(LOS ANGELES) — A California state senator busted on arms trafficking and corruption charges in an FBI sweep has a legislative record of fighting for stronger gun control laws.
Behind the scenes, Leland Yee, 65, offered to connect an undercover FBI agent with an international arms trafficker — all in exchange for campaign donations, according to a federal complaint.
During the investigation, the undercover agent mentioned his desire to spend as much as $2.5 million on automatic “shoulder-fired” weapons and missiles, the complaint said.
After several months of planning, a meeting with a trafficker was facilitated earlier this month in San Francisco, the complaint said, in which the group discussed their plan for getting the weapons from the Philippines.
“Once things start to move, it’s going to attract attention. We just got to be extra-extra careful,” Yee said, according to the complaint.
One month after the Sandy Hook massacre, Yee helped introduce what was seen as one of the toughest pieces of gun control legislation in the country to ban the “bullet button.”
The device allows for quick-change magazines on military-style assault weapons and is legal under California’s assault weapons ban.
Yee’s legislation was eventually folded into a package of proposals that were vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2013.
After the veto, Yee said he was “recommitted” to passing his legislation and said it would “protect the public while keeping an appropriately narrow scope.”
Yee was arrested Wednesday on federal weapons and corruption charges.
“If these allegations are true, Sen. Yee is easily the biggest hypocrite on gun control to walk the halls of the capitol in Sacramento, if not the entire United States,” Alan Gottlieb, chairman for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said in a statement.
Among the other 25 defendants caught in the sting were Yee’s campaign aide, Keith Jackson and Raymond Chow, a onetime gang leader known as “Shrimp Boy.”
Yee, a former San Francisco mayoral candidate who is running to be the next California secretary of state, has been released from jail.
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