New Jersey has had a law on the books that Democrat Loretta Weinberg (who introduced it) claims promotes the development of “smart gun” technology. The law mandates that once a smart gun is sold anywhere in the U.S., all guns in New Jersey must be smart guns. But as we’ve seen since it’s been on the books, when a smart gun was finally marketed, that very law was the biggest reason why not a single one was ever sold. Weinberg seems to have finally come to terms with the fact that her feel-good legislation actually did more harm than good and has finally introduced a new bill to repeal the existing law and replace it with a new and slightly improved version. In other news Hell has frozen over, and porcine aircraft are buzzing the capitol in Trenton . . .
The proposed legislation can be found in its entirety here, but in general it’s a small step in the right direction. If enacted, it would flip the system on its head — after a single “smart gun” becomes available for sale, all gun stores in New Jersey will be required to offer at least one smart gun model for sale.
There’s no question it’s an improvement. New Jerseyans without the means to purchase a multi-thousand dollar “smart gun” (minorities, low income households, and other reliable Democrat voting blocs) will be able to continue to enjoy their Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. The law still has problems, though.
Most obvious to me is the possibility that a “smart gun” might make it to market designed solely to kill the gun business in New Jersey. If, for instance, Armatix comes back to sell their wonder guns priced at, say, $500,000, then every single gun dealer in New Jersey will need to either hand Armatix $500,000 or close up shop. Not only would that be an opportunity for some devious person to get filthy rich selling marginally functional “smart guns” at insane prices, but it would also close a lot of mom and pop gun stores in the state.
If Democrats thought that Texas’ mandate for upgrading abortion clinics (which requires expensive upgrades to continue to provide abortion services) was despicable for denying minorities and low income women access to abortions, then the new New Jersey law has the potential to be an exponentially worse infringement on (an emanation and penumbra-free) Constitutionally protected right for those same populations. Not that they really care.
Less obvious is the back door opportunity. We’ve already seen what people like Loretta Weinberg want: complete and total firearms confiscation. Her intermediate goal is still to see that if guns must be sold in The Garden State, the only ones available will be “smart guns.” There’s no guarantee that once they finally come to market that the legislature won’t do an about face and reenact the original dumpster fire of a law the state enjoys now.
Give Loretta Weinberg some points for recognizing the original mistake and doing something about it. Only a few weeks ago she was still proclaiming on national television that the Evil NRAⓇ was responsible for the failure to launch of the first commercial “smart gun.”
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.
She has apparently accepted what everyone else has been able to see for years – that her law is what has prevented the adoption of smart gun technology in the United States, not the Evil NRAⓇ. It’s a step in the right direction both in terms of getting that idiotic law off the books and getting some Democrats to realize that gun owners aren’t categorically opposed to smart guns because they’re stubborn redneck yokels. In this case gun owners (including members of the NRA) were right all along. Weinberg’s law did far more harm than good. Hopefully New Jersey Dems will take that into account in the future when proposing new gun laws. But don’t hold your breath.