Revisting the Gun Control Debate in NJ

Gun owners, what do you think? Gun control advocates, how about you? Promoted by Rosi

Shortly after the school shootings in Newtown, a lengthy debate over gun control took place across the country. The debate lasted for awhile (though not long enough), and ultimately ended with nothing getting done.

I bring the gun control debate back up because several heated arguments took place in the comments section of a few posts on this site. Some NJ gun owners made intelligent arguments against background checks. Even though I disagree with those owners, I respect their opinions and accept that there will always be a disagreement on fundamental values between them and I. Yesterday, however, I stumbled across this article in the New Republic:

The article presents advances in technology that could essentially end the gun control debate with a victory for both sides. The technology it speaks of are smart guns and microstamping. Smart guns would prevent anyone but the gun’s owner from being able to fire the weapon. It would do so by requiring the owner to wear a watch or ring that would activate the gun’s firing ability. Additionally, smart guns would be programmed with micro chips that would prevent the gun from firing in certain large population areas; such as malls, schools, or movie theaters. Microstamping on the other hand, is a mechanism that would stamp each bullet as it’s fired with the gun’s serial number as it is fired. Microstamping would make it dramatically easier for police to track shooters and might even keep innocent people out of jail.

The NRA, gun makers, and shooting associations, however, have refused to implement either of these measures; and are, in fact, hostile to these ideas. This is beyond disconcerting, as either of these technologies have the ability to end the gun control debate once and for all. Background checks would no longer be essential if a gun is programmed not to open fire in specific areas; and the debate over the legality of high caliber bullets would no longer be necessary. The NRA’s desire to fight these measures has me baffled. What is their rationale? It’s a signal that they are either 1) determined to protect their members at all costs; even criminals. Or 2) Are actively promoting human on human violence.

Reading of the NRA’s decision to fight leads me to believe that we need to reopen the gun control debate in earnest, both in NJ and across the country. If companies like the NRA are willing to fight logical answers to needless violence, than we need to go further than just suggesting background checks.

I’m curious to hear the opinions of both gun owners and anti-gun members of this site. Comments are encouraged.

Comments (2)

  1. Chubby

    If smart guns are such a great idea, why does law enforcement get a pass?  I mean, after all, it’s about officer safety isn’t it?  When a policeman’s gun gets his gun stolen, it can’t be used against him/her.  Just common sense.  Said officer would be able to go home to the family safely.

  2. jmachado

    It is a little difficult to figure out whether you are actually asking a legitimate question here. You posit that the NRA may or may not (I suspect most likely) be promoting human on human violence.  I think this is problematic when you’re trying to engage with people outside your own personal echo chamber because it is absurd.  The NRA is not a “company”.  It is a lobbying organization tasked by its members (individual members and not the “gun lobby” boogeyman) to prevent the government from tightening regulation against them.  They are very good at that.

    As a gun owner and NRA member….who is also a Liberal…I don’t think that the claim you make that Smart Guns and Microstamping invalidates the need for background checks is valid.  I, personally, believe that background checks are fine when done through a licensed dealer.  If the powers that be could create an equally non-obstrusive mechanism for private sale background checks, I’d be fine with that too.  So far?  They aren’t.  (BTW, in NJ we have to pass BG checks for private sales of handguns in the form of P2P…so the “universal Backgrouns check” thing in NJ is moot and just political theater)

    On to smart guns.  Let me explain this honestly.  Firearms are simple machines that are engineered to tight tolerances.  They are very reliable.  Many are affordable.  Some are not.  When I use a firearm, whether it be for target shooting, hunting, or God forbid to defend someone’s life…I want that machine to function…when I decide.  I do not wish to submit my firearm to fallible tech that is subject to failure and tampering.  RFID signals can be jammed.  By your own admission, you want to “shut off” guns in certain areas.  if the police or the State can “shut off” my guns, then someone else can too.  As a Liberal, I marvel at my compatriots who shake their fists at the State when it infringes on civil liberties but are all to willing to relinquish their right to self defense to the State.  Ponderous.

    Ok, Microstamping.  Microstamping isn’t bad or evil, in my opinion.  In my opinion, it is silly.  Firstly, by mandating that all manufacturers must MS, the State is potentially undercutting smaller manufacturers who cannot afford to machine the firing pins.  This is bad….not bad for people who think guns are evil and shouldn’t be owned.  But, for the rest of us…it’s bad.  Second, firing pins are inexpensive parts that occasionally require replacement.  By making the firing pin a serialized item connected to the lower action of the firearm, you are creating a potential bureaucratic S***storm every time someone needs to swap out their firing pin.  Third, if I were a criminal in possession of a firearm instead of me (a person who has never been arrested or accused of any criminal action above a traffic violation), the SECOND thing I would do to my firearm after defacing the serial number off of it…is filing down the end of the firing pin.  FOURTH, because primers (the part that gets stamped) are removable from the cartridge, it would be exceedingly easy for a person with premeditation to contaminate a crime scene with casings from another gun. Individuals could be wrongfully accused.  Guilty people could be acquitted because of the reasonable doubt that crime scene retrieval of microstamped casings could provide.

    These are just my opinions as a gun owner and a lifelong Democrat.  My personal conviction is that we need to decouple gun rights from the political left.  It is bad policy and detracts us from what I consider to be the real causation of violent crime.



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