A New Jersey law requiring that all handguns sold be "smart," with this "intelligence" being defined by the state as meaning that the gun is only capable of firing in the hands of the owner, has been on the books for over a decade, but will not actually go into effect until at least one model of handgun with this "feature" reaches the market, and that has not happened yet.
After years of stalled and inconclusive research — hampered in part by political resistance from groups like the National Rifle Association — a German company called Armatix says it will introduce the first gun equipped with a user-recognition system within 45 days.
The article acknowledges that it is not yet known whether or not this particular model will be deemed by the New Jersey attorney general as sufficient to trigger (no pun intended) enforcement of the law, but speculates that release of the new Armatix gun will spur other manufacturers to jump on the "smart gun" bandwagon--and other states to jump on, as well, passing laws like New Jersey's.
One person interviewed was positively giddy with anticipation:
After that, it’s probably just a matter of time before the technology becomes standard, said Stephen Teret, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the founding director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
“Who is going to want to buy an old stupid gun rather than a smart gun?” Teret, who has been working on the issue for 30 years, said. “I am very optimistic about this.”
"Who is going to want to buy 'an old stupid gun,'" Teret? Everyone intelligent enough to refuse to needlessly trust his life to complex, failure-prone, battery dependent gadgetry, designed to make his life and liberty preservation tool less likely to function. Everyone who notices that on top of all the other ways such a system can fail, this Armatix system requires entering a PIN code to enable the gun to fire. Everyone who considers the risk of government-operated (or private sector criminal-operated) "smart gun kill switches"--a not at all unlikely scenario.
And that group, if the past is any indication, includes the police, who tend to make certain to be the "Only Ones" exempt from the "smart gun" requirement, as is the case with the New Jersey law. That, by the way, is more than a little ironic, given that one of the supposed selling points for this technology is that it would save the lives of cops who would otherwise be shot with their own guns, wrestled away from them by perpetrators. As articulated by rabidly anti-gun John Rosenthal, founder of the Massachusetts-based Stop Handgun Violence group (possibly defunct by now):
According to gun maker Smith and Wesson, guns could be made with personal recognition technology such that only the intended user could fire the gun. This practical technological solution would save the lives of countless victims of gun violence, accidents and suicides each year. It could also help save the lives of the 17% of police officers killed in the line of duty by a criminal accessing the officer's gun.
A proposed federal law mandating "smart guns," H.R. 2005, introduced in May by Representative John Tyranny . . . oops, that's Tierney (D-MA), makes no exception for "Only Ones," prompting this column to predict that whatever miniscule chance of passage for the bill will be no chance, unless an "Only Ones" exemption is amended into it.
Still, this is a threat that cannot be dismissed. If this gun does not impress the New Jersey attorney general enough to begin enforcement of the state's "smart gun" mandate, another soon will, and these handguns will become the only ones legally available to New Jersey residents. As California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc., compete with New Jersey for the "honor" of being the state most hostile to gun owners, the contagion is likely to spread. Eventually, as more states implement such laws, that market will become lucrative enough to attract some major gun manufacturers, and there will be momentum behind this new abomination.
I'll hold a "smart gun" when it's forced into my cold, dead hands.
National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea has much more, in "Bloomberg tied to German move to occupy New Jersey ‘smart gun’ market."
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