In what is the latest wrinkle in gun control controversies expected to emerge among three Democrats running for attorney general, former state Sen. Warren E. Tolman has called for use of fingerprint technology on all newly manufactured guns sold in the state, as a way of preventing use of stolen guns by criminals.
Mr. Tolman is facing Maura Healey, a former state prosecutor and special assistant district attorney in Middlesex County with extensive experience with gun crime; and state Rep. Harold P. Naughton, D-Clinton, who, as chairman of the House Public Safety Committee, is drafting a broad new gun control measure expected to be unveiled next month.
Fingerprint-locked guns, also called smart guns, are already available. Mr. Tolman argued that the attorney general could issue regulations allowed under existing law to require new guns sold in the state to have the safety devices, without requiring any action by the Legislature or changing state law.
“Just as your fingerprint can be used to unlock your iPhone, fingerprint technology can be used to ensure only the rightful owner is able to fire a gun,” Mr. Tolman said in a statement proposing a change in law to mandate the locks. “This would help take the guns out of the hands of criminals who steal them. It would protect us from the tragedy of children and teens who accidentally or by choice are killed by guns left unsecured in the home.”
Moreover, Mr. Tolman said, the mechanisms would also save lives of police. He said 17 percent of police who die on duty are killed by criminals who get control of the officer’s gun.
I’m having a very hard time determining whether politician Warren E. Tolman or journalist John J. Monahan is more delusional in this article.
Let’s make sure that we understand everything that attorney general candidate Tolman is calling for:
- Tolman states that fingerprint lock technology should be mandated on all new guns sold in the state.
- Tolman and journalist Monahan both state that “smart guns” with fingerprint lock technology already exist, presumably in some commercially viable form.
- Tolman says that the attorney general can force a radical change to mandate adoption of this technology on all new firearms sold in the state as a regulation, without passing additional laws.
- Tolman asserts that the lives of law enforcement officers will be saved when they use guns using the technology since, “17 percent of police who die on duty are killed by criminals who get control of the officer’s gun. “
Let’s try to unpack the insanity.
Politician Tolman and journalist Monahan both seem quite convinced that firearms with fingerprint lock technology exist in some sort of commercially viable quantity.
To the best I can determine, there are precisely zero fingerprint-locked firearms being manufactured for commercial sale and carried by distributors within the United States, though a number of technological start-ups have been promising that such technology is “coming soon” for more than 30 years. For those of you who like to quibble, no, the few scattered and erratic prototypes do not count as commercially viable.
Tolman is attempting to limit citizens to guns that don’t exist.
Tolman also suggests that such a change can be demanded within the boundaries of existing law, without the legislature passing any new laws. As there are no commercially-viable firearms with fingerprint-lock technology, this would mean that he would be declaring an immediate and unilateral prohibition on the purchase of firearms within the state of Massachusetts.
Tolman is claiming the ability to effectively and unilaterally nullify the Second Amendment.
Lastly, Tolman assumes that law enforcement will enthusiastically embrace this technology, despite the fact that no such guns currently exist, and the fact that previous attempts to manufacture smart guns have been universally rejected by law enforcement agencies because of the unreliability of such firearms.
Tolman seems to think that that he is going to unilaterally force Massachusetts law enforcement officers to adopt guns they don’t want.
At this juncture, it appears that Warren E. Tolman’s grasp of reality is so tenuous that I would advise his family members to have him committed to a medical facility until they can run tests and determine whether his delusions of adequacy are due to a psychological disorder, or some sort of substance abuse. He is obviously not well.
Bearing Arms has emailed journalist Monahan asking where we might procure one of the finger-print locked guns that he says “are already available,” and sent a second email to Tolman’s campaign asking him to explain his beliefs. You can read the Tolman letter on the next page. We’ll be sure to let you know if anyone in the Tolman campaign replies.