If Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has his way, all new handguns in America will be sold with so-called “smart gun” technology that would drastically increase the cost of new firearms while also possibly making them far less reliable.
If passed, Markey’s bill would require all new handguns to include the technology within two years and that older guns be retrofitted within three years to render the firearms inoperable to unauthorized users.
In revealing his legislation, Markey said that the law’s main purpose will be to prevent law enforcement officers from having their own weapons used against them, prevent accidental shooting deaths of children and combat the use of stolen guns in crime.
“No one wants children to get access to a handgun and hurt themselves or others,” Markey said. “This is the type of gun safety legislation that everyone — regardless of political party or affiliation — should be able to support.”
The Armatix iP1, the country’s first “smart gun,” exemplifies the sort of technology that Markey is advocating. The Washington Post explained the weapon’s technology thusly:
It requires an accessory: a black waterproof watch.
The watch’s primary purpose is not to provide accurate time, though it does. The watch makes the gun think. Electronic chips inside the gun and the watch communicate with each other. If the watch is within close reach of the gun, a light on the grip turns green. Fire away. No watch means no green light. The gun becomes a paperweight.
Critics of proposals like Markey’s argue that his bill is yet another scheme put forth by the anti-gun left to make guns less dependable and more expensive while doing absolutely nothing to prevent gun violence.
National Shooting Sports Foundation Lawrence Keane noted last year that in a setting like Adam Lanza’s Connecticut home, whether Nancy Lanza had owned a “smart gun” like the Armatix would have made no difference because the deranged young man would have had access to everything he needed to make it fire.