The State is Hindering Smart Gun Availability, Not the NRA

Today’s theme, as you can probably guess from the previous post, is putting the blame where it should be. Far too often the media attempts to blame anybody but the actual culprit for perceived wrongdoings. For example, The Verge recently ran an article accusing the National Rifle Association (NRA) of taking peoples’ smart guns. At least that’s the accusation found in the title, the article itself points out that the NRA doesn’t actually oppose smart gun technology:

Opponents counter that the technology adds an unnecessary failure point — you don’t want to fumble with a fingerprint unlock if someone is breaking into your home. They also fear the spread of laws like New Jersey’s, since similar proposals have been introduced in other states and in Congress. “The NRA does not oppose new technological developments in firearms,” the group writes on its website. “We are opposed to government mandates that require the use of expensive, unreliable features, such as grips that would read your fingerprints before the gun will fire.”

And the closing paragraph finally points to the real cause of opposition to smart guns:

Many gun owners don’t object to smart guns, as long as they’re still allowed to buy regular guns. “If someone wants to buy a smart gun, that is fine,” Raymond said in his Facebook address. “When the law legislates it, that is a sin.” After the apology, he and his shop were flooded with supportive emails, calls, and visits. Members of the Maryland Shooters forum even rallied for a barbecue at Engage Armament. “It is only a matter of time before such guns are available. Acting like babies about it doesn’t make things better,” one user wrote. “Assuming of course there is an actual market for such a bad idea.”

So we come again to the real culprit, the state. As the article points out New Jersey passed legislation that would mandate smart gun technology be integrated into all firearms sold in the state within three years of the technology becoming available to consumers. That being the case it’s pretty simple to figure out why so many people oppose this unproven technology.

Smart gun technology is another victim of the gun control advocates’ policy of making everything either mandatory of verboten. If a new technology can inhibit firearms they demand it become mandatory and if the technology can enhance firearms they demand it be prohibited. Access control policies (which is what gun control advocates really mean when they say smart guns) could inhibit the reliability of firearms as none of the proposed access control methods have been rigorously tested. I don’t want a gun that will sudden cease to function because some asshole decided to jam the radio frequency being used to authenticate with my firearm. And I certainly don’t want to cut up and deface my current firearms (some of which are very valuable to me) to jerry rig some half-assed access control system into them. But that’s what the politicians in New Jersey have demanded and, as a general rule, if the politicians in New Jersey concoct a gun policy then us gun owners know it’s not to be trusted (and in this case those politicians were kind enough to make it blatantly obvious why we shouldn’t trust them).

There’s almost certainly a market for firearms with reliable access control technology. But the state doesn’t want to allow that market and the market for guns sans access control technology to coexist. So the debate necessarily becomes one of “us” versus “them”. If the state wasn’t using its monopoly on force to favor one market over the others then we could have both and everybody could be happy (except the anti-gunners but they’re never happy so there’s no point in trying to please them).