by Jeff Sovern
Smart guns--guns that block anyone other than their owner from shooting them-- would save lives. Children would not be able to grab them and shoot themselves by accident. People couldn't turn them on their owners. Smart gun technology exists, just as iPhones can be personalized using fingerprints and passcodes. But gun manufacturers won't sell them because of a New Jersey law that prohibits the sale of any gun in New Jersey that is not "personalized"(the word used in the statute) after such guns are available at retailers. See here (describing threats to kill smart gun retailer). Gun rights advocates don't want to limit the ability to obtain regular guns in New Jersey. So no one in the US sells or makes them. But existing gun manufacturers aren't the only people who could make them. The statute defines personalized as meaning that:
at least one manufacturer has delivered at least one production model of a personalized handgun to a registered or licensed wholesale or retail dealer in New Jersey or any other state. As used in this subsection, the term "production model" shall mean a handgun which is the product of a regular manufacturing process that produces multiple copies of the same handgun model, and shall not include a prototype or other unique specimen that is offered for sale.
If gun manufacturers won't make and gun dealers won't sell such guns because of pressure from gun rights advocates, gun control advocates could make a factory to produce smart guns, and as long as the factory used "a regular manufacturing process that produces multiple copies of the same handgun model," it would qualify under the statute. I'm not sure that the retailer would even have to sell the gun, or want to receive it, as long as the manufacturer "delivered" it. Or maybe the manufacturer could also set up its own retailer. Sure it would cost a lot of money to set up such a factory, but surely gun control advocates like Michael Bloomberg could afford it. And it would even help people outside New Jersey, because responsible gun owners might prefer to buy such weapons to what is now on the market, if only to protect their children. Maybe New Jersey would simply change its law, but even so, smart guns would be on the market. And wouldn't that be better than how things are now? Gun owners can already get guns; wouldn't we be better off if no one else could fire them?