Does the Gun Lobby Hate Smart Guns? If so, Why?
Russ Chastain 05.01.16
AllOutdoor editor Jon Stokes recently published an article on another site (Why the NRA hates smart guns) and I thought our readers might be interested in the topic. Jon’s angle on the subject is, in my opinion, worth considering.
It is established that The Gun Lobby doesn’t like smart guns, although certain organizations’ official positions may state otherwise. But why do we, as gun people, dislike the notion of fancy-shmancy high-tech shootin’ irons?
The simple answer to this question is widely known, but also widely misunderstood.
Most who follow this issue know that the NRA hates smart guns because they’re afraid that once a seemingly viable smart gun technology exists, anti-gun legislators at the state and federal levels will attempt to mandate it in all future guns by comparing it to seat belts, air bags, and other product safety features.
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But maybe you’re thinking, ‘That’s fine, then. We just won’t mandate it. There will be no mandate. There, you happy now? Can we just get on with the smart gun innovation and let this play out in the market?’
Here’s the thing, though: the NRA is actually right in this case. If smart guns get any traction, then non-smart-guns will come under legislative assault.
Yep, true. And as usual, the folks making the laws will be members of Congress–and Congress is composed mainly of ill-informed people who know little or nothing about guns.
It’s bad that the general public–including the majority of casual gun owners–are so confused about guns that they don’t know how much they don’t know. But what’s worse, at least if you’re a gun person, is that lawmakers and activists who know less than nothing about guns often find themselves in a position to confidently enshrine their technological ignorance into law.
The ignorance of lawmakers is manifest and requires considerable effort to ignore. Do you think Congress knew how oppressive the Patriot Act would be? And come on — we all know that nobody read the ACA before it was jammed down the collective throat of the American people.
Any little bit of steam behind a ban on non-smart guns would snowball, and before we knew it we would be legislated into yet another corner where an EMP or hack could disable our firearms, leaving us defenseless.
For this reason, smart guns really shouldn’t exist. Period.
Gun buyers who value the freedom to walk into a gun store and walk out with a brand new non-smart-gun have therefore correctly concluded that the best way to preserve that freedom is to torpedo any smart gun tech before it gets out of the gate. As for gun makers, even if they wanted to introduce smart gun tech (they don’t), they wouldn’t touch it for fear of backlash from a gun community that sees the legislative writing on the wall.
Stokes says there’s no end in sight, either:
As long as we live in a world where a millimeter of barrel length separates a highly restricted ‘short-barreled rifle’ from a regular rifle and where a plastic gun handle is willfully misidentified as a dangerous aid for mass killers–in other words, where people who know zero about firearms nonetheless continue to design them through legislation–smart gun technology will be a bona fide existential threat to non-smart-guns, and people who don’t want to buy smart guns will do everything they can to strangle the technology in the cradle.
For my part, I agree: Smart guns are bad news for everyone. Every. One. But the notion of smart guns is attractive to those without basic gun knowledge–and most importantly, common sense–and will therefore most likely continue to be pushed for with the intention of thrusting it, with all its limitations and flaws, upon American citizens.
What do you think?