The Handgun Trigger Safety Act: Gun control through technology

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WASHINGTON, April 17, 2014 — Pro-gun and anti-gun legislation and efforts have become the litmus test for potential candidates for federal office as well as incumbents who wish to remain in their seats.

On the Republican side, Congressmen like Steve Stockman, R-Texas, are introducing legislation aimed at preventing federal money from being used to fund efforts to register or confiscate firearms from citizens. This is a response to the fear that many gun owners in this country have that the federal government will use registration to eventually seize firearms from the American public.

The Democratic approach towards gun control seems to be taking a turn towards the tactic of dissuasion. The traditional style of gun control through direct bans and fierce anti-gun campaigns has failed. Semi-automatic weapons bans, magazine bans, and features bans on firearms have for the most part stalled or failed to gain enough traction to become law.

Instead of trying to outright ban or restrict ownership of certain kinds of weapons, Democratic Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, has decided to introduce S.2068, the Handgun Trigger Safety Act of 2014.


S.2068 calls for grant money, up to $2 million, for companies, individuals, and states, to research technology that would lead to the personalization of firearms.

A personalized handgun, according to the bill, is a firearm which:

  • enables only an authorized user of the handgun to fire the handgun;
  • was manufactured in such a manner that the firing restriction described is incorporated into the design of the handgun;
  • is not sold as an accessory;
  • and cannot be readily removed or deactivated.

The bill calls for institutions such as schools and companies to apply for grants for technology to personalize both new and old firearms.

The plan, according to the text of the legislation, is to completely transform the firearms industry with regard to handguns over the next several years.

According to the bill, “Beginning on the date that is 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, no person may manufacture in the United States a handgun that is not a personalized handgun.”

It says later that, “Beginning on the date that is 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, no person may distribute in commerce any handgun that is not a personalized handgun or a retrofitted personalized handgun.”

The law would essentially make it illegal to make or sell a gun that is not personalized, new or old.

The law specifically states that owner of the firearm may send it to the manufacturer, and the manufacturer “may not request compensation from the owner.”

The Democrats failed at gun control through direct action. Now they seek to transform the gun industry and infringe even more on what is left of the free market in the United States. If there were a need or a call for personalized weapons, there would be personalized weapons. The fact that the government needs to pass a law to force such massive changes on an industry is evidence of a much deeper disdain for firearms owners and manufactures.

This law affords the government too much regulation and control over the firearms industry.

What if the law passes, the two and three year no-sale or manufacture deadline comes, and no personalized technology has been accepted and implemented by the U.S. government? This bill essentially gives the government power over the handgun market of U.S. manufacturers as well as importers. If these companies do not comply, they do not get to sell their product to private individuals in the United States.

They do however, get to sell to the United States military. The law makes an exception for manufacturers of non-personalized handguns if those handguns are manufactured for or sold to the Department of Defense.

This is the typical government attitude towards gun control and gun rights in general. This is the typical way that Democrats classify Americans; they are either government, in which case they are exempt from many laws and punishments, or they are ordinary citizens, subject to the full force and weight of the judicial system. This law, like most gun laws, would be in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, as it does not apply equally to all American citizens.

But government classism does not stop at exemptions concerning this bill. Under the “Authorized User” definition, someone authorized to use a personalized handgun is the owner, an owner authorized user, and “any individual who is authorized, under the law of the State where the firearm is being used, to own, carry, or use a firearm in the State.”

That is, your firearm, which only you and those people you designate can use, can also be used by those not authorized by you, but authorized by the State you happen to be in.

The push to regulate guns through technology is relatively new, arguably the results of failed federal gun control legislation. There is serious money behind this push to personalize firearms. Mayor Bloomberg and his newly launched group Every Town for Gun Safety includes finding smart gun solutions as a key part of their “gun safety” efforts over the next few years, and the $50 million they pumped into the group is more than enough to get companies interested in the smart-gun game.

However the push from the gun-control groups to “personalize” guns and to make them “smarter” has a much deeper and lasting intention than to promote what they call “gun safety.” If we look at the two groups who would be most affected by these changes, we see the true agenda behind their efforts. And those groups are the reclusive, private gun owners, and the gun manufacturers.

This law will hit that section of very private, almost reclusive gun owners very hard. Most gun owners are very privacy oriented in the first place, they don’t like giving out their address or phone number if they don’t know the person, and they of course won’t like the government telling them that they have to own smart-guns. Many would most likely refuse such an order and choose to become criminals instead of obeying the rule. They become criminals, they get convicted, they don’t get to vote for Republicans anymore. To Democrats it seems like a win-win situation.

Just how will the government be keeping track of who has retrofitted existing handguns and who has not? How will they be able to tell which of the millions of handguns in the country have been changed to comply with the new law? The only way that can happen is by forcing gun registration, or if a national gun registry already exists, which is a violation of the law.

The second group is the gun manufacturers. By forcing gun makers to bear the cost of re-designing their weapons, and manufacturing techniques, as well as the substantial cost of retrofitting customer submitted weapons for compliance, the Democrats handicap the ability of a very large donor pool from making significant contributions to the gun lobby.

Is this push for smart-gun technology about gun-safety? For some it probably is, for those people who genuinely care about reducing gun accidents and gun crime in this country, this is all about gun safety. But for those in power it is an open door to crush the gun industry under crippling costs, and to dissuade gun owners from purchasing firearms. It is about government control, government exceptionalism, and the effort by those on the left to eventually disarm the American people through the guise of “gun safety.”

Laws such as these are stepping stones towards greater control by the government. If we allow the government to fundamentally transform the handgun market, then soon they will be doing it with rifles and shotguns. Laws and efforts such as these, which use tax payer money to infringe upon tax payer rights, need to be watched carefully and those who sponsor and co-sponsor these bills need to know that their flagrant disregard for the rights and privacy of the American gun owner will not and does not go unnoticed.

 

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  • teddy6139

    Just another way to collect names and addresses. I hope Americans aren’t that stupid.

    • Paladin

      Democrats have long used the stupidity of their low-nformation voter base to advance their socialist/marxiist agendas

      • joeblow1984

        And the deceased no information voter base.

    • joeblow1984

      Like answering the American Communist Survey of the Senseless Census.

  • Robert Zendejas

    So one has to ambush and forcibly remove the side arms of cops and other LEO types?
    Meh you gotta do, what you gotta do, when you gotta do it.

  • Inkman

    This is already being done in CA with the “Microstamping” law. All semi-auto handguns will soon be gone from CA because they don’t have this “Phantom” feature.

    • sbeer101

      All LEGAL semi-autos will be gone.

      • williamdiamon

        I consider California to be “occupied territory”.

        • sbeer101

          California has long been lost to us. The North is a liberal nightmare and the south is basically North Mexico.

          • joeblow1984

            If only we could fence Commiefornia off and sell it to Mexico. They wouldn’t notice the difference.

    • Mgh999

      Laws for idiots written by idiots….takes about 3 minutes to change a firing pin…about 30 seconds to obscure any “microstamp” (not my fault it doesn’t work)….a revolver doesn’t eject brass…

      Like I am going to let some politician dictate some yahoo devaluing a vintage 1911 to comply with the law (70 years old and still works just fine)…

      CA already has some of the most restrictive laws – doesn’t seem to stop the 1700+ murders every year – but by all means they will continue with registration and confiscation if you forget to pay a parking ticket…

    • Thomas Weiss

      Wasn’t that vetoed?

  • williamdiamon

    This idea would never pass a Supreme Court test.

    • TimT

      That’s what I thought about Obamacare….

  • Mike Santino

    Yeah they won’t be able to hack the guns. What part of “Shall not be infringed’ don’t those morons understand

  • IndyToddrick

    Any trigger identification device will simply raise the price of guns beyond the reach of people in bad neighborhoods who need them worst. The complexity is sure to disable firearms when needed the most. Why don’t they test these on cops, and see what they think of it?

  • Tim Pearce

    Title 18, USC, Section 241 – acquaint yourselves, please. It may not fly today, with Eric Holder in office, but next election cycle, I think we need to start pressing charges.

  • spencer60

    This is probably one of the stupidest ideas ever thought up.

    It will take the average criminal 30 seconds with a file and a screwdriver to defeat any of these proposed ‘systems’.

    Yet law abiding citizens and LE officers will be killed by the dozens when they fail to work or the batteries go dead.

    The problem isn’t with the gun folks… If you put the criminal who uses a gun away for a decade or two, they wouldn’t be out there committing crimes.

    • joeblow1984

      But the liberals believe in probation, so they are back in the streets within days. But carry a plastic grocery bag or smoke an electronic cigarette in the park that we paid for by the way, get thrown in the clink. Dianne Feinstein is in bed with the GEO group.

    • Mgh999

      They’ve trialed one — recognized its “owner” 90% of the time –makes me feel safe… doesn’t mention what happens if I have to shoot one handed or weak handed because I’ve been shot…or if my hand is gloved…covered in my own blood…or if the gun gets wet (doesn’t everyone clean their Glock in the dishwasher?)…vibration and shock effects after 10,000 rounds of plus-P+ (my HK manual basically says if you can find it shoot it – heck in testing they cleared a round in the barrel with another round) …It will be 10 years before a reliable technology is developed and integrated…but by all means the gun designers shouldn’t drag their feet (wink, wink)….oh BTW… my 1941 1911 runs like a champ…..as does my 1940 Luger…and figure out a system for my Nambu….how about my Garand….. I mean if they weren’t all lost in the fire…..

  • Charles W Cromer Jr

    I guess this means reporting our guns as being stolen “register what guns”.

  • Charles W Cromer Jr

    The next thing that they will try will be attempting to make it lawful for the government to search
    your home for weapons not registered. Another attempt for more government in our lives.

  • RGZ_50

    well argued article. The other item that occurred to me is that firearms are nearly priced out of the reach of many consumers who need them as things stand now. These ‘personalized’ guns will be rendered useless on the secondary market (gun shows, gun stores) and so this takes an affordable alternative off the table for low income individuals and families – who, in many cases, are more in jeopardy of crime to begin with. There’s a Democrat egalitarian value turned on its head! What else is new, right?

    Additionally, the new firearms incorporating this technology will cost more to make and will make them more exclusive as well.

    Then there’s the audacity of mandating a gun manufacturer to retrofit an existing firearm for free. Oh, never mind, we’re already settling into the reality of being forced to purchase healthcare insurance!

  • MenotYou

    We are seeing historically low levels of gun violence and homicides yet there are those who still want to further infringe on our rights. Two articles, from liberal publications(Slate, Mother Jones), stated that 2013 was on track to have the lowest homicide rate in 100 years. Why do we need to do more if our homicide rate is the lowest it has been in the last century?

    • Mgh999

      Dang it. Stop thinking. Herr Bloomberg and Fraulein Feinstein will do that for you… after all Government knows best and sometimes you just have to give up some of your rights.

      My assault rifle? M-1 Garand…..8 rounds of 30-06 and 10# of American steel and hardwood, with bayonet….good enough to defeat national socialists, fascists, imperialists and communists…good enough for me….

      • MenotYou

        LOL I know right.

        Nice choice. Accurate, will defeat most body armor, and if you run out of ammo it will be a very effective spear or club 🙂

  • joeblow1984

    Hey dumb Markey, we will buy thousands of non complaint guns, just like we did with the 100 watt light bulbs. I still have 500 light bulbs (the ones that you boys have banned) in my house. If if those brown shirts come and try to take it, they will be met with World War III !

  • Jason

    I have a few revolvers at home…I guess those can’t be hacked

  • DisabledVeteran2014

    Markey has done nothing in years for Massachusetts, and now he is trying to jump on board the wagon for the democrats with gun control. Gun control, however, lost in the last push. It is a losing issue because the American people will not be disarmed … especially by a government that is showing signs of leaning towards tyranny. Obama refuses to follow the law of the land. Holder thinks he has “broad powers” to pick and choose which laws get followed and which do not. In such a fairy tale, why would it make sense for the people to give up their 2nd Amendment Rights to keep and bear arms? The founding fathers intended it as a check against a government that tries to become tyrannical as anyone who is familiar with the Articles of Confederation and the formulation of the 2nd Amendment knows. Noah Webster similarly argued: “Before a standing army can rule the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” This ability to serve as a superior force to overrule any unjust law is part of the thought underlying the 2nd Amendment. It is especially poignant with the current Administration.

  • Dave_Skinner

    More quixotic Bullshevikism from the Politburo’s best Bullshevik, Ed Marxey. The bill doesn’t have a chance, but thanks for exposing the “thinking” behind it.