Why the NRA Hates Smart Guns
Jon Stokes isn’t a ‘gun guy’ but he understand this issue. He skillfully uses the “Assault Weapons” Ban Bill and Hillary Clinton supported in 1994 to make his case in the middle of the article, but I’m going to excerpt the final 2 sections in order to give people the best picture of the piece:
The Inevitable Smart Gun Mandate
Given gun control advocates’ repeatedly demonstrated combination of unintentionally hilarious firearms ignorance and high-handed zeal for gun design by legislative fiat, it is totally rational for gun owners to anticipate that any viable-seeming smart gun technology will be eventually pushed as a required “safety feature” by anti-gun lawmakers at the state and federal levels.
I wouldn’t even expect that a particular bit of smart gun tech would have to be particularly reliable or even fully baked to catch the eye of a zealous California congressperson, who wouldn’t wait for the market to sort out the technology’s viability before insisting that it be included in all future firearms sold in the state. (Just look at what CA did with their microstamping law, mandating a technology that isn’t actually available in production guns.) And at the federal level, it’s a certainty that the same federal lawmakers who banned the vertical foregrip in 1994 and are currently trying to ban it again will attempt to pass an equally clueless smart gun mandate of some type, the moment they get the chance.
Gun buyers who value the freedom to walk into a gun store and walk out with a brand new non-smart-gun have therefore correctly concluded that the best way to preserve that freedom is to torpedo any smart gun tech before it gets out of the gate. As for gun makers, even if they wanted to introduce smart gun tech (they don’t), they wouldn’t touch it for fear of backlash from a gun community that sees the legislative writing on the wall.
No End In Sight
As long as we live in a world where a millimeter of barrel length separates a highly restricted “short-barreled rifle” from a regular rifle, and where a plastic gun handle is willfully misidentified as a dangerous aid for mass killers — in other words, where people who know zero about firearms nonetheless continue to design them through legislation — smart gun technology will be a bona fide existential threat to non-smart-guns, and people who don’t want to buy smart guns will do everything they can to strangle the technology in the cradle.
If gun control advocates were to swear off gun design for a generation, and instead focus on the “who” instead of on the “what”, there might be hope. I’m not holding my breath, though. To someone who knows so little about guns that they don’t think they have anything more to learn, the “what” probably looks like the easiest thing to legislate. But the deeper you dig into this issue, the more you realize that, as with any constantly evolving technology, the “what” is a moving target, and the “who” starts to look like the more viable avenue.
My guess is that a lot of gun people would be willing to compromise more than you’d realize on various aspects of the “who” question, in exchange for tossing most of the “what” restrictions out the window. But we’re a long way from that on both sides. And in the meantime, we’ll spin our collective wheels as one camp keeps trying to “patch” a technology that they fundamentally don’t understand, and the other side tries to block potentially threatening innovations.
Read the whole thing, and feel free to post any comments and replies. But do remember that Stokes isn’t talking about abandoning gun legislation as a concept and he isn’t one of those Open Carry nutters. Please address his argument, not other gun matters that he does not discuss.