By Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones, Nov. 3, 2015
So-called smart guns could become a $1 billion market—and make us safer.
One success of gun-rights activists over the past decade has been their campaign to block the advent of smart guns, firearms that use biometric and other sensor technologies to prevent them from being fired by anyone other than their owners. Even though smart guns are widely available overseas, no American gun retailers sell them—in no small part due to threats and harassment aimed at any who have tried. But now, pending legislation could shake up that status quo.
The chill on smart guns in the United States is to some degree the unintended consequence of a 2002 New Jersey law that would phase out the sale of conventional guns in that state; the law requires New Jersey gun dealers to sell only smart guns once they become available in retail stores anywhere else in the country. The law was intended to spur the market for the technologically innovative weapons, whose backers believe they could enhance safety and help reduce certain types of gun violence, such as attacks with stolen firearms and the all too common accidental shootings deaths of children. But the law badly backfired by becoming fodder for gun-rights activists, who argued that smart guns are part of a government plot to track and ultimately ban all guns.
New Jersey legislators are now aiming to get, well, smarter about the issue….
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