News & Politics

DOJ Releases 'Smart' Gun Guidelines

Last week the Department of Justice released guidelines for smart-gun manufacturers. Obama has made “gun safety” a priority during his second term as president and since the Congress is in the control of the Republicans, he has been unable to pass any gun control legislation. The Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House during part of Obama’s first term, but the president chose not to make any gun control moves, probably because gun control doesn’t play well at the ballot box.  As with other unsavory political issues rejected by the population, Obama has turned to his imaginary executive power to curb gun violence and pushing the smart gun is one misguided way to do that.

A “smart gun” is a gun that will only fire when an authorized user tries to use it. Theoretically.

The new guidelines are voluntary, so they are useless.  “This project was designed to spur the growth of enhanced gun safety technology – and not to mandate that any particular individual or law enforcement agency adopt the technology once developed,” the Department of Justice wrote in a blog post.

The DOJ’s National Institute of Justice developed the specifications, which include recommendations for how smart guns should be able to be unlocked and a default state that would allow guns to fire if the technology malfunctioned, engadget reported.

The White House said the specifications are meant to ensure that smart-gun technology “available to law enforcement agencies is safe and reliable” and to demonstrate that a demand exists for weapons with enhanced safety features.

Officials also said they hope the specifications will give manufacturers guidance about the basic requirements that law enforcement agencies expect from the technology.

If there was a demand for smart guns, we wouldn’t’ need a government agency to study the topic and issue guidelines. What other commodity with market demand needs the government to step in and help it out? None.

There are several problems with “smart” guns. Most importantly, the technology can fail as even the DOJ admits.  I expect the smart gun to fade away once the new administration takes power — or at least we’ll see if there is an actual demand for the product without the government intervening.