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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.

Felix Ortiz
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

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.

And what’s to stop a thief from simply sticking a firearm in a metal box or RF shield bag until he has time to pull the battery, or otherwise disable the tracker?

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?

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96 COMMENTS

  1. A gun ban without a gun ban…tell me again why I should send $ to Virginia??? They didn’t showup to vote…

    • These people have never heard of a Faraday bag? Every cop car across the nation has one in the trunk so cops can block remote access to your phone upon your arrest, to preserve potential evidence.

      Heck, eBay sells all sorts of Faraday bags of all sizes to the general public. Not too difficult to pop a cap in someone, disassemble the gun, place the GPS-enabled portion (frame?) into a FB to “ghost” it, and store it in your cousin’s/homie’s/friend’s/enemy’s garage safely off the radar.

      Somewhere, there’s a place called Stupid Town where people are having babies and multiplying…

      • 1) steal gun
        2) remove batteries from tracker. Go to step 5.
        3) if batteries aren’t removable, figure out there tracker is. (Hint: Google it if you’re clueless)
        4) Get 1/4″ drill bit and puncture tracker
        5) Enjoy your new, untraceable gun

        • I have a surprise for you guys! This is not about tracking stolen guns, it is about tracking guns which are NOT stolen. Even better than registration, which only tells you where all the guns are *supposed* to be, this would tell you just where they ARE!! Once you understand the goal is a registry, to be closely followed by confiscation, all these manipulations are really transparent.

  2. XATRAC systems only have a 5-day battery backup when they are not drawing power from the alternator and I’m sure gun technology isn’t any more advanced than that.

    • No worries, failure to keep the battery charged will be a misdemeanor and a fine for the first ‘offense’, and a felony with a mandatory state prison sentence for any further ‘offenses’.

      Beacause, like ‘Beto’ said, he “Fully expects Americans will follow the law…”

      • Which also means that your “secure gun storage facility” (gun safe e.g.) would require a way to keep all of your guns continually charged. Or at least those bought manufactured by a NY based smith after the effective ate of the law. Given time to crime stats, there may be some minor effect noted in a decade or so.

        • Like, what effect? If police recover your stolen gun, are you imagining they will return it? Cuz that’s just silly.

      • Why not put the GPS tracker on criminals. Why is it that law abiding citizens have to carry the burden of law breakers.

        New York is so backwards, they have a revolving door criminal system and they are actively trying to criminalize people with unconstitutional gun laws.

        Dear New York politicians, let me skip to the end of all of this. Propose a law that every one is a criminal. Jail everyone, and ban them from any myriad of things such as: guns, soda, red meat, lobster, candy, driving a car, riding on the subway after 8pm. These are just some suggestions, but I’m sure you’ll take your inspiration from North Korea, Venezuela or Iran.

  3. betting 5-10 seconds in a microwave sends the GPS bye-bye. As mentioned booster bags are easy enough to make. This says nothing of the gun needing something with a transmitter and if worse comes to worse you could probably just stick it in the booster bag for a few weeks until the battery ran out.

    Inept bills proposed by inept politicians.

    • “betting 5-10 seconds in a microwave sends the GPS bye-bye.”

      Intentional damage to the tracker will be considered the same as grinding off a serial number from a gun, with the same penalties…

    • “This idea ties cellular companies to the 2nd amendment.”

      I can see that happening, you know that ‘insurance’ they want gun owners to carry? Just add it to the monthly cellular bill. Letting your service lapse without turning in the gun will be a felony, of course.

      “What would your reaction be to the battery exploding?”

      You will have 48 hours to turn the gun in for repair (at your expense, of course!), or it’s a felony offense.

      Notice how all roads lead to a felony offense with the loss of gun rights? 🙂

  4. I do not think the technology is there yet to accomplish that. Even the lowly .22 rimfire in a heavy bench rest .22 target gun recoils far more than people think. Just stand back and watch a person shooting one some time off of sand bags. Vibration and movement is never good for electronics and then there is the power source problem. Registering every gun to its owner is far more practical. Its done in all other industrialized countries and works quite well on a variety of levels. Its long overdue here.

      • They gave up on registration because it was horrid expensive, and it had near zero value in solving crimes…

    • Registration is a meme. Explain how it would help police better perform their duties or prevent firearm misuse.

      Firearm found > registration checked > “it was stolen” / owner~perp suicided~was killed at scene / reg hits we have a name now we have to find whoever he is wherever he is with the regular police work we’re doing anyway

      Registration, along with much of what the laymen believe to be worthwhile forensic technique, is fiction for CSI shows. Not at all reality.

      MD shut theirs down after 15 years of burning money with no results. Canada killed their long gun reg after the same outcome. The only thing registration does is form a nice list for when governor blackface and his kind decide to start collecting.

      The truth is in your face and obvious. All you need to do is “zoom and enhance.”

      • To Shire of a Brain Man.
        ””””””””””””””””””The truth is in your face and obvious. All you need to do is “zoom and enhance.””””””””””””””

        Wrong Dear Demented one. The majority of guns used in big cities like Chicago proved that they were second hand guns at least 11 years old and unvetted. In your world of complete lunacy you revel in the demented right of anyone being allowed to own a gun, lunatics like yourself and of course criminals. Of course no one can reason with a lunatic as history and common sense are not part of their mental make up.

        • There are many guns even 100 years old that work just fine. Many of these guns do not have serial numbers or any registration. None of them will kill or even shoot on their own, they need a person to operate them. Acting like the inner city gang bangers only have old weapons that will soon be pieces of junk is not right, taking away good peoples’ guns only empowers the criminals.

        • “Not vetted” = stolen. Once a gun is stolen, it is no longer traceable by its serial number to the person who used it to commit a crime, only to the last owner who purchased said gun from an FFL.

        • Please explain how registration of gun owners will prevent criminals from using stolen guns — especially guns that were stolen 11 years ago and never recovered.

          Also, please explain how registration that identifies the original owner whose property was stolen 11 years ago, probably in another state, could solve a crime committed by some gangbanger in Chicago. (Unless you intend to punish the burglary victim, or the purpose of the registry is to return found items to their owners, you got bupkis.)

          Right now you sound like the South Park Underpants Gnomes:
          Step 1: Mandatory gun registration
          Step 2: ???
          Step 3: Utopia

      • “Registration is a meme. Explain how it would help police better perform their duties or prevent firearm misuse.”

        Canada discovered it was worthless in solving crimes, and was stupid expensive.

        So Canada did the logical thing and abandoned registration.

        They won’t abandon it it here, because ‘solving crime’ was just the excuse to pass that law…

    • In Her Majesty’s colony of New South Wales, corrupt police gave copies of the firearms registry database to criminals. Result was burglaries and home invasions to steal the guns, particularly handguns.

      The registry darabase was supposed to have restricted and recorded access but a deputy commissioner authorized a copy in Microsoft Access format with MS Office security to be placed on the police intranet. I can tell you from experience MS Office security can be broken with a free download and a few minutes.

      So what is a bigger danger to the community? People owning firearms or criminals knowing where all the firearms are? For prospective Special Commissar Vlad it is the former.

  5. GPS tracking in guns has been tried before, it didn’t work out so well for US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

    • That wasn’t in fact tried. It was discussed as a question they thought they’d put to engineers at Raytheon. But they never actually did so.

      • …because someone figured out that even assuming a successful implantation, the tracking device would only last until the battery ran out in a day or two.

  6. Why can’t we just target the root of the problem. Teach responsibility, family values, work ethic…

    I’m making too much sense.

    • Those things are racist.
      Just had to hear that today from a coworker because I suggested she add some vegetables into her diet to combat malaise.
      Taking care of your health and expecting other people to not be entirely worthless pieces of shit is a form of classism/racism/-phobia and entitlement.

      • Quit shaming/judging people bigot they cannot help but live the way they do and suggesting that they improve their lot in life is the worst of patriarchy fueled white supremicy.

        Something like that?

        • You must have been in the room. Lol.
          Best part is they want me to pay for their care when it all catches up to them.

        • It was nonsense like that that made me transfer out of personnel/hr. And up here we absolutely pay for it especially the bariatric surgery let alone the various ‘reasonable’ accommodations.

    • Because these people despise responsibility, family values, work ethic…They aren’t going to willingly undue everything they’ve been working toward which is dependency on the government.

    • Truthfully I don’t care much about stolen guns. It would stink to lose a firearm or all of them but that is what insurance/safes etc are for. Obviously gun owners aren’t asking for this feature to keep tabs on that old turkey shotgun.

      What I do care more about are dangerous criminals who steal or possess guns. Can we add GPS tracking device to all violent offenders, paid for when they post bond or as a fee when they get let off? Might be helpful to know where they are and have been. There are a lot less of them than guns, so it should be easier to catch and release/tag them.

  7. Its not about having a working version, its about requiring a working version for weapons sold in the US.

    Ask CA about life under the “microstamping” law.

    would also have the added benefit to the grabbers of keeping your explosive lithium batteries off of airplanes. Only ground or ship transport laws could be put into place.

  8. No way. Yes way. No way. Yes way. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K! Some stupid idiot thought this was a good idea?

  9. Dan, one of the best parts of TTAG use to be the comments section. The proliferation of long winded trolls has devalued your whole site significantly.

    • What gets me isn’t the long-winded trolls (they’re easy to spot and skip), but the endless flame wars in which people do nothing but insult each other. Back in the old days, that crap used to get replaced with FLAME DELETED until it stopped. Now it just goes on forever.

      I’ve seriously considered never coming back here because of that. Failed after only a couple/three days, but the longer it keeps up the bigger the benefit of cutting it out of my life will be.

      Only problem is, I don’t know what I’d replace TTAG with.

      • I just mental-filter the crapola like ‘vlad’ and let the rest roll off.

        I hope you stick around. You’re definitely on the list of those I always read…

        • Thanks, and likewise.

          Unless it involves that turd in the punchbowl whose handle ends with #2. 🙂 Best not to respond to that nincompoop. He’s even more useless than Vlad the Crisco Adventurer (and that’s saying something).

  10. Have they considered the fact that this would increase the price of firearms, and would basically be an extra tax on the poor? Of course they have. Poor people can’t be trusted with firearms. Have they considered that people would just remove the GPS chip or battery? Of course they have. This is about punishing firearm companies and consumers. Nothing else.

    • And not to mention how many old fashioned “dumb” guns are still out there. The new production with this feature will be infinitely minor proportion of the guns still available.

      • If they are going to infringe why not ex post facto and require all firearms to be chipped and treat the rest as contraband. Not advocating but it was an idea I heard years ago.

        • A guy I know (who hates guns) wrote a novel where Oregon was a utopia that did pretty much that — except that firearms were replaced by nonlethal gun-like things that could entangle or instantly tranquilize people and were carried by just about everyone, because unlike the garden-variety Democrat idiots, he realized that criminals will always exist, the state can’t protect everyone all the time, and self-defense is a human right.

          I absolutely disagreed with the “guns are bad things that cause only evil” premise of the story, but at least he thought it through in an interesting way.

  11. Can be defeated in seconds with aluminum foil. Or a screwdriver. Or submerge in water. Battery life would be tiny, soon after each such gun left the factory the battery would already be dead.

    • Not going to mention the smarter way to go about it by name but the foil depending on thickness would still disable the function.

    • Pure coincidence don’t be paranoid it’s not like installing a device on every firearm will become mandatory or you will be fined if signal is ever lost on anything registered to you.

  12. From the story ” “Installing a GPS tracking device in all guns manufactured will allow these guns to be tracked if stolen,” the legislation states ” . Equals the government knowing everything there is to know about your location and practice habits NO THANK YOU if you please !!

    • Can we use the GPS system to help recover our firearms if they get wrongfully red flagged and stolen by the government?

  13. These progressive lawmakers must compete with each other and stay awake at night to see who can come up with the most outlandish BS proposals to make into laws to mess with legal gun owners. I wonder what the prize is? President for Life?

  14. So, all the gun companies have to do is invest millions of dollars into R&D of a technology that can be rendered pointless by a criminal putting a stolen gun in a microwave for four seconds.

    I can almost respect the intentions of most uninformed voters, of simply wanting to choke down the number of stolen firearms. But this isn’t how you do it.

    Make purchases of safes and training tax-deductible. Then we’ll be getting somewhere.

  15. A better idea !!!

    A GPS device shoved up the @$$ of every Demo Authoritarian within the USA !
    This way We the People can track “Post Traumatic TRUMP Derangement Syndrome” on the fly! Know everywhere in the country the location if every DemoCRAP or its ilk…Making sure none ever get back into the halls of Government ever AGAIN!!!!

    • Do the Authoritarians with the (R) by their names get a pass? Or are you fine with how the Republicans have gutted the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th Amendments? (and even the 2nd if we are being honest about things)

      • Nope still pissed about the Patriot Act and it’s bipartisan support. Wonder when the original drafts were written as it seemed to be put together rather quickly.

  16. Tracking worked like a charm in “Operation Wide Receiver”.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

    (See: “Guns Across the Border: The Inside Story”. Make sure you’ve taken your antihypertensive meds first.)

  17. As a former resident of NYC, I departed that vale of tears in 1967, feel free to guess why if curious, I wonder as to how in blazes a PUTZ, putz being a derogatory Yiddish expression, like Mr.Ortiz ever managed to obtain public elective office.

  18. Sure, but first we have a 50 year pilot project where the GPS requirement only applies to weapons carried by government employees, including the liars known as “undercover”.

  19. Before adding the gps feature to firearms, I want to gps politicians and criminals, often this group overlaps. I suppose we could add to them Go Pros with satellite and cellular so we can what these groups are doing anytime we feel the need.

  20. Assuming the technology is small enough to be so installed, one presumes it requires a battery to generate a signal. At which time, I’m going to presume that those with ill intent will know how to remove the battery to prevent tracking…

    • … Or simply let the battery run down. GPS and whatever is used to transmit location information both take enough power that any installed battery’s charge will be dissipated in a day or two at most.

      • Or, since the law is pretty much fantasy anyway, they can require a battery that has a six-month charge life (give the cops time to recover it, ya know?). Such a battery would be so large and heavy that stealing the gun would be impractical, and concealing it would be impossible.

        Mission accomplished.

  21. Sure……hackers and the government have everything they need to steal your firearm. Yes, I used the word “steal” as that is what the government wants, they just call it confiscation.

  22. Won’t take long to defeat. Rental car agencies around here put 15+ trackers in their cars because of the fraud rentals that take the cars to a Mexican chop shop.

    They just gave up on adding more. Add one and within a week it’s discovered and the criminals figure out how to remove it. The cars just disappear. The criminals have become adept enough to check for any new ones to the point that both the rental agencies and the insurance companies just consider a certain percentage of fleet vehicles to be expected losses to such theft.

  23. I will be ashamed if he is from Puerto Rican ancestry. Don’t take me wrong I am Puerto Rican, I had live on the island my whole life. But recognize a dumb idea. The more you prohibit something, the harder to control becomes. Criminals get guns in many ways, violence does not require guns, just evil minds.

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