Skip to comments.Smart Guns Are Dumb - And Eric Holder is not exactly brilliant either.
Posted on 04/10/2014 9:23:26 AM PDT by neverdem
Addressing the assembled congressmen in his inimitable style last Friday, Attorney General Holder told a House appropriations subcommittee that he wished to explore the opportunities that might arise were he to be given millions of dollars of taxpayers money and a copy of the movie Skyfall:
I think that one of the things that we learned when we were trying to get passed those common sense reforms last year, Vice President Biden and I had a meeting with a group of technology people and we talked about how guns can be made more safe.
By making them either through fingerprint identification, the gun talks to a bracelet or something that you might wear, how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon.
Its those kinds of things that I think we want to try to explore so that we can make sure that people have the ability to enjoy their Second Amendment rights, but at the same time decreasing the misuse of weapons that lead to the kinds of things that we see on a daily basis.
There is much that is remarkable about this rather ugly little disquisition, not least of which is Holders apparent inability to construct coherent, intelligible, and appropriate trains of thought. Eccentric syntax notwithstanding, the request is absolutely dripping with noblesse oblige, the clear implication being that the government remains prepared to indulge the exercise of basic liberties providing that it can find a way to ensure that the nations dilettantes dont hurt themselves in the process.
As is sadly typical of his approach, Holder approaches his subject as one might if one believed that the Second Amendment outlined a privilege and not an unassailable right that is, that the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect a hobby that can be enjoyed as one might enjoy gardening. Those who are dismayed at the administrations prevailing attitude toward privacy, religious liberty, and freedom of expression will presumably recognize the mien.
The Second Amendment existing primarily as a last-chance check against the state, there is no reason whatsoever for Holder to be concerning himself with this question in the first place. Governments in Europe, James Madison wrote in Federalist 46, are afraid to trust the people with arms. But not so America, in which country the hands of the powerful were virtuously handcuffed to the wall. As the Philadelphia Federal Gazette made explicit in 1789, when outlining the purpose of the proposed amendments, whereas civil-rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as military forces, which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.
James Burgh, an English Whig who empathized with the American project and whose writings were widely disseminated in the new country, put it more bluntly. Most attractive to Americans, Burgh wrote, the possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave, it being the ultimate means by which freedom was to be preserved. Which is to say that, beyond a limited role in interstate regulation, the nature of the firearms that the public owns is none of the governments damned business, and the suggestion that the citizenry might install GPS trackers and functionality disablers in their weapons is so self-evidently absurd as to inspire sardonic laughter and little else besides.
Holders faith in technology is touching. There currently exists a grand total of one smart gun an expensive German product that comes only in a weak caliber that is wholly unsuitable for self-defense. Indeed, as Guns.coms Max Slowik observes, the very idea of magically safe firearms remains something of a myth:
Smart guns introduce a layer of complexity that brings along with it several points of failure. They are battery-operated and generally default to safe. They are not water resistant. Biometric scanners require a clean scanner and a clean scan, and cannot be used with gloves. Radio-based scanners can be spoofed or jammed, and because theyre linked to a ring or bracelet, can be used by anyone with access to the key. Both systems are not instantaneous; it takes time for the controller to disengage the safety.
And they just dont work 100 percent of the time. Which is precisely why both New Jersey and Maryland have enacted legislation that exempts them from being forced to issue smart guns to their police officers. For a target or recreational shooter, this might be OK. But for anyone who may want to use their gun for self-defense, police or otherwise, the failure rate inherent to smart guns about one percent with the latest generation of smart safeties is unacceptable. Smart guns arent.
The attorney general, in other words, has his work cut out. Even if smart guns did live up their moniker, the common use standard outlined in the D.C. v. Heller decision would put paid to any legislation that might seek to back up the governments enthusiasm with legal force. Put crudely: Unless the public wants it, this isnt going anywhere, Eric. And, at the moment, at least, they do not.
Legal questions to one side, the presumption that a governments being able to make individuals safer means that a government should seek to make those citizens safer is itself inimical to the suppositions of the republic. Among the other kinds of things that we see on a daily basis are domestic violence (a woman is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds or so), child abuse (a report of maltreatment is made every ten seconds), and alcoholism (which kills 88,000 people per year). Presumably, the federal government could reduce the instances of all of these ills by mandating the installation of telescreens in all private homes, putting ankle bracelets on children, and more closely monitoring the supply of booze.
It will, course, do no such thing. Why not? Well, because such measures do not comport with the expectations of a free population. The United States not only has a culture that tends to privilege individual liberty above dependent security but a government that is categorically forbidden from relegating every question with which it is faced to a cost/benefit analysis. Firearms, which represent a considerably smaller problem and are protected by name in the nations founding document, serve as no exception to this rule.
In the interests of fairness, it should be observed that Eric Holder did not say whether he ultimately wished to explore legal remedies to the alleged problem of gun safety or whether he was merely interested in funding private research. Nevertheless, he was tapping into an idea that has caught the Lefts imagination of late and that has even burrowed its way into a bill. Last year, fresh from watching the latest James Bond movie, Massachusetts representative John Tierney not only proposed mandating that all firearms made in the United States feature personalization technology within two years, but also that any older weapon that was sold or transferred by a business or an individual be retrofitted by force of law. Per Tierneys coveted legislation, the considerable cost of modifying the nations existing firearms would be paid with funds taken from the Department of Justices Asset Forfeiture Fund, which is . . . controlled by Eric Holder.
Such proposals have proven extremely popular among reformers outside of Congress, too. John Rosenthal, CEO of the gun-control group Stop Handgun Violence, liked Tierneys legislation so much that he took to the pages of the Boston Globe to postulate that, with smart technology, we could reduce the majority of gun deaths in this country. Even for the assembled hysterics of the gun-control movement, this was an impressively mendacious claim. The anti-Second Amendment outfit called The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reports that 606 people were killed in 2010 as the direct result of mishaps. Being larger than zero, this number is clearly troubling. Nevertheless, it represents around 2 percent of the overall fatalities, paling in comparison to the 19,392 people who deliberately killed themselves and to the 11,078 people who were shot to death on purpose during the same timeframe.
Chasing after such pipe-dreams may well please a gun-control movement that has been disillusioned of late by a string of severe defeats. But it is unlikely to reduce the majority of anything much at all save, perhaps, for the Democratic Senate. Of all the lessons to have taken from Skyfall, a 143-minute meditation on duty, patriotism, and tradition, it seems that Eric Holder has picked the wrong one.
Charles C. W. Cooke is a staff writer at National Review.
I find H0lder to be contemptible.
So, presumably some sort of RFID signal or something similar will (possibly) be at the base of this technology. Just how difficult would it be for a government to produce a blocking frequency rendering such guns unusable?
Require his bodyguards and all fedleos to use these guns before the rest of us...
Really stupid idea. It could only be conceived of by someone who has never depended on a gun to keep themselves alive. First you are relying on 2 battery operated contraptions to communicate. (My wife can’t even depend on her bluetooth ear piece to reliably link with her cell phone.)
What is the shelf life of the battery in the gun?
What is the shelf life of the battery in the watch?
How long will the watch work?
Do you really want to place your life in the hands of two battery operated devices?
Pretty much anything presented as ‘smart (fill in the blank)’ is some lame, substandard, overhyped and underpowered piece of rubbish.
The article absolutely back up the posts I’ve been making about the absurd marriage of TECHNOLOGY with the hand gun.
The batteries are the LEAST of the problem. As a watchmaker I, for one, know what really happens to things worn of the wrist. Severe shocks, dropping, WATER disasters, are only the beginning. Does anyone think that everyone SLEEPS with their watch on? When that door is broken in, good luck finding your gun-watch on the dresser in the dark.
At 10AM the bracelet watch and gun circuit is operating as intended. At 10:45AM the battery runs down to its malfunction voltage and you are dead.
Best of luck if this goes through.
That is only one of a whole book of issues surrounding the preposterous suggestion made by deuchebag Holder.
Guns are mechanical devices that turn potential energy into kinetic energy (stored in the cartridge). Semi-automatic weapons use a portion of that kinetic energy in their function. There are no electronic parts necessary or desired in the use of a firearm. Anything added would ABSOLUTELY make the weapon less safe. Changing batteries, cleaning optics, etc. add complicated handling processes that are not necessary or desired. The most dangerous aspect of handling/shooting weapons is when there is a mechanical malfunction. If you have ever had a misfire or jamb, you know that uh-oh feeling (or at least you should). This ludicrous proposal would introduce frequent and complicated malfunctions to an otherwise simple machine.
Pretty much anything presented by our federal government is rubbish. I am trying to think of the last good idea our government had. It might be the moon landing and even that could be debated.
I can’t dispute you.
“Just how difficult would it be for a government to produce a blocking frequency rendering such guns unusable?”
That is the point, not safety. They already have the technology to block the signal.
Minor correction. The cartridge-stored energy is in chemical form.
Otherwise, 100% agreement from my perspective.
Or other bad guys.
Check out Global Digital Solution Inc.. http://www.gdsi.co/page11.html
they are a parasitic company with questionable marketing plans working hard to have this technology become law so they can make billions off you and I... Google GDSI, Remington to see how crappy they are..
What is more troubling is Scott Brown, the loser from Mass, now running as a Republican in NH, is an Advisor to this firm.. another gun hating RINO with ties to a firm that could make billions off your 2nd Amendment Rights being curtailed.
Brown can not win the NH primary. NH needs help. By the way Brown is the GOPe anointed candidate already!
Agree on chemical energy in the form of the powder. But is inactive chemical energy also potential energy?
Potential energy has to do with position. Chemical energy isn’t the same, if I recall my high school physics properly.
I might say that Dwight Eisenhower had the last good idea when he started construction of the interstate highway system but I’m not so sure just how great an idea that was.