Imagine: American soldiers aim their rifles and handguns at enemy fighters running toward them across the battlefield. But when they pull their triggers, none of the weapons fire. Within moments our troops are shot down by the onrushing enemy.
Border patrol agents under attack by a Mexican drug gang likewise find their handguns suddenly inoperative, as if turned off at a distance by the criminal gang advancing and firing on them.
Could this be the future, if the advocates of "smart guns" get their way?
Gun control advocates have long promoted putting electronics into firearms so that only the legal owner may fire them. Such weapons, say supporters, would be useless to a thief who steals them from a homeowner or grabs a policeman's handgun.
If the parents of some crazed adolescents had owned the right kind of such "smart" guns, say supporters, their children would have been unable to commit the killings in schools done with their parents' "dumb" guns.
This once-theoretical topic has suddenly gotten hot because the first such smart gun recently went on sale in California. New Jersey since 2002 has had a law on the books that will ban dumb guns three years after the first smart gun went on sale in the United States.
Critics have argued that smart guns are inherently unreliable. What if the battery powering your gun's computer chip has gone bad?
What if your trigger must confirm your fingerprint, but the fight to defend yourself has left your finger dirty or bloody?
What, Robert Farago of the website Thetruthaboutguns.org asked in a February 21 USA Today Op-Ed column, if you need to use someone else's "smart gun" in an emergency?
What if in your absence a spouse tries to defend herself, or himself, with your smart handgun programmed so that only you can fire it?
Critics also say that the higher cost of a smart gun will put new firearm ownership beyond the reach of millions of men and women who need self-protection. The Amatrix iP1 .22 caliber smart pistol that went on sale in California retails for $1,399, and firing it requires an adjacent wristwatch that costs another $399.
Liberals tell us that requiring a free government photo ID to prevent vote fraud is like a poll tax intended to keep the poor from voting. Are smart guns a "tax" to price the poor out of their Second Amendment rights?
Gun control advocates might reply that you have the constitutional "right to keep and bear arms" — but not to shoot them.
I hereby add my own additional concern. If you will soon be permitted to own or carry only firearms with a computer chip that turns them on, understand that those weapons can potentially be rendered inoperative at a distance in a variety of ways, such as degaussing cannons, compact electromagnetic pulse generators and other electronics-neutralizing devices.
The Irish company TriggerSmart has developed one of the first smart gun technologies. In the February 17 Washington Post, reporter Michael S. Rosenwald writes that "this company also has technology that would render guns inoperative if they approached electronic markers — for instance, near a school."
Cannot we logically infer that such guns likewise could be made inoperative if such "electronic markers" were brought close to wherever the gun is?
A California smart gun start-up named Yardarm, reports the Post, has developed a technology so that "Users can even remotely disable their weapons." If owners can do this, who else can?
The inevitable question: Given this potential to turn off smart guns at a distance, thereby de facto disarming the users, will the politicians who require us to have smart guns also require that these same "safer" smart firearms be used by our soldiers in combat, by the Border Patrol, and by local and state police?
This columnist has long said that progressive presidents eager to impose gun control should lead by example. Presidents who say Americans need no guns to defend themselves should first disarm their own heavily armed Secret Service bodyguard.
Will our politicians now lead by example by requiring their protectors to carry only smart guns, not the reliable old "dumb" guns their bodyguards now carry?
Lowell Ponte is co-author, with Craig R. Smith, of "The Great Withdrawal"; "Crashing the Dollar: How to Survive a Global Currency Collapse"; "The Great Debasement: The 100-Year Dying of the Dollar and How to Get America's Money Back"; "The Inflation Deception: Six Ways Government Tricks Us . . . And Seven Ways to Stop It"; and "Re-Making Money: Ways to Restore America's Optimistic Golden Age." Read more reports from Lowell Ponte — Click Here Now.
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