A recently released study indicates states with the toughest gun laws have the lowest rates of gun-related deaths, according to a statement from the office of California Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo).
The study, released by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, also indicates states with "weak" gun laws have the highest rates of gun deaths, Yee's office reported.
The six states with the lowest per capita gun death rates - Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut - all had some of the "toughest" gun laws in country, according to the study.
In contrast, the top 10 states with the highest per capita gun death rates - Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi - all had reportedly "weak" gun laws, the study reported.
"It is a fact that strong gun laws work, and weak laws result in the loss of innocent lives," said Yee, who is authoring legislation to attempt close a loophole in California’s assault weapon ban and to strengthen state law regarding safe storage of weapons.
"Clearly, there is a direct correlation between common sense gun laws and fewer gun-related homicides. While we cannot stop every senseless act of gun violence, we should certainly strengthen our laws to prevent tragedies," he said.
Yee’s bill, SB 47, is modeled after a bill he introduced last year but that was held by the State Assembly.
The bill prohibits semi-automatic weapons, including AR-15s and AK-47s, from having devices known as "bullet buttons" and "mag magnets." SB 47 also prohibits add-on kits that allow high-capacity magazines.
A "bullet button" is designed to replace a normal magazine release button with a recessed button that can only be accessed through the use of a tool - such as, the tip of a bullet.
The California Department of Justice (CA DOJ) declared in 2011 that semi-automatic rifles utilizing a bullet button are considered to be "fixed magazine" rifles, and therefore legal under the state's assault weapon ban.
Last year, , but the bill . Many speculate that was a result of widespread opposition by gun supporters who believe such laws will not help prevent mass shootings such as Sandy Hook Elementary and the Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting.
Yee said he is also planning to introduce legislation that will toughen safety requirements.
Current law states that, if a gun is not secured, either through a trigger lock or by being in a locked safety device, that the gun owner can be held liable for any injuries or deaths to a person under the age of 18.
Yee’s bill will require that all guns have a locked trigger and be properly stored in a lock box when not in use at all times, regardless of any incidents.
The subject of gun control has been in the spotlight following the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed.
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