Newest "Smart Gun" Concept Probably
Most Sensible Yet, Still Poses Threat



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By Kurt Hofmann, October 29th, 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.

A real threat to private gun ownership is the possibility of government-mandated "smart gun" technology, to ostensibly make us "safer," by making it less likely that a gun will fire when the trigger is pulled. A law mandating this technology for all new handguns sold to private citizens (as opposed to law enforcement) is already on the books in New Jersey, although it won't go into effect until three years after the state's attorney general rules that such a gun is on the market--which some say has already happened, and are thus suing to start the countdown on the law.

At the federal level, "smart gun" mandates have been introduced in both the House and in the Senate, and these would even force handgun manufacturers to offer to retrofit their older, "dumb" handguns that they have already sold--and they would have to do it for free--an obvious attempt to drive them out of business. The Obama administration has supported such efforts for years.

So how much public support exists for such laws? According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a San Francisco-based group of rabidly anti-gun attorneys, rather a lot:

A 2001 survey found that 73.6% of Americans favor a requirement that all new models of handguns be personalized

It should be noted that this 13-year-old "survey", performed by the National Opinion Research Council (NORC), is open to some serious doubts, asserting also that 76.9% of the public favors mandatory registration of handguns, 69.8% support for mandated regular re-registration of handguns, 51.8% support for a "special needs" requirement for legal concealed carry, and 49.1% for banning handguns for everyone but law enforcement (remarkably, 11% supposedly support a "total ban on handguns"--apparently even for law enforcement).

These aren't the only highly questionable "survey" results reported by NORC. In 2004, they claimed that 62.9% of the public would support more restrictive gun laws, even if it were conclusively proven that such laws increase crime.

Still, as dubious as the claim of 73.6% support for mandatory "smart guns" is, advocates of such a law will trumpet that number, as will a cooperative mass media, and some gullible, weak-willed politicians will believe it, and think that supporting such a law is in their best political interests.

An interesting new concept in "smart guns" is now reaching technological maturity, according to All Outdoor. This device, made by Yardarm Technology, has a purpose significantly different from previous "smart guns," and the idea (for now, at least) is to apply it only to cops' duty weapons.

At this time, though, the latest from Yardarm Technology sounds pretty good. Their new Yardarm Sensor is made to be installed in police handguns and can read and send "critical event" information to trackers or dispatchers. This device can sense the location of the gun, whether it's holstered or not, and when and in what direction it's fired.

Let's face it, police are powerful, and some of them abuse that power. As such, they should be subject to full accountability. Putting video cameras on all officers is a great idea, and this isn't bad either. Just think, if the cop who left his gun in the potty and lost it had had this in his gun, it would have been easy to find and recover the piece.

In other words, this is not about more extensive government control over private citizens' guns and their use, but rather greater accountability for police use of deadly force. That is always a good thing.

Still, though, if cops can be forced to adopt this technology, laws mandating it for the rest of us are possible, too, and some will no doubt see that as a brilliant idea, with the government now given the capability of real time tracking of all privately owned guns so equipped. If that becomes law, how much longer would it be before Yardarm is strongly "encouraged" to revive their now scrapped program of implementing a remote "kill switch" for such guns?

The idea is a good one, but this time it would be necessary that the "Only Ones," truly are the "Only Ones" with such equipment.

A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.

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