April 28, 2000

Dead Batteries Make Dead People

The truth about restricted-use firearms and trigger locks

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By JPFO Member Ted. R, (Section "II J" Updated July 29, 2000)
Page re-formatted July 2013.

Here is your chance to help unmask the biggest "gun control" scam to date. Everyone must jump out of their foxholes and use this information now. Here is why you must act today:

The latest "gun control" lobby trick is to call for mandatory "safety devices" on firearms. That lobby wants everyone to agree that federal and state "gun safety" laws are "sensible gun control."

This ploy convinces many Americans because they believe that the government can legislate safety, and that technology can solve any problem. For example, the front page news feature in USA Today (April 27, 2000) beats the drum for "safety devices" on firearms.

A long-time JPFO supporter reported his observations and concerns about the latest calls for trigger locks and so-called "smart gun" technology, and we added some more ideas. For the reasons explained below, every American should question this safety-technology rhetoric. Everyone should understand that this "safety technology" produces "restricted-use firearms." A firearm with an electronic lock should be called by its more accurate name: "electronically-restricted firearm."

Use these facts and the correct terminology (below) in letters to newspapers, media figures and government officials. We must all act now or the Second Amendment will truly become an historical relic. If they win, the gun prohibitionists will be able to say "technology has rendered the Second Amendment obsolete."

I. Built-in key or number coded trigger locks, such as Safe-T-Lock, can cause real trouble.

A. Current types don't fit on small guns such as derringers and pocket pistols. Will pocket-carry sidearms be banned because they lack a "safety feature"?
B. Under stress, users can forget their codes or key the code incorrectly. Even now many people forget to disengage the safeties when under stress.
C. Built-in locks make any gun more expensive.
D. A spouse, friend, child, police officer, or Good Samaritan who could otherwise stop a criminal attack cannot use an injured, unconscious or absent person's firearm without the unlocking code. Who will be responsible for the "stupid gun" that cost a person's life?

II. "Smart gun" technology results in Electronically-restricted guns (aka "stupid guns").

A. Electronic-restriction technology is supposed to personalize firearms to specific users, so that unauthorized users cannot shoot them. Some say that technology will be developed and commercially available in three years. No guarantees, of course. Will "low-tech" guns be demonized and then banned in the meantime?
B. Electronic-restriction technology won't be properly field tested in just three years. The new guns would have to be carried and used for years by police (and perhaps military) users to test the long-term, real-world effects of extreme heat, extreme cold, cleaning solvents and oils, moisture, perspiration, vibration, electromagnetic interference and heavy use.
C. What happens when the internal battery wears down? Will the gun stay locked and inoperable, or will it automatically unlock as the battery voltage drops?

1. If the gun unlocks on low battery voltage, then any criminal can use a stolen gun by taking out its battery.
2. If the gun stays locked on low battery voltage, then the gun can become instantly useless at a critical time. Serious users would have to carry spare batteries, and be prepared to install them almost instantly.

D. Will the electronic-restriction locking devices be designed so that they require specialized batteries? If so,

1. Like spray paint cans, glue and strike-anywhere matches, will such batteries have to be segregated and stored in a "safe place" out of the view of buyers?
2. Will buyers have to produce identification and sign for the batteries -- thus registering all gun owners by a bureaucratic trick?
3. Will batteries be relatively expensive because of their special design and comparatively low quantities of production -- thus making firearms ownership and use even more expensive and inconvenient (which deters more people from having them)?
4. Will there be a different battery for every kind of electronic restriction device?

(a) A wide variety of such specialized batteries would make them harder to stock in stores and thus would make less-popular batteries hard to find. (Ever tried to find an electronic watch battery? There are dozens, and many are available only in certain stores.)
(b) If the batteries are unique to certain makes and models of firearms, then users will have to stock their own batteries, and they won't be interchangeable.
(c) Batteries stored in guns or at home have a limited shelf-life and are constantly draining, whether they are being used or not.
(d) Will government agencies mandate certain types of batteries -- and disallow others -- for "safety" or "environmental" reasons?

E. Future technology changes seem inevitable with a new product like the electronic-restriction device.

1. Will users have to register their electronically-restricted firearms with the manufacturers, so that the users will receive product improvement or recall notices?
2. If there are changes or improvements to electronic-restriction devices, will users be required to return their firearms for the upgrade, and certify to authorities (e.g. BATF, FBI or state agency) that the upgrade was installed? (Registration equivalent.)
3. Will first-generation electronically-restricted firearms become obsolete, unserviceable, or illegal when newer technology comes along? And the batteries become unavailable?

F. What happens if the electronic-restriction chip simply breaks down and fails? In an emergency the user will be seen jerking and clicking and smacking the firearm, and doubtless shouting "stupid gun!"... all to the amusement of the violent criminal.
G. Electronic-restriction technology will increase the cost of guns, and that will put even the least expensive gun out of the reach of poorer individuals who live in dangerous areas and need protection the most. (Not to mention the recurring cost of replacement batteries and the difficulty in locating unique batteries.)
H. Will police scanning devices be able to detect the electronically-restricted firearms because of the embedded chips? If so, then:

1. Police can tell who is carrying and who is not -- and harass innocent people just for peacefully carrying a firearm.
2. Guns can be easily located during gun-seizure operations.
3. Serious criminals will be able to scan their potential victims and choose the unarmed ones.
4. Will government agents be to electronically disable citizens' guns, too?

I. When electronically-restricted firearms become are available, the likely next step will be to make older guns illegal because they are "unsafe."

1. With newer electronically-restricted firearms being called "smart guns," older weapons will be called "criminal guns" or something equally negative. The argument will be that "only criminals would use a gun without a safety device." The new class of criminals -- innocent firearms owners.
2. Will concealed carry laws be modified to permit concealed carry of only bulky, electronically-restricted firearms?
3. Owners of older non-restricted guns would likely face legal liability if their guns are misused by anyone, e.g. criminal prosecutions or civil lawsuits for negligence in failing to properly secure the "criminal guns."

J. Electronic-restriction chips, like nearly all electronic devices, can suffer interference or be destroyed by strong electromagnetic fields (radio, radar, microwave, etc.)

1. If a "personalized" electronic-restriction gun lock is designed to deactivate the gun when the chip is tampered with or destroyed, then future terrorists or criminals could electronically disarm all civilian victims and police officers in a given area by electromagnetic pulse emitter devices.
2. Electromagnetic pulse generators have already been created to stop cars by electronically destroying their internal computers. [See U.S. Patent No.s 5,293,527 & 5,907,290] The same technology could be used by police or criminals to render civilian firearms useless.

K. An unauthorized helper, such as a spouse, family member, friend, or police officer, will not be able to use an electronically-restricted firearm for defense of self or of the firearm's owner. Who will be liable for that "stupid gun" that couldn't be used for lawful defense?
L. Electronic-restriction devices and other mandatory trigger locks will usually make the firearm physically larger, and therefore heavier, larger and bulkier -- and thus more difficult to carry concealed. This fact uses the "safety technology" excuse to defeat the citizens' right to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense.

III. Factual Reality vs. "Smart guns," trigger locks and ballistic "fingerprints".

A. Criminals will doubtless find ways to bypass trigger locks and electronic-restriction chip technology -- or they will simply manufacture regular guns without those user impediments. Only law-abiding and peaceful citizens will be forced to use these un-safety devices.
B. Artificially raising the cost of firearms by laws (as with liquor during Prohibition) will create an underground market in stolen, smuggled and homemade firearms at equal or lower prices but without the various locking devices. Criminals will have as many guns as they want.
C. Electronic-restriction technology and trigger locks can have no effect on a person who uses his or her own gun to commit a crime or to commit suicide. Even the famous gun prohibitionist Josh Sugarman admitted that fact in his New York Times op-ed on November 8, 1999.
D. Ballistic "fingerprints" (distinctive markings made by a gun's barrel on a bullet fired through that barrel) can be easily changed. The barrel and firing pin can be changed, thus modifying the "fingerprint." Criminals won't bring modified guns to the government to be ballistically fingerprinted.
E. Ballistic "fingerprints" have little use when the gun is stolen. Such "fingerprints" won't prevent crime. Who cares who the lawful owner is, when a criminal is misusing the stolen firearm? Answer: the government will prosecute the owner for allowing the gun to be stolen.

IV. Registering Gun Owners By Regulating Sales of Batteries.

A. Electronically-restricted firearms will likely require a specialized battery. With the wide variety of such firearms, there will likely be a wide variety of battery styles. Thus the battery type will identify the specific class, make or model of firearm.
B. Gun-battery buyers will likely have to prove their age using government identification cards (e.g. drivers license or military). This will parallel the proof of age requirements for sales of spray paint and glue in many localities.
C. As batteries become the key to firearms operation, we can expect that only licensed federal firearms dealers will be permitted to sell the batteries. These dealers will have to maintain sales records for reporting to the government.
D. As violent crime fails to diminish in spite of restricted-use gun technology, laws will be modified to require more information from gun battery buyers. Battery buyers will have to prove name and residence. Eventually, background checks and waiting periods will be imposed -- for batteries.
E. National gun battery buyer registration will do the job of registering gun owners. If the different guns take different batteries, then the national battery registration would give federal authorities all lawful "smart gun" owners' identities including the class of firearms they own.
F. Other likely restrictions will include limits on gun battery purchases (on battery per month or per year). Gun owners will not be permitted to stockpile batteries, so that they cannot sell spare batteries to criminals who have stolen guns. (If your gun battery dies, you're out of luck till you can get to the store.)
G. Equally likely would be a requirement that gun battery buyers not only produce full personal identification for federal record keeping, but also present the electronically-restricted gun so that the dealer can log the gun's serial number. (This will "prevent" criminals from buying batteries for illegal or stolen guns.) Full firearms registration and owner licensing could be established using battery registration systems.
H. Imagine the bureaucrat or judge who will say: "The Second Amendment doesn't deal with batteries."

V. The "Safety Inspection" of Battery-Operated Guns.

A. Because electronically-restricted (battery-operated) firearms will be sold as "safe" guns, we can expect the governments to insist on inspections to be sure the "safety" equipment is working. This would be akin to automobile emissions testing and fire marshall inspections of fire alarms and fire extinguishers in businesses.
B. Owners would be expected to bring their electronically-restricted firearms to inspection stations. As with automobiles, the owners will be issued inspection certificates. To assure owner compliance, the governments will keep a data base of owners identities with firearm make, model, and serial number. The governments will use this data to mail out safety inspection reminders, and to penalize owners who fail to have their battery-operated guns inspected on time.
C. A "safety inspection" program for "smart guns" will result in state and eventually national gun and owner registration. (Will any judge strike down such a law on Second Amendment grounds? No way: such laws promote "safety" and are "reasonable.")

VI. Police Have No Obligation to Protect "Stupid Gun" Owners.

A. In nearly every American state, the police have no legal duty to individual citizens to protect them from violent crime. That rule won't change just because new laws mandate restricted-use firearms.
B. Victims whose restricted-use sidearms don't function in an emergency will have no recourse against the government that mandated restricted-use technology.


Now that you have this information, you can use it immediately to work against the "gun safety device" mythology that will destroy your right to keep and bear arms. Use it in discussions, debates, club newsletters, calls to talk shows, letters to media. Transmit this information everywhere, and post it on bulletin boards.


To help you get started with a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, here is a sample:

Suggested Title: Victims risk lives with mandated "gun safety"

(229 words) (cut length to under 150 words by deleting the last two paragraphs)

Dear Editor:

Government officials and the victim disarmament lobby have been pressing hard for laws to mandate trigger locks and "smart gun" technology. Most people don't realize that these "safety features" can actually put victims' lives at risk. Consider these facts:

Trigger locks can make a sidearm useless to anyone but the owner. That means if the owner is injured, unconscious or absent, nobody - -- not even a family member, friend or peace officer -- can use the sidearm to stop a criminal attack. Who will be responsible for the "stupid gun" that cost somebody's life?

So-called "smart guns" are actually electronically-restricted firearms. The electronic restriction slows down the victim, but doesn't affect the attacking criminal. What happens if the electronic-restriction chip fails, or the battery dies? In an emergency, the user will be jerking and clicking and smacking the sidearm ... while the violent criminal just laughs.

Criminals doubtless will find ways to defeat or bypass trigger locks and electronic-restriction technology, or they will simply obtain guns without those user restrictions. Only law-abiding peaceful citizens will be forced to use defensive sidearms that might not work when they need them.

Ironically, while government officials are rushing to mandate these "safety" features which make self-defense harder, they don't tell citizens this truth: the police have no legal obligation to protect unarmed citizens from criminal attack. Thugs and rapists win ... again.

Copyright 2000 JPFO, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce this alert, with full attribution.


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