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No Smart Guns Because of a New Jersey Law

From Philly­Mag -

Gun-rights supporter Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have repealed it because it would’ve instituted a new gun law Christie called “offensive.”

Chris Christie yes­ter­day vetoed a bill that would have required New Jer­sey gun deal­ers to car­ry at least one “smart gun” for sale. Christie used a pock­et veto, which means the Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­ture can­not over­ride it.

Smart guns have been devel­oped by sev­er­al dif­fer­ent sources, but are not yet for sale in the U.S. A smart gun can only be fired by an autho­rized user (though some smart gun tech has a way for autho­rized users to over­ride that and allow any­one to fire it). The New Jer­sey Insti­tute of Technology’s smart gun pro­to­type uses “dynam­ic grip” tech­nol­o­gy to pre­vent any­one else from fir­ing it. NJIT’s smart-gun project was begun at the behest of the state, but was even­tu­al­ly killed.

The gun-lob­by says it’s agnos­tic to smart gun tech, but that’s a lie: The CEO of Colt’s Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pa­ny was dropped after back­lash to the company’s smart gun pro­to­type; the NRA famous­ly boy­cotted Smith & Wes­son after it agreed to devel­op smart gun tech­nol­o­gy as part of a deal with the Bill Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion. Some peo­ple go even fur­ther: A Mary­land gun deal­er, who planned to sell a new smart gun, said he received death threats. (Some death threats are emp­ty, but these pre­sum­ably came from peo­ple with guns.)

Smart gun crit­ics are cor­rect: As a soft­ware solu­tion, smart guns would pose a bevy of addi­tion­al ques­tions. But they’ve nev­er made it to mar­ket because of New Jer­sey: A state law, passed in 2002, cur­rent­ly requires gun deal­ers to only sell smart guns — three years after such a prod­uct has been intro­duced to the mar­ket. The NRA and oth­er gun-rights groups have suc­cess­ful­ly made sure no one is sell­ing smart guns to pre­vent the ban on reg­u­lar gun sales in New Jer­sey. Gun-rights activists fear, accu­rate­ly, that the intro­duc­tion of smart guns would lead to more leg­is­la­tion requir­ing all guns to have this “smart” tech­nol­o­gy.

The bill Christie vetoed, intro­duced by State Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Loret­ta Wein­berg, actu­al­ly repealed the cur­rent law requir­ing smart guns in New Jer­sey three years after they become avail­able. She told NJ.com she’d hoped the law’s repeal would lead to inno­va­tion in the smart gun mar­ket, and was dis­ap­point­ed in Christie’s veto. “Maybe this time the gov­er­nor will stay around New Jer­sey long enough to see what it is he’s pock­et veto­ing,” Wein­berg said.

Christie in his veto mes­sage chas­tized the “relent­less cam­paign by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­ture to make New Jer­sey as inhos­pitable as pos­si­ble to law­ful gun own­er­ship and sales.”

Most offen­sive­ly, this man­date rep­re­sents yet anoth­er con­straint on busi­ness­es with­in the State, and like­ly is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al under the Com­merce Clause,” Christie wrote. “It also would intro­duce unnec­es­sary bureau­cra­cy into the analy­sis of whether firearms equipped with this antic­i­pat­ed tech­nol­o­gy will rep­re­sent a reli­able option for indi­vid­u­als to pro­tect them­selves and their fam­i­lies in their homes. There is no telling what the next step would be down this path of gun restric­tions if this bill were enact­ed.”

In the veto of a relat­ed bill, Christie added he want­ed to relax New Jersey’s gun laws more. He wants to make it a “shall-issue” state — every adult who wants a gun and pass­es a back­ground check can get one. Cur­rent­ly, New Jersey’s gun per­mit reg­u­la­tions require appli­cants to demon­strate a “jus­ti­fi­able need” for a gun. Penn­syl­va­nia and 41 oth­er states are shall-issue states. The oth­er bill Christie vetoed would, in his words, attempt “to rein­force this oner­ous stan­dard [of jus­ti­fi­able need] of ques­tion­able con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty by ele­vat­ing it from reg­u­la­tion to statute.”

Christie’s con­di­tion­al veto also strikes the bill’s new man­date that forces gun deal­ers to offer smart guns for sale, there­by block­ing any attempt to ban tra­di­tion­al hand­guns,” the NRA’s Insti­tute for Leg­isla­tive Action wrote in a release. “NRA pre­vi­ous­ly tes­ti­fied that the bill forced mar­ket accep­tance of a tech­no­log­i­cal­ly unvi­able prod­uct which is harm­ful for self-defense and is noth­ing more than a tricky gun ban.”

Christie’s con­di­tion­al vetoes sends the laws back to the state­house, where they can be altered to meet his changes or be left to die. Smart guns remain in the research and devel­op­ment phase, but don’t expect to see them hit the mar­ket in New Jer­sey any­time soon.


Maj Toure Founder of Black Guns Matter
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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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