New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is already one of the most unpopular governors in the country, and his latest comments about “smart guns” aren’t going to help his approval rating. While appearing on a local “Ask The Governor” TV program, Murphy was asked if he’d like to see a day when only “smart guns” are available for sale in the state.
It’s “too early to tell” if New Jersey will limit firearms sales in the state to only include so-called smart guns, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.
But if it was up to him, smart guns would be the only type of guns people here would be able to purchase.
“Yes. I hope it does get to that,” Murphy said during his monthly “Ask the Governor” program hosted by News 12 New Jersey.
Murphy recently signed a new version of New Jersey’s smart gun law, first passed in 2002, which mandates that once a smart gun becomes commercially available, gun stores in the state must stock the firearm and make it available for sale. Under the original law, after a so-called smart gun became available for sale, firearms retailers in the state had a three year grace period before they were mandated to only stock smart guns in their store. Since no smart guns have come on the market in the 17-years since the law first took effect, anti-gun politicians in the state have blamed the “gun lobby” for the failure of their legislation. Even New Jersey’s media have bought into that lie.
The law Murphy signed will require gun retailers to put a smart gun on their shelves for customers once the technology is there to mass produce them.
It replaced a 2002 state law that its sponsors conceded helped keep smart guns off the market since it mandated that dealers in the Garden State could sell only smart guns once they became marketable anywhere in the country.
That prevented would-be manufacturers of them from producing smart guns because of backlash from opponents.
There’s no nefarious reason why so-called “smart guns” haven’t come to market. The reason is much simpler: no one’s figured out a feasible way to make a gun “smart” without also reducing its effectiveness.
There are two basic technologies that are being pursued in the development of smart guns. The first uses fingerprints to “unlock” the firearm so only designated users can fire the gun, while the other option uses RFID technology and a wearable device such as a ring or a watch that pairs with the firearm and allows it to be used. Both have significant drawbacks, particularly when it comes to using a smart gun for self defense.
Fingerprint readers, for example, don’t work well if your fingers are damp. If you’re in a situation where you need to defend yourself with a firearm, it’s likely your hands might be a little sweaty. At least once or twice a week I’m forced to manually unlock my smartphone because it won’t read my fingerprint (this time of year it’s usually after I’ve been working outside in the summer heat). It’s an annoyance, but if the same technology were in place on my guns, it could mean the difference between life and death.
RFID/wearables pose a different set of challenges. Using only magnets, at least one individual has been able to bypass the tech and fire a locked smart gun. Requiring the owner to wear a ring or a watch that pairs with the gun also limits the ability to shoot off-hand, which could turn your gun into a useless hunk of metal in some-self defense situations.
Smart guns, at least as the technology works today, are more complicated and prone to failure than ordinary firearms. Those aren’t exactly selling points when trying to convince someone to buy one, which is why anti-gun politicians like Phil Murphy want to take “dumb guns” off the market and require the purchase of smart guns. Murphy says he’s a “believer” in smart guns, but based on his statements, it seems he’s really a believer in limiting self-defense options for New Jersey residents.