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Massachusetts’ Markey revives ‘smart gun’ debate

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, shown here debating drone use, has revived the "smart gun" debate.
Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, shown here debating drone use, has revived the "smart gun" debate.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey today announced that he will push legislation requiring that all new firearms be “personalized” as his panacea to so-called “gun violence,” which is yet another revival of the “smart gun” debate that has raged off and on for years.

Critics will quickly argue that the technology is faulty at best, as they have done here and here.

Markey, according to the Boston Globe and Associated Press, called on President Barack Obama to add $10 million to his proposed budget to cover “gun violence research,” which presumably includes money to further development of personalized gun technology.

Sen. Markey maintains that his legislation will make it tougher for criminals to use stolen guns, and it will also help reduce childhood gun-related fatalities.

It will be instructive to see how police react if, and when, a proposal to arm them with “smart guns” is placed on the table. Nobody whose life may depend upon the reliability of the gun on his or her belt is likely to eagerly step forward as a volunteer test case.

Speaking of police, Fox News reported earlier today that two police groups in Minnesota filed suit against the National Football League over a stadium gun ban that they claim violates state law “by infringing on the right of off-duty cops to carry weapons.”

Here in Washington State, according to an e-mail exchange with a top law enforcement official, stadium carry by off-duty police became an issue some years ago. Century Link Field doesn't allow firearms, despite its being a public facility.

But what about legally-armed private citizens in both states? They might justifiably ask why should off-duty cops, who may down a few brews at a football game, be any more trustworthy than an armed fan who may have nothing more than a soda and hot dog with his family while watching a game? The infamous incident at a 2012 Seahawks game involving three off-duty Bellevue officers is fodder for discussion at this point.

This column recently pondered over how many armed citizens attended the big Seahawks Super Bowl victory parade, and privately heard from several who were in the crowd without a single incident.

Markey’s legislation probably hasn’t a prayer of getting out of committee, much less passing. The police lawsuit may face equal odds in court.

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