killer bullets. “This bill protects cops while maintaining access to legal ammunition for law-abiding citizens,” said Senator De León. “We cannot put our law enforcement in jeopardy to appease the NRA.”

   At a recent Senate Public Safety committee hearing, Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant John Mumma stated that, “There is NO reason for the public to purchase these types of bullets. They serve no other purpose. They are not for sport. They are not for hunting. They are for killing people, specifically police officers. Directly across the street from this great building, on the grounds there is a memorial to fallen officers. If this bill passes and keeps at least one name from that memorial , then you’ve done your job. The motto of the Police Protective League is to ‘protect those who protect others.’ This is our opportunity to request that we all work together to protect police officers across the State of California.”

   This bill was born to clarify to clarify the definition of handgun ammunition that was called into question in a political decision earlier this year by Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton. The ruling, brought on by a National Rifle Association lawsuit, 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 long-standing 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 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.

   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 and 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 word “primarily” 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.”