New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has a plan, of sorts, to fix the problem of stolen firearms.
Both sides holster up over new gun bill
The new year means New York lawmakers will be wrangling with new gun control measures at a statehouse that has already embraced some of the nation’s strictest regulations on firearms.
One of the latest bills to emerge calls for a requirement that gun manufacturers install Global Positioning System technology on firearms before they are sold.
That measure, proposed by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, notes approximately 500,000 guns are reported stolen each year, with many ending up being used by criminals.
“Installing a GPS tracking device in all guns manufactured will allow these guns to be tracked if stolen,” the legislation states.
What would you expect from the same legislative Einstein who introduced legislation mandating a liability insurance requirement for firearm owners, even as the state was shutting down the NRA’s liability insurance program.
Assembly Bill A08931 is short and sweet. The core of it is this:
Section 899-aaaa. Global positioning system technology.
§ 899-aaaa. Global positioning system technology. Any person who holds a valid gunsmith license pursuant to section 400.00 of the penal law, and who manufactures any firearm, shall ensure that each manufactured firearm shall include global positioning system technology to allow such firearm to be tracked if stolen.
I’ve previously addressed why stuffing working electronics into firearms is hard, but this is a particularly stupid idea.
Please note that the bill specifies GPS in every firearm. But the communications system that would allow the unit to report its location isn’t mentioned. As written, once a firearm is recovered, the police could check GPS waypoints to “track” it. But unlike the vehicular Lo-Jack system, the unit can’t report its location in real time.
Ortiz could amend his bill to correct that. I’ll leave it to him to figure out if he’ll go cellular, requiring firearm owners to maintain a separate cell phone account for each gun; or if he’ll prefer a WiFi system utilizing open networks. Some cities have begun installing such “free” infrastructure for their citizens, but for the most part, open networks are few and far between. That lack makes the GPS pointless.
I shouldn’t have implied Ortiz ins’t particularly bright, because from a people-controlling, police-statist point of view, this is actually fairly clever.
§ 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.
Boom. That shuts down all firearm manufacturing in the state 208 NY Type 07 FFLs. Think companies like Remington, Kimber and other smaller makers. If any licensed manufacturer decides to try complying, research and development will take years.
Lo-Jack for cars has an MSRP of $695. A unit small and rugged enough for firearms will cost more. What small scale AR-15 builder will want to absorb the cost of developing and installing electronics into a firearm now costing twice or more as much as one built out-of-state?
And who would buy the over-priced tracking-enabled gun? Should this be expanded to all firearms sold in the state à la California’s microstamping requirement? Costs would render the Second Amendment applicable only to the wealthy who could afford these tracking devices.
Ortiz has jumped on the shadow ban bandwagon: he isn’t banning guns outright, just making guns practically impossible to own because nothing can comply with insane mandates he wants to enact.
Trump didn’t outright ban bump-fire stocks, he just called them “machine guns.” Oops, bump stocks were manufactured after 1986, so you can’t have them.
Of course, assuming manufacturers somehow manage to produce affordable, compliant firearms (good luck), that then brings up the matter of abuse. A firearm that can be tracked when stolen can be tracked at any other time as well.
Imagine the return of stop and frisk based on the knowledge (no longer a vague suspicion) that a person walking down the street is armed. Ortiz’s bill would create a complete police surveillance state. I imagine that’s Ortiz’s secondary intent, with tracking stolen weapons as only a tertiary motivation for the bill.
To counter that, and to see just how badly Ortiz wants this, I propose a bill amendment to address potential abuse. Make tracking any firearm which has not been reported stolen by the owner, or for which a search warrant based on probable cause to believe a felony has already been committed with that specific firearm has not been issued, a felony.
Let’s take that a little further. Like any other computer system, this can be subject to third party hacking. If any unauthorized person accesses the system and attempts to track a firearm, the enabling police-state cheerleader who dreamed this up — Ortiz himself — would also be guilty of a felony.
An addendum requiring state legislators to fund the necessary R&D out of their own personal pockets would be nice, too. If saves just one life, after all, it’s would be worth it.
Right, Assemblyman Ortiz?