SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – Legislation that would require all smartphones sold in California to be equipped with kill switches passed an important hurdle on Thursday, as the bill was approved by the state Assembly on a 51-18 vote.

The bill by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) is meant as a way to deter the theft of smartphones. Leno said remote kill switches can help render smartphones worthless if stolen.

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“We actually want to get into the criminal’s mind, that it is not worth his trouble or his risk to throw you to the ground and in some cases, even kill a victim to steal a smartphone because it will be worthless,” Leno said.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has long been a proponent of requiring kill switches for smartphones.

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“They will provide for the consumers the ability to have this pre-loaded capacity in their phones and if they prefer not to have it, they can opt out from it,” he said.

After passing the Assembly on Thursday, SB962 is now headed back to the Senate for a final vote on amendments.

The bill is supported by law enforcement and consumer groups and manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and Blackberry dropped their opposition to the bill after amendments were made to it.

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CTIA – The Wireless Association is a Washington, D.C. based trade group that remains opposed to the measure. They have said that deactivation rules should not vary by state.