Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - Bill of Rights

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Preservation and Proposition

Our mission is to document the pivotal Second Amendment events that occurred in Frontier Mercersburg, and its environs, and to heighten awareness of the importance of these events in the founding of our Nation.

We are dedicated to the preservation of the place where the Second Amendment was "born" and to the proposition that the Second Amendment (the "right to bear arms") is the keystone of our Liberty and the Republic.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Smart-gun laws / Not so smart, nor available

One of the many tactics that anti-gun opponents are "selling" is a technology that technologically matches guns to owners. . .it is a political diversion and at present a pipe-dream.

So-called smart guns are in the news again. These are guns equipped with technology that ensures they can be fired only by their owners.

You're forgiven if you've never heard of such guns. They don't exist yet.

And the last time they were in the news was back in 2002, when the Legislature passed and Gov. James E. McGreevey signed a law that required all handguns sold in New Jersey to be smart guns within three years after the technology became commercially available and was approved by the attorney general.

But The Record newspaper recently reported that a German company says it will soon be ready to sell a gun that will fire only within range of a sensor to be worn on the gun owner's wrist. It's still unlikely that New Jersey's law will kick in anytime soon. The technology is still controversial and unproven - and many gun manufacturers have stopped even trying to develop such weapons. Furthermore, it's unlikely that Gov. Chris Christie's attorney general will be particularly quick to approve the technology.

But it's a good time to revisit the issue - particularly since smart-gun proponents are using the Record story to once again push the issue.

We are - as our critics know well - supporters of tough gun-control laws. We are disappointed that Christie did not sign some of the sensible gun measures the Legislature sent him in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings.

But in retrospect, New Jersey's smart-gun law - the only one of its kind in the nation - doesn't seem so smart.

All guns sold in New Jersey would be smart guns? That doesn't seem fair or sensible. Some people would want them; some wouldn't.

The idea is that such weapons would eliminate accidental shootings, particularly by children, which is a noble goal. But even we can see times when such a weapon could be problematic and even dangerous if the gun failed to fire when needed because of the technology.

If manufacturers are confident enough in their technology, by all means offer smart guns for sale. But requiring that these be the only kind of handguns available for sale in New Jersey doesn't seem wise. There would likely be a constitutional challenge if the law were ever applied. And most important, this is the kind of requirement that will further inflame gun proponents and make more-sensible gun laws even more difficult to enact.

Emotions already run dangerously high on the issue of guns in America. And the sharper the emotions are in a debate, the harder it is for reason to prevail. The backlash this 2002 New Jersey law would create if it were ever put into effect would only damage the movement for better gun-control laws.

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