Personal Liberty Poll
Early this month, Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that the Department of Justice is considering gun control reforms that would require firearms to be equipped with technology to identify authorized users via biometric technology such as fingerprint recognition. This week, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he’s concerned that the DOJ is doing the legwork ahead of an executive order mandating the technology.
“I think that one of the things that we learned when we were trying to get passed those common sense reforms last year, Vice President Biden and I had a meeting with a group of technology people and talked about how guns can be made more safe by making them either through finger print identification, the gun talks to a bracelet or something that you might wear, how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon,” Holder said during his testimony.
In a letter to Holder this week, Cornyn said he wants more information about the Justice Department’s reason for looking into the technology.
“Your testimony has raised serious concerns for my constituents given President Obama’s track-record of acting beyond the scope of his legal authority and your hostility to the individual right to self-defense under the Second Amendment,” Cornyn wrote.
The Senator has asked Holder to answer five questions:
1. Is the Obama administration currently exploring the possibility of an executive order requiring all firearms to possess the technology capabilities you referenced in your testimony?
2. Does the Executive Branch possess the statutory authority to take ant executive action or agency action requiring firearms to possess the technological capabilities you referenced in your testimony? If so, under what provision of law does such authority exist?
3. Would the technological capabilities you referenced in your testimony require, or allow for, the monitoring of American citizens’ personally identifying information through a central database or registry?
4. How much, on a per firearm basis, would the technological capabilities you referenced in your testimony cost? Would it be appropriate to require law-abiding Americans to bear the cost of such technologies as a condition of exercising their fundamental constitutional rights under the Second Amendment?
5. Will you assure my constituents and me that, under your supervision, the Department of Justice will not issue regulations requiring law-abiding citizens to equip their firearms with fingerprint-reading technology, or to link them to biometric bracelets?
Cornyn’s questioning puts the Justice Department on the spot, publicizing what was potentially an effort by the Barack Obama Administration to quietly implement onerous gun regulations via the President’s pen.
DOJ spokesman Brian Fallon told Roll Call that the department would review the Senator’s letter.
“For over a year, the administration has been working with firearm manufacturers to promote technologies developed by the private sector that could improve firearm safety,” Fallon added. “Any suggestion that the Attorney General called for physically tracking law-abiding gun owners is a dishonest distortion.”