American firearms owners will bid a final goodbye this Friday to Otis McDonald, icon of a landmark 2010 Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment, at funeral services in Illinois, while Attorney General Eric Holder is stirring up a new flap over so-called “common sense” gun control measures that smack of electronic gun owner surveillance, rather than just make it impossible for the wrong people to use someone’s firearm.
This column broke the news that McDonald had passed away. This Friday's services will be held at the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Harvey, a Chicago suburb, starting at 10 a.m. The Rev. Dr. Fred Jones, McDonald’s nephew, will officiate. Interment will be at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood.
While McDonald had been fighting cancer, gun owners now see themselves battling a different kind of cancer; one that eats away at the gun rights that McDonald v. City of Chicago expanded across the country by incorporating the Second Amendment to the states through the 14th Amendment.
The latest symptoms of that outbreak were being reported this morning by Fox News and yesterday by the Washington Free Beacon. Reporting Holder’s remarks, the news agencies note that the Justice Department apparently wants to spend $382.1 million on “gun safety” in fiscal 2014. This included $2 million for “Gun Safety Technology” grants. Many in the gun rights community compare this to government grants for “green energy” to outfits like Solyndra. Translation: Kiss that money goodbye and don’t expect any results.
The stories also report that President Obama wanted $1.1 billion “to protect Americans from gun violence – including $182 million to support the president’s ‘Now is the Time’ gun safety initiative,” the Free Beacon reported. Spending lots of money on feel-good projects that accomplish nothing but create the impression that you are “doing something” is the high point of political charlatanism, according to gun rights proponents who understand budgets.
Among these so-called “common sense reforms” was consideration of an RFID-equipped bracelet that must be worn by someone in order to make a gun work. The Free Beacon also reported that, in addition to the idea about the bracelets, others were looking at GPS tracking devices to reveal if a firearm “moves away from the tracker, indicating the gun is lost or stolen.”
If that sounds like an elaborate gun registration scheme, you’re probably right, and it may actually be much worse. If such encryption and coding were to become reality, this could literally allow the government to monitor every move of every gun owner, where they hunt and when, their visits to the gun range, and their other movements as an armed citizen.
All of these suggestions are part of the “smart gun technology” campaign that has been an on-again, off-again effort for more than a decade. But the technology has never been satisfactorily proven to work 100 percent of the time. The acid test for such firearms, according to many in the gun community, would be for the president’s Secret Service security detail to carry and use them successfully for five or ten years before they would ever be recommended, much less mandated, for private citizens and local law enforcement.
These arguments fall on deaf ears within the gun control camp, which wants to discourage people from owning firearms. The more difficult they can make the paperwork, and the more complicated they can force the products to be made, the happier they will be.
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