New Jersey Bill Fires Up Debate Over Non-Viable Guns Yet Again

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Smart guns are one of those ideas that anti-gunners keep prattling on about, proving how little they know about the topic of firearms.

You see, smart guns aren’t a viable technology. There are a lot of reasons for that, of course. Part of it is that guns are mechanical devices with over a century or more worth of refinement in their design. Smart guns seek to introduce electronics into the process, and that adds complications into that process. Complications are also called “failure points.”

Further, the costs associated with building a smart gun are astronomical.

What you end up with is a gun that is expensive and unreliable. Further, depending on the mechanisms at work, it may not perform for another member of the family who might need it in an emergency.

Regardless, the state of New Jersey has a love affair with smart guns, even though the technology isn’t even close to viable. Now, they’re seemingly renewing the debate.

The long and heated debate over smart guns — handguns that can only be fired by their designated owners — is about to reignite in New Jersey.

The state Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday will consider a half-dozen gun control bills, including one requiring Garden State retailers offer a personalized handgun for sale.

It’s likely to once again put New Jersey in the crosshairs of gun activists who have fought the measure since the state first tried to require them back in 2002.

Now, bear in mind that “personalized handguns” doesn’t refer to a custom color or pattern on your Glock. It doesn’t refer to a customized slide on your M&P, either.

No, they’re talking about so-called smart guns, using the term because they’re supposedly “personalized” so only the owner can fire them.

However, there’s an upside to the discussion. It seems that Democrats have gotten a clue.

Democrats say that law — which requires that only personalized handguns be offered for sale in New Jersey three years after they’re on the market in the U.S. — actually stifled the development and delayed the sale of so-called childproof handguns.

They want to repeal the law and replace it with one that would require every retailer offer at least one personalized handgun model for sale. This, they hope, will shake loose the research and development they say was stymied by gun rights advocates who didn’t want to start New Jersey’s three-year clock.

Well, sort of.

It wasn’t just gun rights advocates that didn’t want to start that clock, but the gun companies themselves. They all knew that whoever introduced a viable smart gun would corner the market, but they’d also kill the market for everyone else in the state. Gun companies aren’t that cutthroat.

Of course, there is the concern that gun buyers would boycott a company that did that to New Jersey gun owners. It’s not like New Jersey is a particularly large state. While fairly populated for its size, it’s still not that big of a state. It’s definitely not large enough to sustain a gun company all on its own.

So yeah, New Jersey’s law may well have stifled the development of smart gun technology.

That the new bill seeks to make it so that every dealer has to offer one smart gun while being free to have other offerings is far better, sure, but it still ignores some basic facts. For one, no one wants smart guns except for people who aren’t going to buy them. What I mean is, this is something anti-gunners want to push for, but the people who buy firearms don’t seem interested.

The only people who want this aren’t going to buy it, thus negating any real drive for gun companies to develop such technology.

Not that those pushing for this can comprehend that fact.

Unfortunately for them, free-market economics isn’t like “Field of Dreams.” If you build it, there’s no guarantee that they will come.