How Smart Are Personalized Guns And Why Is NJ Critical?
Call them what you will, smart guns, personalized firearms, etc., are these items a good idea? What would make a gun “smart”? In order to answer this question intelligently, we must first examine what functions a gun is supposed to perform, and then see if there is a way to make them “smarter” and/or more “personalized”. There appear to be two main concerns over the use of smart guns, safety and function. A gun, any gun, may be used for several legitimate and/or illegitimate purposes. Some legitimate purposes for a gun would be for Armed Service, Self-Defense, Hunting, Competitive/Sport shooting, target practice, and in the face of government tyranny, resistance. Illegitimate uses can include such things as robbery, murder, rape, assault, intimidation and virtually every other kind of initiation of the use of force. Obviously, if we design a firearm to be smarter, we would prefer that it would be smarter only for the legitimate user. Unfortunately, there is no way to accomplish that task.
What might make a gun smarter? The first thing that comes to mind is anything that would increase accuracy for its intended legitimate use. Perhaps a gun would be smarter if it were able to use a variety of different ammunition in an emergency. If you run out of .45’s – no problem, just throw in some 9mm and fire away. Better yet would be a gun so smart that it would refuse to be fired by a criminal or could identify and refuse to fire at an innocent person. I think everyone (including if not ESPECIALLY the police) would certainly like that feature. But is that what we are talking about? Are we making enhancements to guns that actually make them “smarter”?
The answer is no. Smart guns are not really smart at all. Instead of improving the functionality and overall safety of firearms, we are actually designing ways to keep guns from working under certain circumstances. Smart guns are designed to identify their “owner” and refuse to fire if their individual owner cannot be identified. Why could this be a good thing? Well, if you are attacked and are forced to draw your weapon, if it is taken from you, theoretically it cannot be used to shoot you. The attacker would not be recognized as the owner and therefore the gun would not fire. Another example might be if a child or another unauthorized individual were to somehow obtain the gun (that SHOULD have been under your control at all times), they would not be able to accidentally (or deliberately) fire the weapon. All things being equal, these might be valid reasons to purchase a smart gun. However, all things are not equal.
Suppose we examine a different scenario in which a home invader successfully disables the armed homeowner. In such a case, the home owner’s spouse would be unable to defend the family from further attack using the same gun since it will not fire for anyone other than the owner. This is what we call “unintended consequences”. We can fairly assume that a criminal will not be interested in having a gun that only fires under certain situations. They will carry a normal, everyday, reliable firearm, leaving the homeowners at a distinct disadvantage.
FBI statistics show that an overwhelming number of firearms related deaths occur as a result of suicide. Is a smart gun able to prevent its owner from employing it for such a use? The answer is of course, no. Are firearm manufacturers prepared to take responsibility if their smart gun technology fails and results in the death of an individual who would otherwise have been protected by a normal weapon? The answer is no. Are these legitimate reasons why smart gun technology should not be developed and offered for sale? The answer is again, no (or at least probably not).
Like any other legitimate product or service, the market is the place to decide if an item or service is deserving of the public’s interest. Why should the smart gun be any different? However, here is where we run into a problem.
New Jersey is the problem. Well, not so much New Jersey as is their overreaching, anti-constitutional, anti-gun-ownership rights legislature. In 2002, led by anti-gun BIGOT Loretta Weinberg, The NJ legislature passed a bill that essentially made it illegal to purchase anything OTHER than a smart gun once the technology was “available”. To her GREAT embarrassment, Senator Weinberg discovered that the human rights community of firearms owners and resellers were able to completely block any such availability specifically due to her ill-conceived legislation. Partially recognizing the deleterious affect her actions have had on the development and availability of potentially legitimate items, Weinberg has decided to “double down” on her fear and ignorance of both firearms and the free marketplace. She has decided in her infinitesimal wisdom to amend her original legislation to instead “allow” the free individuals of New Jersey to purchase whatever type of “Jersey Legal” firearms they like (smart or not) and INSTEAD she will *FORCE* firearms dealers to SELL at least one type of smart/personalized gun.
Well huzzah for the cause of reason and sanity. Apparently we have quietly slipped into the “Randian” future predicted in the novel “Atlas Shrugged” where government infiltration into private business is not only tolerated, but encouraged.
The newly amended bill S3249 is scheduled to be considered (AKA rubber stamped) by the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee on Monday, November 16 at 10:30am at the State House Anex in Trenton NJ.
Unless the independent business community is made to realize the significant precedent being set by allowing a government entity the ability to DICTATE what products one must carry in inventory, and join with the rest of the rights respecting citizens of the once great state of New Jersey, this bill will be pushed through the legislature and become law faster than you can shout “Who is John Galt”!