It looks like every Democrat politician that has seen the latest James Bond movie thinks that biometric security on handguns is something that A) actually works, and B) is a good idea to mandate for every single firearm. In their orange sky fantasy world, where the movies are for real, this is a great idea. I, however, think that requiring biometric security on firearms is proof that John Tierney lacks basic critical thinking skills . . .
Here’s the story from The Hill:
The idea is to produce guns that can only be used by the gun’s owners. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) cited the latest James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” as inspiration for the bill.
“In the most recent James Bond film, Bond escapes death when his handgun, which is equipped with technology that recognizes him as its owner, becomes inoperable when it gets into the wrong hands,” Tierney’s office said in a statement introducing the bill. “This technology, however, isn’t just for the movies — it’s a reality.”
Tierney said his Personalized Handgun Safety Act, H.R. 2005, would help prevent accidental deaths, like the case in New Jersey last month when a six-year old accidentally shot and killed a four-year-old child.
“Accidents like this are not as rare as we want to believe, and they are preventable. Whether a gun owner or not, a NRA member or not, we should be able to agree on gun safety measures that will make our families and communities safer. This technology needs to be put into action.”
Under his bill, guns made in the United States would have to be built with this technology two years after the bill becomes law. Older guns being sold by a business or individual would have to be retrofitted with this technology after three years.
There are only three issues I see with this. First, the technology is still many years away from being “perfected.” Second, assuming it works and is available, it will get people killed. And third, even if it were working, and wasn’t dangerous, it would be massively expensive and a huge burden to American gun owners and gun manufacturers.
As for the technology being available, it really isn’t. While Tierney would have you think that fingerprint scanning pistol grips are already widely used and available in other countries, the reality is that the current state of the art is nowhere near that level of sophistication. The guns Tierney is referring to as being “available” are the models we’ve already seen that require the owner to either wear a wristwatch with an RFID tag in it or be implanted with a chip that the gun reads.
As for the actual biometric readers, are we talking about the same fingerprint scanners that I’ve fooled by photocopying my finger and swiping it across the scanner? Because those seem less than secure. And I’m sure that every single person’s finger will be in the exact same position when they grip the gun. That’s why they only make one size grip, right? Oh, wait…
Which brings me to point number two. This technology isn’t reliable, as it stands now. It adds another level of complexity to a firearm that someone will depend on in an emergency to save their life from an attacker.
What if the batteries in your gun or your RFID wristwatch died and you didn’t notice? Will the murderer running towards you stop and wait for you to find a spare LR41 battery in your pocket and replace it? A large percentage of people who buy guns take them to the range once and then store them somewhere in their house, never thinking to perform basic maintenance, let alone check batteries. Yet when an intruder crashes through their window in the middle of the night, they expect the gun to work. With this kind of technology, it won’t.
Also, remember that we’re talking about a general population that can barely program their VCR. Back when we had VCRs. And Congressman Tierney wants to introduce more advanced technology into firearms that people will depend on to protect their lives.
What about the internal mechanics of the gun? Firearms are complicated pieces of machinery. It’s taken centuries to perfect the current state of the art in terms of reliability. But even now, things still break. And Congressman Tierney wants to mandate that another untested, possibly unreliable bit technology be layered on top. That adds an additional point of failure to the gun, one that can’t be fixed in the heat of the moment with a simple tap-rack.
The Congressman seems to think that guns are used solely for recreation and hunting. What he forgets is that guns are often the only thing keeping families safe, especially in rural areas of the United States where police response times can be upwards of an hour. There’s a reason guns don’t currently have this technology, and reliability is the reason.
Smith & Wesson tried to introduce a similar — though much simpler — gizmo in their guns not too long ago when they added an internal lock to their firearms. They said it was to make the gun safer, prevent access by unauthorized people, yada yada yada. But in reality, all it did was make the gun malfunction when it was needed most. In short, they tried this already and failed. Miserably.
So let’s assume a breakthrough is made and this electronic personalized gun stuff actually works. And is reliable. What happens if this bill passes? Well first, every firearms manufacturer in the United States will be forced to stop production and completely change the design of their firearms.
In current firearms designs, there’s no wiggle room. They’ve slimmed down the guns as much as possible to keep them concealable and easy to hold. By mandating that some whiz-bang biometrics be inserted into each one, they’re requiring that the size of the guns be changed. Which means every single production facility will need to re-tool for a brand new design. That will cost millions of dollars and take months to complete. And three guesses where all that expense is going to end up. You guessed it — gun owners will be footing the bill.
Not only will we be forced to pay higher prices for the new tech, we’ll also be forced to pay for the price of the mandated manufacturing changes. Uncle Sam isn’t going to foot the bill for gun companies to change their “evil anti-biometric” ways. It will all be passed onto the customer.
What that means is this essentially becomes another way to increase the price of a firearm. That will make it harder or impossible for the poor to avail themselves of the right to keep and bear arms. A lot of the people who need the ability to defend themselves the most won’t be able to afford it. Guns will be reserved for the elites in society.
It also appears to be a bid to restrict concealed carry. These pieces of technology require additional room in the gun, and carry guns are already stripped down as much as possible for conceal ability. If the guns become too big disappear under your shirt, fewer people will carry them. It’s going after the practice without repealing the laws themselves.
Congressman Tierney says that this law is feasible, that it wouldn’t put undue restrictions or hardships on gun owners, and that the technology is safe and reliable. He’s wrong on all counts.
This comment from the article just about sums up this bill:
Tierney’s idea is so stupid it’s almost cute, kind of like a monkey trying to do algebra. While we’re on it, maybe we can also outlaw killer bowler hats.