This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 2, 2016:
On Friday President Obama posted on his Facebook page the progress being made in his attempt to develop “smart gun” technology that would make guns inoperable unless fired only by their owners. He claimed it was all about preventing accidental shootings and tracking down stolen guns. He asserted:
These common-sense steps are not going to prevent every tragedy, but what if they prevent even one? We should be doing everything we can to save lives and spare families the pain and unimaginable loss too many Americans have endured.
In early January Obama issued several executive orders as he continued his attack on Americans’ right to keep and bear arms, including directing the Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense agencies to come up with plans on how to use the new technologies, and giving them 90 days to report back to him. He ordered them to work on a report “outlining research and development designed to expedite real-world deployment” of that technology in order, he said, “to reduce the frequency of accidental discharge or unauthorized use of firearms.”
Those departments said they are still working on it and will have a final report back to him in October, just in time to give Hillary Clinton’s presidential run a final boost going into the November elections.
Clinton declared last week on MSNBC that, once elected, she will pick up the baton from Obama on her first day in office and continue that attack: “I really support everything President Obama said he would do through regulations on guns, but we’re going to start the very first day and tackle the gun lobby to try to reduce the outrageous number of people who are dying from gun violence in our country.”
Efforts to develop that technology have been ongoing since at least 2001, when New Jersey passed its Childproof Handgun Law that would take effect “three years after it is determined that personalized handguns are available for retail purposes.” In 2006 Armatix, a Germany manufacturer, developed its Armatix iP1 (shown), a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol containing 10 rounds with an effective firing range of 75 yards, and costing $1,800. The firearm was designed to team up with a smart watch its owner would wear containing an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip. Only the owner could fire the weapon provided that the gun was less than 10 inches away from the watch.
It received poor reviews, and New Jersey’s attorney general finally ruled in 2014 that “after careful consideration of the iP1’s design, we have determined that it does not satisfy the statutory definition because … the pistol may be fired by a person who is not an authorized or recognized user.”
Jon Stokes, writing for TechCrunch.com, agreed, saying, “The smart gun, in all of its incarnations, is a fantasy. No electronic technology is 100% reliable, and very few people will trust a gun that can be turned into a brick by a failure of some on-board circuitry.” Besides, said Stokes, any new software will have a “whole host of brand new security and identity problems … that must be discovered and patched, and then the patches will have problems.”
Others are concerned about how the new technology, once it is sufficiently developed, can be manipulated by government agencies, using the chips to track the location of owners, and disabling firearms according to their own purposes.
If handing off the move to “smart guns” to Clinton is one of the reasons for the October release date, it has run into another stumbling block: Clinton is losing traction with the general public over the issue of guns. A survey of 1,000 American voters conducted by Harper Polling last month asking if Clinton’s demand that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that protects the gun industry from being sued by crime victims be repealed, more than 70 percent said no. Those polled said the PLCAA “should be kept and we should punish the criminals who commit these acts, not the law-abiding manufacturers and retailers of lawful products which get misused.” Remarkably the majority of those polled agreed, including liberal Democrats residing in the northeast, along with those who voted for President Obama in the last election.
Rasmussen Reports just conducted a telephone survey of likely U.S. voters asking whom they would vote for if the national election were held today: It was a virtual tie, at 38 percent each for Trump and Clinton. This is the first national poll of Americans who say they are likely to vote in November that shows Trump tied with Clinton.
That change in point of view is also likely helped along by Trump’s support for the Second Amendment. From his website one finds this:
The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.
The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that belongs to all law-abiding Americans. The Constitution doesn’t create that right; it ensures that the government can’t take it away. Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. This is about self-defense, plain and simple.
If smart gun technology does eventually develop to the point where firearms can benefit from it, then Americans, under the Second Amendment, would be free to purchase such guns. Where the National Rifle Association disagrees with Obama and Clinton is government requirements “mandating” that such technology be incorporated in every firearm sold. Wrote Jennifer Baker, director of NRA-ILA Public Affairs: “President Obama’s obsession with gun control knows no boundaries. At a time when we are actively fighting terrorists at home and abroad, this administration would rather focus … on the president’s gun control agenda.”
If Rasmussen is right, that obsession, and Clinton’s determination to continue it, will be negated in November.