Smart gun? (courtesy bsuinessinsider.com.au)

60 Minutes did a piece Sunday about smart guns, and it was about as fair and balanced as you could expect a mainstream media outlet to be. The general premise seemed to be “Look at all these great things that will definitely save lives! Why wouldn’t the evil Gun Lobby want people to have these?” That may work well for the uninformed, but the real reason why “smart guns” aren’t on the market is because New Jersey Democrats poisoned the well. Legislation on the books in New Jersey is causing a roadblock to any commercial availability of “smart guns,” and their refusal to repeal that law is the real reason why these guns aren’t on the market. In other words: blame the Democrats, not the NRA for this one . . .

The law in question is a New Jersey statute which requires that when a “smart gun” comes on the market – anywhere in the US – all guns for sale in New Jersey must feature “smart gun” technology. Even NPR understands the insanity of that logic.

Basically, the Childproof Handgun Law of 2002 says that once “personalized handguns are available” anywhere in the country, all handguns sold in New Jersey must be smart guns within 30 months.

The goal of the law was to spur “research, development and manufacture” of smart guns, according to its sponsor, New Jersey state Sen. Loretta Weinberg. But in practice, supporters and critics of the law now agree, that has not been the case.

“It actually doesn’t matter if the gun has been sold,” says David Kopel, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “If there’s just one available for sale anywhere in the United States, then that triggers the handgun ban. So who would want to sell a smart gun knowing that, by doing so, they’d be imposing a handgun ban on New Jersey?”

While the law may have been intended to promote smart guns, the reality is that it did the opposite. The law is keeping their development and distribution from ever becoming a reality. This is another fine example of a “feel good” law passed by gun control activists which has the exact opposite impact from what they were trying to achieve. Kinda like the the idea of “gun free” zones. And just like every other failed gun control law, they refuse to repeal it even though the impact is clear for anyone to see.

In the 60 Minutes segment they interviewed the bill’s author, and rather than admit her mistake she proceeds to blame the Evil NRA for the roadblock her law put in place.

Loretta Weinberg, the New Jersey state senator who authored the law, didn’t foresee its consequences.

Loretta Weinberg: We passed that bill to help spur this technology.

Lesley Stahl: It appears it totally backfired because it spurred this passionate objection to the gun.

Loretta Weinberg: Because of the intervention of the NRA and the Second Amendment folks.

Lesley Stahl: That, they say, the reason they intervened is because of the mandate.

Loretta Weinberg: Right. It isn’t the law that’s stopped the development. It is the people who threatened folks who actually wanted to sell such a gun.

She doesn’t take responsibility for constructing the law in such a way that it actually impedes production of “smart guns.” instead she deflects all of that failure to the NRA, claiming that the gun lobby is just twisting things and that her law is really a good idea. Even though it is obviously and clearly not.

That said, even if “smart guns” were introduced to the public there’s no indication that they would have even the slightest impact on “gun violence.” The 60 Minutes piece tries to paint “smart guns” as the silver bullet to the “gun violence” issue.

Smart guns could curtail the number of suicides, and cut down on the resale of stolen guns; estimated to be 230,000 every year. What good is a gun no one but the owner can fire? And they would help on-duty cops.

Suicides wouldn’t be stopped by this technology — the owner and registered user can still use the gun to kill themselves.

The resale of stolen guns wouldn’t be impacted — they traffic in cheap firearms, not expensive multi-thousand dollar guns like these “smart guns,” and the supply of the millions of “dumb” guns in circulation won’t run out anytime soon.

Even the mass shootings that prompt these “discussions” wouldn’t be stopped by “smart guns” — most of the killers in those cases obtain their guns legally.

“Smart guns” are definitely interesting technology that I would love to see mature, but the reason why they aren’t coming to market is due to legislation passed in New Jersey that would outlaw all the guns we have come to know and love and leave only an expensive firearm with an unproven track record. The expense alone involved with these “smart guns” is enough to keep low income and minority households from being able to purchase these items, and would turn gun ownership into a Constitutionally protected right that only the rich can afford.

Loretta Weinberg’s legislation is the modern day equivalent of a poll tax. Her bill would ensure that low income and minority families in her district would lose the ability to exercise one of their Constitutionally protected rights, and she doesn’t care. She claims that her bill “encourages smart guns,” but in fact it does the exact opposite. Her inability to step outside her fantasy world and understand the reality of the situation is the root cause of why “smart guns” aren’t commercially available, but she’d rather keep blaming the NRA than actually do something to improve the situation.

 

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67 Responses to The Truth About Why Smart Guns Aren’t On the Market

    • “Being on Left means never having to say you were wrong”

      “The Right fights evil, the Left fights carbon emissions”

      …….Dennis Prager

    • Almost everything a progressives stated purpose has the exact opposite effect. But in the end, their end purpose has been quite a success.

      A population of helpless, powerless and defenless subjects, begging for protection, while kneeling at the feet of thier god, called government.

  1. “and cut down on the resale of stolen guns; estimated to be 230,000 every year. What good is a gun no one but the owner can fire?”

    So astoundingly clueless. I’m just a “shade tree” gunsmith and I’m pretty sure that you could give me any “smart” gun design out there and in a half hour to an hour I could render it into a “dumb” gun that anyone can fire.

      • Jon, that is exactly what I was thinking. All the technology in the world doesn’t stop cars from getting stolen.
        I also am a “shade tree gun smith” I am a 40+ year professional mechanic though and nobody can tell me that if I was handed a smart gun, that I couldn’t take the thing apart, look at how it works and then say to myself, “oh hell, I can make this shoot, no problem” and do it. Smart gun means NOTHING to me.
        I’m not necessarily against the technology anymore than I am for realistic gun safety laws that would actually do something. But nobody has anything worth a hoot so far. Enforce the laws on the books is a great place to start, but they won’t do that and they want me to love a smart gun? Ain’t happening.

        • If it has a trigger you put your finger on and something that strikes the primer, no amount of steps in between will make it impossible to convert.

        • Remember though, it’s not “gun safety laws,” It’s gun control laws. Gun safety is the feel-good term gun control advocates have started utilizing because it sounds a lot better when talking to the public than “gun control.”

      • Exactly this. There is only a few ways it could work. Likely way is the same way magazine disconnect “safeties” work. It keeps the trigger bar disconnected. I remember when I first bought a buckmark and I thought that the magazine safety was a really dumb “feature”. I had no idea how it worked before I started, but had it functioning normally in less than half an hour. Hand me a new one now and I could have it “fixed” in less than 5 minutes.

        NB: I live in a free state that does require such silly things.

    • When the day arrives that you can actually buy a smart gun, I’m pretty sure 100% of first day sales will be by bloggers making YouTubes showing how easy it is to….
      1) Make it fail when it should work
      2) show how to bypass its safety feature

      Wouldn’t want to be on the sales team.

    • I’m not even a shade tree gun smith. I have however worked the last 8 years as electrician specializing in industrial controls. (automation) It’s not that hard for someone with any mechanical inclination , or basic electrical knowledge to make machines do things That they aren’t designed to do. give me a smart gun and I could make it dumb in no time.

  2. What good is a gun no one but the owner can fire?

    I’m guessing 60 Minutes has never experienced or witnessed any of the bajillion and one colossal tech failures that has occurred in the last thirty or so years?
    If there’s one thing people should never trust it’s tech. First because it’s programmed by other people and second because people let their love of gadgets bias their vision of the reality that these things being products of man suck and fail all the time.

    Smart guns will be like every other gadget. Prone to failure. Easily hacked. And placed atop a grand faultless pedestal.
    Look no further than a high ranking professional like Brennan marveling jaw agape that some kid logged into his f***ing Aol account.

    Somebody give these politicians a juice box because it’s just about nap time.

    • Ever been stuck at a red light at 3am? When they make one that can reliably tell I’m the only car for 20 miles in every direction, they can install them in Washington DC, and if 20 years pass without a single “reset to blinking” then they may make the biometric lock an OPTION for my gun.

    • I wonder how many gun guys who are also tech guys would be supportive of these things. What I can say, is that as a fairly technical person, I have zero desire to see electronic technology incorporated into the basic functionality of any gun I own. I spend all my time figuring out why stuff isn’t working, or how to work around stuff that kind of works, sometimes, but only under certain conditions, and with constant intervention.

      None of that for my guns, please. I want levers, ratchets, springs, slides, good old 19th century technology. Simple, straightforward, reliable.

      • You know what we should do? Get the patents to each and every currently available smart gun then based on the patent diagrams release information on how to bypass them. That will demonstrate the futility of them “preventing crime.”

  3. So does this law require Police, government agencies to use this technology of it becomes available? What will they do when this safe tech fails a cop dies because of it. That seems to B a huge liability on the part of the manufacture as well.

    • Pretty sure there is a LEO carve-out in the law. If they were indeed serious about “smart guns” there would not be one.

      • I was wondering about the comment “And they would help on-duty cops.” What did they mean by that and the context? How exactly— and did they bother to interview any LEOs and get their views on it. Curious, but not curious enough to watch the whole thing.

    • There is a sizable engineering prize being offered by an anti-gun group to anyone who can develop a smart gun that meets certain specs. The specs call for two versions, one for civilians, one for LEOs. The only difference is that if the technology fails, the civilian guns lock up and won’t fire, whereas the LEO guns unlock and will fire.

      • Except that in NJ, the LE community said “NO WAY” to the ‘Bergen County Hag’ (Loretta Weinberg), and she said “No problem, LE is exempt”

  4. The law was not designed to “encourage smart gun tech”. It was designed to use smart guns as an excuse to ban all the rest of the guns.

  5. Having the availability of smart guns, for those who wish to purchase them, is noe thing, but mandating that all handguns incorporate such tech in order to be sold has massive consequences–consequences which this political seems to approve of.
    First, in order for smart guns to have any effect on reducing the (very small) number of unintentional child deaths, all handguns would have to incorporate this technology. Which means a ban on possession of, or at the least a ban on resale of, all “dumb” guns. Otherwise millions of dumb guns remain in circulation. I think this woman would vote for a complete ban.
    Second, as noted, it will have little if any effect on suicides, either because the owner will be the one using the pistol (as I suppose is often the case) or because suicide rates appear stable over time, differing only in the manner in which the act is committed.
    Third, the only firearm available that (apparently) met the definitions of the statute (the NJ AG later concluded it did not) was a .22.
    Fourth, one has to assume that the RFID tech in the only gun manufactured (now a defunct corporation) could be hacked, and therefore there will be little if any effect on the use of stolen guns in crime.

  6. And if some shop started selling “dumb” guns, and the law went in to effect in Jersey, what are shops suppose to do with what may be up to multi million dollar inventory that doesn’t sell, after the so months?

  7. Baffled that anyone could support this. Cannot possibly help…many, many ways it could hurt. What on earth is the positive side? I do not see it.

  8. And let me figure this out. If hacker’s can hack the NSA they will figure out a way to bypass the really stupid “smart gun” technology and then commit crimes with those guns connecting them to the original owner.

  9. I think this “babe of the woods” Loretta Whine berg, ought to have her picture taken standing between the other two “Queens” of insanity, The “dynamic duo” Feinstein & Cinton!

  10. Loretta Weinberg’s legislation . . . would ensure that low income and minority families in her district would lose the ability to exercise one of their Constitutionally protected rights

    To Weinberg and the rest of the Democrats, that’s a feature not a bug. The Democrats cannot survive without a deprived and dependent minority population.

  11. “Smart guns” and “smart Democrats” are both a contradiction in terms. Let us be thankful that, so far, none are viable.

  12. I’m 100% with ya all the way to right about here:

    ““Smart guns” are definitely interesting technology that I would love to see mature”

    Why? What problem do they solve? The only thing they do is get between the trigger and the firing pin. What they actually do is take some control away from the individual…and that’s about it.

  13. Might as well open carry then because everyone would know what kind of pistol you had by the watch you were wearing. Also – a show of hands, please – who wears their watch on their strong hand? The stupid is very strong in NJ…

  14. Badly needed legislation is needed so that if a smart gun does not report back to the local po-po station; the SWAT team rolls in and shoots the family of the gun to which it is registered to.

  15. The state keeps trying to control us. Some of us don’t want smart guns and some of us do – but not a single one of us want to be force fed the actions of the state – even people that may want smart guns don’t want to force everyone else to use them.

    Ms. Weinberg just wants everyone to be forced to do what she wants. The law was to “spur” research??? That’s nonsense. The law was to mandate smart guns and control gun owners.

  16. The expense alone involved with these “smart guns” is enough to keep low income and minority households from being able to purchase these items, and would turn gun ownership into a Constitutionally protected right that only the rich can afford.

    That is exactly what they intended!

  17. They made a strategic mistake in tipping their hand and letting everyone know what they want to do before it was feasible to do so. Just like Agrippina was foolish enough to threaten Nero that she would support Britannicus once he attained adulthood- and look where that got Nero (spoiler alert: poisoned on the night he was celebrating his adulthood).

    We should be thankful to the impatient NJ windbag who gave away the playbook before it could go anywhere.

  18. Trying to force Smart guns on people is just as insane as trying to make a JDAM kit for 9mm. I’ll keep my solar flare, EMP, battery failure proof dumb pistol with those barbaric iron sights filled with a clipazine of freedom.
    But thanks for playing..

  19. Smart guns and background checks have a similar problem: failure to fire and failure to clear are the default measures. Your gun has to “authorize” you. If not, it’s a paperweight. Similarly, you must typically “clear” your background check. Failure to be authorized results in a failure to get your gun.

    Both systems are negative, and designed for selective denial if they are working properly and absolute denial in the event of a signal jam, low battery or a false positive. The world is just simply too unpredictable to have a lifesaving tool malfunction when you need it.

  20. Yet now, even if the NJ law was repealed there is no chance for smart gun technology to be developed. There isn’t enough trust that once the technology is on the market these legislatures won’t simply pass a law requiring then.

  21. I still do not understand why the Pro Gun folk still refer to the wristband controlled Armatix as a “smart gun”. The correct terminology is “slave gun”. The wrist band is the “master”, and the gun is the “slave”. The irony here is this is what Progressive ideology is built upon, an elite ruling class which oversees the rest of us common people. Now whether or not this was intended by Progressive Democrats I do not know. However, it certainly fits their character.

    Personally, I would never purchase or endorse a firearm with such a relationship even if 100% reliable. The principle of the master/slave relationship to me just screams anti-liberty.

  22. As a gun enthusiast and a gadget enthusiast, I enjoy seeing modern technology incorporated into guns. Sometimes makes for impressive innovation. For some people, a smart gun may even be an interesting purchase.

    Trying to make it a law is the real problem, though.

  23. Looks to me like Loretta Weinberg saw “Judge Dredd” too many times and came to believe that his “Lawgiver” pistol was “just what the gun controllers ordered.”

  24. “Legislation on the books in New Jersey is causing a roadblock to any commercial availability of “smart guns,” and their refusal to repeal that law is the real reason why these guns aren’t on the market.”

    Wrong, Nick, they are not refusing to repeal that NJ law.

    Loretta Weinberg, the author of that law has stated she is willing to repeal it.

    The catch is, if you are an FFL in New Jersey, your business will be *required* to stock at least 1 model of a ‘smart gun’ in your brick and mortar shop…

  25. A law in one state in the union is preventing smart gun technology from coming to market across the country? I dont buy it and I would not buy it (a smart gun that is).

  26. I think the situation sums up gun laws in general.
    Someone with more emotion than foresight wrote a law with the best of intentions but the worst consequences. Things were made worse simply because they didn’t think about how people would respond to that law.

  27. “and cut down on the resale of stolen guns; estimated to be 230,000 every year. What good is a gun no one but the owner can fire?”

    Wow. So they honestly think they can make tech that can’t be cracked with physical access in a workshop? Are they delusional, ignorant, or just stupid?

    Probably just ignorant. Which still isn’t flattering. :p

    Also let me fix that for you: “What good is a gun no one can fire?” And that is why this technology is such a flop.

  28. What is the story with the Mr. Mossberg that old hag reporter from 60min was interviewing? He legitimate gun guy or did the smart side of the family throw him out of the boat.

    Apparently the Mossberg name is supposed to pull some weight in legitimizing this BS.

  29. Loretta Weinberg came up with this bill to effectively ban handgun sales in NJ. This woman is the same one caught on open mic calling for gun confiscation. She is the leading anti-gunner in the NJ Legislature and all the obfuscation she practices won’t hide it.

  30. The law is clearly unconstitutional. The problem is, right now, no one really has standing to opposing it because it doesn’t seem to be directly affecting anyone.

    Expect, for the guy that had a failed quick starter for a smart gun. He actually might be able to claim that the law has affected him and have standing to sue.

  31. Granted the NJ law is stupid (Being simultaneously a law and a law not mentioned by God to Moses pretty much guarantees that……), but the reason “smart guns” aren’t around, is because the tech doesn’t work, and is fiendishly difficult to make work in a gun setting (Assuming verification off of some part of the hand/fingers, and your hand just took a shotgun blast from a perp that that renders it capable of touching off a trigger but otherwise hamburger). “3 tries and then enter a pin as a fall back” just doesn’t cut it for a vendor showing off his latest “keep officers safe” toy to police officers charged with getting themselves into situations that lend themselves to requiring quick access to a working gun. And police acceptance is the litmus test of whether “smart guns” are workable. Civilians (for now, at least), simply don’t get into “situations” sufficiently regularly for it to matter.

    Then there’s the supposed “stolen gun” protections. As long as primers remain “dumb”, and are triggered by mechanical impact, the “smart gun” blocks can almost definitionally be simply removed, as none of them are necessary for the intended function of the gun.

    In conclusion, even absent any legislation on the matter, it’s highly unlikely we’d have genuinely superior “smart guns” in quite a while. And by the time the tech is advanced enough, hopefully other tech (end-user/point-of-use manufacturing) will have rendered guns so plentiful and cheap that they are basically laying around everywhere. And if you need one, just grab it and go, whether your particular one works or not.

  32. The resale of stolen guns wouldn’t be impacted — they traffic in cheap firearms, not expensive multi-thousand dollar guns like these “smart guns,” and the supply of the millions of “dumb” guns in circulation won’t run out anytime soon.

    The basic operation of a semi-auto handgun is dead simple. I find it hard to imagine any sort of smart gun technology that could not be defeated with some basic mechanical know-how. Whatever mechanism is used for the disconnect, it ought to be child’s play to fix it in-place/out-of-place or replace it with a non-obstructive part. I can’t imagining smart gun technology would be any barrier to resale of stolen guns. The stolen gun market is, after all, primarily found among, you know, criminals.

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