Former Vice President Joe Biden sure is a fiction fan. So much, in fact, he’s conjuring up spy theater as his presidential campaign gun control answer. I wish I was making this up, but the sad truth is the leader for the Democratic nomination for the presidency is betting on special effects and compelling storylines to set America’s Second Amendment policies.
His latest idea was gun manufacturers already have the capability to produce DNA-activated firearms, capable of only firing by those who have a biological match. His remarks on the subject were delivered to 180 donors from New York City’s Upper East Side this weekend.
“If I get elected president of the United States of America with your help, if that happens, guns, we have the capacity now in a James Bond-style to make sure no one can pull a trigger unless their DNA and fingerprint is on it,” Biden said.
Biden said the technology exists and it’s only because of those pesky gun manufacturers that it isn’t universal.
I’ve watched James Bond films. His quirky inventor Q was clever but we all knew his technology was the stuff of imagination. Biden isn’t quirky or funny. He’s just plain wrong.
Not Joe’s First Shot at Guns
It’s also not the first time “Shotgun” Joe’s been off target giving gun advice. There was, of course, his poor advice during a Facebook town hall event when he said no one needs to own an AR-15 modern sporting rifle. He told his audience his advice to his wife Jill was to “buy a shotgun” and blindly “fire two blasts.” Aside from grossly irresponsible, it’s potentially poor legal advice.
Biden went on to tell his preening donors DNA-activated firearms technology could already be part of the American gun culture if it weren’t for the gun manufacturers who he says wants to stop it from happening. Again, very imaginative, but still not true.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, doesn’t oppose the development of authorized-user technology. It does oppose mandates to adopt such technology because it is unproven and unreliable. Biden knows this too, or at least he should. He was named by President Barack Obama in 2012 to lead a task force to propose gun control solutions. In the end, Biden’s task force proposed 23 executive actions, including exploration of the “gun safety technologies.”
The Sequel Is Never As Good
So, if Biden headed the task force to initiate so-called “smart guns” for widespread use, what happened? President Obama promised the government would put its’ weight behind developing these guns. Turns out, the plot line on this one was pretty thin. The National Institutes of Justice studied the technology that exists to “unlock” a gun even after investing $12.6 million in gun safety technology research over 15 years. The result was “none were successful.”
Biden also must have missed the memo that the real reason so-called “smart guns” haven’t been flying off the shelves is because no one wants them. Just five percent of those participating in a recent survey said they would consider purchasing a gun with authorized-user technology. A full 70 percent said they had reliability concerns. They should. Firearms are not just for target shooting and hunting. They are also self-defense tools and in a life-or-death moment, they must work each and every time as intended. There is no room for a second attempt at a fingerprint match or battery failure.
The Government Accountability Office took a look at programs that work and cited programs like NSSF’s Project Childsafe as a model to be followed. To date, the firearms industry has distributed more than 38 million gun safety kits including locks, to more than 15, 000 law enforcement agencies across the country. This is just one of the real solutions to make our communities safer.
And Joe, that’s not fiction.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.