Last month U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) announced introduction of “The Handgun Trigger Safety Act.”
For purpose of this column I will call it the Markey malarkey bill, or just malarkey for short.
(Full disclosure: I grew up in a home with firearms. I understand firearms. I own firearms. I go to a shooting range once in a while and fire them. I think it’s fun.)
A press release on the honorable Senator’s website touts the merits of the malarkey bill:
“Joined by clergy, local elected officials and gun control and community advocates, today Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) announced new efforts to combat gun violence in Massachusetts and throughout the country. Senator Markey announced introduction of the ‘The Handgun Trigger Safety Act’ to ensure that only authorized users can operate handguns. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) introduced the same legislation in House last year. ...
“No one wants children to get access to a handgun and hurt themselves or others,” said Senator Markey. “In the 21st century, we should use advances in technology to our own advantage and save lives, and the Handgun Trigger Safety Act will help ensure that only authorized users can operate handguns. This is the type of gun safety legislation that everyone – regardless of political party or affiliation – should be able to support.”
Aw, sounds so nice, doesn’t it? Well it’s totally bogus and count me as one on the outside of “everyone” who should be able to support it.
Here’s a synopsis from the Senator’s website.
The malarkey bill would:
• Authorize grants, to be administered through National Institute of Justice, for further development and improvement of personalized handgun technology.
• Direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to create a safety standard for personalized handguns that all newly manufactured handguns will have to meet.
• Require that all handguns manufactured in the United States two years after the date of enactment of the bill be “personalized handguns” and comply with the CPSC standard.
• Require that any entity, whether an individual or business, selling a handgun, retrofit their handgun with personalization technology three years after the date of enactment of the bill. The retrofitting shall be paid for out of the Asset Forfeiture Fund at the Department of Justice. ...
• Hold gun manufacturers liable if they produce guns that do not meet the CPSC safety standard two years after the passage of the bill.
So here’s the deal. It should be abundantly clear to any clear-thinking individual that this bill is simply a way to ruin the gun industry in America and disarm its citizenry.
First of all, smart gun technology has been around for a long time. It’s just:
A. Really expensive, and;
B. Unreliable.
Currently there is one smart gun available on the market.
It is made by a company called Armatix. It’s called the iP1. It’s a .22. The user has to wear a separate wrist watch for the gun to operate. If you’re not wearing the watch, the gun won’t work.
The watch/gun combo costs around $2,000.
Of course, only a very few, very dumb people would plunk down two grand for a crappy .22, regardless of the technology involved.
So the market isn’t driving the technology – at all.
Gun companies build guns that the public wants – many different models and calibers. Some for target shooting, some for hunting, some for concealed carry.
But, if the malarkey bill passes, the government will force gunmakers to “personalize” every gun they make. Gunmakers likely will not –  at least initially – be able to apply that technology to their many different models of guns.
Most likely would be a scenario where gunmakers would have to severely limit the scope of their product lines.
There would be far fewer models to choose from and the prices would skyrocket.
Gun sales would plummet.
Gun companies would go out of business.
And if they didn’t go out of business by the shear evisceration of the gun industry this bill portends, the impending lawsuits under the “hold gun manufacturers liable” provision of the malarkey bill would seal the deal.
Good plan, eh?
So now that we have all the gunmakers hung out to dry, what to do about all those gunshops and gun owners?
Hmmm.
Hey! Why not make it so that within three years, any existing gun being sold in America – whether by an individual or a business – first must be “retrofitted” with personalization technology.
Yeah right.
I can see somebody putting a thousand bucks’ worth of “personalization technology” into an Iver Johnson .22.
And, of course, a couple years after the dust settles it would be easy for the government to take the next step and pass a bill that says all handguns in existence – whether sold or not – must be upgraded.
Can’t afford the upgrade? Too bad for you. Your gun is now illegal.
Certain states already have passed smart gun legislation. The Washington Post recently reported that New Jersey, for example, passed a law mandating all handguns in the state be personalized within three years of a smart gun going on sale anywhere in the U.S.
A gun shop in California was prepared to sell the Armatix .22, but reportedly backed off after gun proponents expressed concern about the N.J. law.
Aside from all that is the question of reliability and practicality.
This technology has the high potential to turn your firearm into a paperweight at precisely the moment you most desperately need it to work.
And when the guy kicks in your bedroom door in the middle of the night, just tell him to wait a minute while you slip on your watch.
Even more ridiculous is the fact that no person with ill intent – read that criminal – will bother to get his gun “personalized.” It’s only law-abiding citizens who get handcuffed by this laws.
The good news?
This law has no chance of getting to the floor of the U.S. Senate, much less passing.
At least not in the near term.