BY RICHARD DOUGLAS
Whether you’re familiar with the administration’s plans or not, Joe Biden is one of the politicians pushing for smart guns. If you’re wondering what that means, why it rings a bell, or why we don’t have them already, you’ve come to the right place.
What Are Smart Guns?
While they sound futuristic and the technology has made an appearance in many science-fiction films, the concept of smart guns is current and possible. Basically, smart guns have a safety on at all times that will only unlock with the palm of the owner. This is due to sensors in the grip that would change the firearms industry, literally making you the safety. Before you panic that your customized red-dot pistol would be taken away, hear the argument out.
This Isn’t the First Time
The idea of smart guns was introduced as early as 2000 under the Clinton administration. They were able to convince Smith & Wesson and Colt to work on manufacturing these firearms, but the response by the NRA and gun communities was overwhelmingly negative. After a boycott of the 2 companies, production ceased and no gun manufacturer has gone near the idea since. In 2002, New Jersey passed a law that would have made the sale of any non-smart gun illegal once they hit the market, but again smart guns didn’t come to fruition. One of the biggest arguments against smart guns is the preservation of the Second Amendment, so let’s get into why we don’t have smart guns and will likely see the same reaction under this administration.
Why is There Such a Push-Back?
The leading argument against smart guns isn’t necessarily over the idea of safer guns, which is probably something a lot of people can agree on, but that the government would be in charge. That isn’t to say that the gun registry would be affected or firearms would lose their lethal capabilities, but the New Jersey law proved that the government would dictate gun sales. This was seen as a forerunner to gun control, if not an act of gun control in itself. To clarify, smart guns and the laws associated wouldn’t prevent anyone from stockpiling weapons and ammo. However, by making the sale of any other firearm illegal it was expected that only certain firearms would be made smart so that the guns that have been on the chopping block of legislation for years would no longer be legal. Obviously, the NRA led the charge against smart guns in 2000 and has continued to put up a fight for 2 decades.
Will We See Smart Guns Anytime Soon?
The Biden administration is returning to the proposal of smart guns, so the answer is entirely possible that they’ll be on the market sooner than later. As society becomes more aware of statistics that could be lowered or prevented by guns that would only fire in the hands of the owner, it’s not exactly farfetched. Crime rates with stolen handguns would go down and the rate of accidental suicides and murders, especially by children, would significantly decrease. That last one is especially proving to be a good source of debates. Of course, the idea that smart guns will infringe on the Second Amendment or set a precedent that the government could leverage into larger gun control is a great concern for gun activists and organizations. The NRA will push hard against any form of firearm that the government would be able to dictate, so there’s definitely room for argument on both sides. Finding a middle ground is going to be difficult and will be the reason we may or may not see smart guns for a long time.
It’s worth noting that the smart guns that were manufactured for testing only worked 90 percent of the time, but the implications are vast. A disarmed officer or invaded home-owner couldn’t be shot with their own weapon, but it also means that weapons couldn’t be shared in times of crisis. Basically, smart guns are a hot topic on the floor right now and the lava is only going to rise while political debates heat up.
Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.