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Brady Camp sues NJ Atty. General to force ‘smart guns’ on consumers

A Brady Campaign lawsuit is aimed at outlawing traditional handguns in New Jersey by enforcing a so-called "smart gun" mandate adopted in 2002.
A Brady Campaign lawsuit is aimed at outlawing traditional handguns in New Jersey by enforcing a so-called "smart gun" mandate adopted in 2002.
Dave Workman

The anti-gun Brady Campaign today filed a lawsuit against Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Jay Hoffman to force him to take the first step toward imposition of the state’s 2002 so-called “smart gun” law that would, within three years, prohibit manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers from selling anything other than this type of handgun.

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), and the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) quickly reacted. CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb called it “gun prohibition fanaticism” and ANJRPC Executive Director Scott Bach said the law “forces you to use an unproven technology to defend your life.”

“What the Brady Campaign wants is to force consumers to purchase a product that is, at best, unreliable,” Gottlieb asserted, “placing them at serious risk if they want a gun for personal protection. In the process, the gun control lobby is trying to strip away the right of personal choice, and ban the sale and transfer of current handguns.”

“It forces you to use an unproven technology to defend your life,” Bach said, “and then exempts the state from liability when the gun goes ‘click’ instead of ‘bang.’ If it’s such a great idea, then law enforcement shouldn’t be exempt, and the free market should be able to determine its viability.”

Under the state’s “Personalized Handgun Law,” the attorney general is required to report to the governor and legislature every six months on the availability of so-called “smart guns” that can only be used by their owner or “authorized user.” The lawsuit notes that, “Once these products are made available for retail sales purposes anywhere in the United States, a three-year clock starts ticking, after which every handgun sold in New Jersey must be personalized.”

The lawsuit alleges that the attorney general has failed to provide these reports, especially in the wake of reports that such “personalized” handguns are available. Gun shops in California and Maryland recently mentioned an interest in selling such guns, made by a European firm, and might be introduced into their inventory. However, those announcements allegedly resulted in hateful calls and death threats, according to published reports, and the gun shops backed away from the guns.

It is not clear whether any guns were actually offered for sale. The pistol in question, produced by Armatix, is chambered only for .22 caliber ammunition.

Joining the Brady Campaign is the Mercer County chapter of the Million Mom March. They allege in the lawsuit, “Despite the clear language of the statute, the Attorney General has failed to comply with his reporting obligation. This failure, which continues today, is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable, and risks delaying the commencement of the three-year period prescribed by the Personalized Handgun Law.”

The Brady group and Million Moms had threatened Hoffman with a lawsuit via formal letter back in February. A copy of that letter may be read here.

Forcing consumers to purchase a product that is unproven and unreliable probably wouldn’t pass the smell test if it dealt with anything other than firearms. That is, of course, unless one is talking about health care, but that’s another story.

Perhaps Bach summed it up best when he noted, “New Jersey’s smart-gun law is as dumb as it gets.”

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