Sen. Yee’s gun control persona clashes with picture in FBI affidavit
State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested Wednesday alongside a San Francisco man known as “Shrimp Boy” as part of an FBI public corruption investigation.
SACRAMENTO -- An FBI affidavit alleging that state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) offered to set up an arms deal paints a starkly different picture of Yee than his public persona as a supporter of gun control and advocate against gun violence.
In 2006, Yee was named to the Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll by the Brady Campaign for his efforts that included co-authoring a first-in-the-nation bill to require new semiautomatic handguns to be equipped with ballistics identification technology known as micro-stamping.
In 2013, he stood with law enforcement officials and then-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to propose a bill that would regulate assault weapons.
“While we cannot stop every senseless act of gun violence, the significant rise of mass shootings across the country demonstrates that we must take steps to close the loopholes that currently exist in California,” Yee said at the time in support of SB 47, which would have prohibited the use of a bullet button and other devices that allow for changeable magazines on all military-style assault weapons such as AR-15s. It stalled in committee last year.
Yee also authored SB 108, which would require all guns to be properly stored when not in the owner’s possession. That bill also stalled in committee last year.
According to an FBI affidavit released after Yee’s arrest Wednesday, Yee accepted a $5,000 campaign check from an undercover agent, and his political consultant, Keith Jackson, told the agent that “Yee fully understood the check being provided to Sen. Yee’s campaign was solely for the purpose of getting an introduction to the arms dealer.”
The affidavit adds, “Yee explained he has known the arms dealer for a number of years and has developed a close relationship with him.” The undercover agent told Yee he wanted automatic weapons and shoulder-fired missiles and offered to pay Yee $100,000 after the first deal.
There is no indication an arms deal was finalized.
Two of Yee’s gun-control bills were authored after the mass murder of children at a Connecticut elementary school. At the time of that shooting, Yee said he was touched by the tragedy.
“As a father, I have wept for the parents and families who lost their precious children ... and I have felt so incredibly grateful for my own children,” Yee said at the time.
Get breaking news, investigations, analysis and more signature journalism from the Los Angeles Times in your inbox.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.