New Jersey legislature hopes to 'fix' bill mandating smart guns

June 26, 2019

By

Matthew Hoy

Back in 2002 New Jersey passed a law that required, once the first so-called smart gun was offered for sale, that three years later only smart guns could be offered for sale in the state of New Jersey. Every rifle, handgun, shotgun, etc. would have to contain smart gun technology from that point onward. Needless to say that this did not inspire a bout of intensive R&D at firearms manufacturers who would see their traditional gun lines zero out while people are forced to buy the new smart guns.

A law that has passed the state legislature and awaits Gov. Phil Murphy's signature would remove the requirement that all new firearms be so-called smart guns after three years, and simply require gun shops to offer for sale at least one smart gun model that may eventually exist.

[State Majority Leader Lorreta] Weinberg said she doesn’t understand opposition to the proposal mandating retailers offer a personalized gun for sale, saying the delay in getting the law changed means even more children who have gotten access to a weapon have died.

Other than the fact that the government needs to require something to be for sale says something about the product in question's desirability, the idea that smart gun technology as it exists today would've prevented a single accidental death is laughable.

The only smart gun

There is currently only one smart gun on the market today, the Armatix iP1. It requires the user to be wearing a special wristwatch on the hand holding the firearm in order for the gun to function.

The problems with the iP1 are numerous. It only comes in .22LR, a caliber that just about no one believes is sufficient for self-defense. In most independent testing situations, the gun failed to properly fire an entire 10-round magazine without a hiccup on the technological authorization for it to fire. Then there's the inevitable issues of the gun becoming little more than a club if the batteries run down or if the watch is for some reason disabled.

And then there's this:

That's right, $15 dollars worth of magnets disable the "smart" part of the smart gun that costs nearly $2,000. A "dumb" gun in .22LR can be had for $300-400.

Will this spur smart gun manufacturing?

It's anyone's guess whether traditional firearms manufacturers will begin developing smart guns now that the danger of New Jersey's foolish mandate has been repealed.

What is a little more surprising is that there wasn't more money put into the development of smart guns by gun control groups like Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety. The possibility of turning a pretty populous state like New Jersey into a petri dish for smart gun technology seems like something that should've been on Bloomberg's radar. That is, it would've been if he were truly interested in gun safety and not gun bans.

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