To hear veteran New Jersey firearms retailer Bob Viden tell it, the smartest thing to do about New Jersey’s so-called “smart gun” law is repeal it, and according to a story in Monday's South Jersey Times, that idea is being kicked around by lawmakers in Trenton.
Viden, speaking exclusively to Examiner via telephone Monday, said the way the current law, requiring “smart guns” when they become available, was “stupid the way they wrote it.” He said that if a repeal measure is introduced, he will travel to the capitol to testify in support.
“Whether they develop a smart gun or not,” he said, "I don’t care. I just don’t want to be forced to buy it unless I want it.”
That was the same sentiment expressed by the National Rifle Association a few weeks ago. The NRA does not oppose new technology, but does oppose it becoming a mandate.
A handgun hunter and competitor, Viden wondered rhetorically whether someone would pay to retrofit his personal handguns with “smart chips” or other technology to make them compliant with a smart gun mandate. He noted that when he discussed revolvers with smart gun proponents, “some of the people didn’t know what a revolver is.”
Buried in the middle of the story about a potential "smart gun" reversal was this telling fact: “Law enforcement and military personnel would be exempt.” That tells gun rights activists everything they need to know; that the technology is not reliable enough for police to risk their lives trusting, so it should not be required for private citizens.
This revelation comes a week after the Supreme Court declined to review a lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s Draconian concealed carry law that requires applicants to demonstrate a justifiable need to carry a defensive handgun. This left many in the gun rights movement convinced the high court is reluctant to take a case that could throw discretionary – make that arbitrary – concealed carry schemes in New York, California, New Jersey and Maryland into the trash.
For the moment, Viden is still selling standard handguns out of his Glassboro shop. If someone actually develops a 100-percent reliable “smart gun” that cannot be disabled with some gadget, either by criminals or the government, he’s probably on board with that. But only if there is no mandate to own that kind of firearm and no other.
He related a conversation he had some time back with a smart gun proponent. He challenged that person with this argument: “What if someone came out with a car that only went 55 miles per hour and had a sensor that automatically stopped the car at red lights? Should we force everyone to buy that car, even if it only has two seats?”
New Jersey’s “smart gun” mandate is the same kind of vehicle, he intimated. And from all indications, it is running out of gas even before it leaves the driveway.