What Does Obama's Plan For Smart Guns Look Like?

posted on May 9, 2016

President Barack Obama once again announced that he wants the government to fund research into so-called “smart guns,” firearms that theoretically will only go bang when an “authorized user” pulls the trigger. The president presented this as a push for “gun safety” as he simultaneously cast gun owners as obstructionists to new gun safety.

The media ate it up.

This fiction from the extreme left casts Obama as the hero of gun safety and common sense. Meanwhile, this political spin has forced consumers (the 100 million-plus Americans who buy guns) to resist the government mandates that the Obama administration clearly would love to have.

Gun owners realize that even if “smart gun” technology was a proven and flawless technology that was now available—it’s not any of those things—a mandate would still be a ban on every handgun we now buy and carry. Clearly, gun owner apathy for this technology is simply a reaction to rhetoric from the Obama administration and others who clearly want to make “smart-gun” technology the only type of firearm American citizens can buy.

The truth doesn’t take a savvy investigative journalist to uncover.

If the mainstream media would just Google this issue, they’d notice that the NRA has published a statement saying the Association is not opposed to “smart guns,” but is only opposed to government mandates and controls. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has taken the same position.

If anti-gun politicians would simply take their threats of mandates off the table and let the consumers decide if they want this technology, then some gun makers might gamble R&D dollars on it (they have before) and most gun owners would likely shrug and only see “smart guns” as the curiosity they really are. In other words, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Gun politics being what they are, thought, that’s not likely to happen. What we can do is use the truth to break up Obama’s spin by telling everyone who will listen what’s really impeding the development of “smart guns”—the threat of mandates.Gun owners realize that even if “smart gun” technology was a proven and flawless technology that was now available a mandate would still be a ban on every handgun we now buy and carry.

Obama isn’t saying this now, but is instead using “gun-safety” rhetoric. On April 29, he said: “First, we’ve jumpstarted the development of smart gun technology. Today, many gun injuries and deaths are the result of legal guns that were stolen, misused or discharged accidentally. As long as we’ve got the technology to prevent a criminal from stealing and using your smartphone, then we should be able to prevent the wrong person from pulling a trigger on a gun. So, my administration released a plan today to expedite the development of smart gun technology, including by identifying the requirements that smart guns would have to meet in order for law enforcement to purchase and use them effectively—and keep themselves and the public safer in the process.”

Even though he is not talking about mandates now, Obama is feeding the false narrative that gun owners are stopping “smart gun” development, so by golly he’ll use taxpayer money to fund the research and get law-enforcement agencies to buy them.

If he means it, perhaps the president will next insist that his Secret Service agents carry “smart guns.”

Okay, that’s not going to happen, as it’s an unproven technology. (Even the fingerprint scanner on my iPhone won’t work when my hands are sweaty.) Also, why would anyone who carries a gun for self-defense—or to protect the president—want to put the uncertainty of a battery into the workings of a nearly flawless mechanical tool designed to protect them?

Still, the narrative that gun owners don’t want this “gun-safety” technology to exist persists, even though all gun-rights advocates oppose are mandates and other controls on our rights, framed as “new safety technology” or otherwise.

This issue is so clearly about gun-control politics, and not technology, that after Obama spoke, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety said, “We applaud President Obama for taking this important first step.”

Given this clear political spin, why would any rational person believe that this latest push to use taxpayer money to fund “smart gun” research is anything but an attempt to ban and control Second Amendment rights?


U.S. Capitol building
U.S. Capitol building

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