March 07, 2014
By Robert W. Hunnicutt
The Washington Post has reported, in some wonderment, that a California gun store that planned to offer pistols with so-called "smart gun" technology has scrapped the idea after a huge backlash from gun owners.
Oak Tree Gun Club in Santa Clarita, Calif., had planned to offer the Armatix iP1 pistol, which requires the user to wear a watch-like device whose radio signal unlocks the pistol to allow firing. No watch, no shooting.
This is an idea that has caught the imagination of some tech-savvy types on the fringes of firearms ownership who don't really follow gun politics. One called it the "iPhone of guns." Who, after all, wants to stand in the way of progress?
Were there no political context, the idea of a smart gun might be appealing; but the context makes all the difference. There are people who won't stop until we are disarmed. Any progress, however slight, they make is progress toward their goal. Mandating an unproven and expensive technology is a great way to outlaw all previous technology.
Antis have compared requiring "smart guns" to the elimination of leaded gasoline. You make people use a new fuel, and if that hurts their Hispano-Suiza or Model A, it's just hard cheese for them. When that's the program of your opponent, there's no enjoying the technical elegance of smart guns. They are a danger to our rights, no more, no less.
The Oak Tree Gun Club has backed off selling the Armatix iP1, and it's unclear if they ever sold one. A perusal of their Facebook page indicates the club certainly has no objections to black guns or pistols: this is not some tweedy cabal of English game gun aficionados. My guess is that someone who doesn't keep his eye on the politics let the attraction of a fancy new electronic gadget overwhelm his good sense. If they've learned their lesson, then we can let them back in the fraternity, I say. Others will disagree.
Should the day ever come when the last anti-gunner gives up and goes to work on transgender rights; when New York and Washington D.C. have constitutional carry; when the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act of 1968 are repealed, when high schools have rifle teams, not zero-tolerance policies, then maybe, just maybe, we could talk about smart guns. Until then, any retailer foolish enough to stock one should plan for bankruptcy.