Stephen L. D’Andrilli, on behalf of the Arbalest Quarrel, a weblog devoted to educating the public on the meaning of State and federal firearms’ legislation, will attend “The New York City Smart Gun Symposium.” The Symposium will be held at the Brooklyn Borough Hall on August 2nd, from 11am to 2pm. The address is: Brooklyn Borough Hall 209 Joralemon St, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
Stephen D’Andrilli looks forward to joining the discussion. Stephen knows gun issues. He is happy to explain the Arbalest Quarrel’s position on “smart guns” and is available to answer questions participants in the Symposium may have about Arbalest Quarrel’s position on smart guns.
Expecting questions the Arbalest Quarrel presents the following paper, directed to the politics behind the antigun establishment’s push for smart guns.
THE ARBALEST QUARREL’S POSITION ON “SMART GUNS”
Among the latest restrictive gun proposals are those involving adoption of so-called “smart guns”—the subject of this symposium. But, when considering adoption of smart guns—or any restrictive gun proposal—we must not lose sight of one important fact. Antigun ideologues shape thoughts, impressions, and beliefs about guns through propagation of lies. They broadcast lies to the masses through meaningless sound bites, repeated constantly through the mainstream media.
Take the expression, ‘smart gun.’ The expression, ‘smart gun,’ is a derivative of the coined word, ‘smart phone’ and, not improbably, ‘smart bomb.’ Antigun ideologues seek to create an impression about smart guns that is at odds with the truth about them.
But, what is a smart gun? NRA explains. “Conceptually, a ‘smart’ gun is one that incorporates technology that would prevent the gun from being used by an unauthorized person. Currently, no viable guns equipped with such technology exist.”
Apart from technical matters relating to the production of smart guns, we must not lose sight of the political motivations percolating around smart guns.
The expression ‘smart gun,’ as created and employed by antigun ideologues, is a meme, a mental virus. But what does the expression, ‘smart gun,’ suggest?
Adding the adjective ‘smart’ to the noun, ‘gun,’ suggests to the mind—as those who coined the word and thrust it on the public consciousness, hope and obviously intended—that application of so-called smart gun technology to gun manufacturing makes a firearm in some sense better.
To the antigun ideologue any gun that is not a ‘smart gun’ is, ipso facto, a ‘dumb’ gun. They don’t say this. That is implied. Consider why would someone want a simple, dumb phone, when one could do more with a smart phone? Similarly, who would want a dumb gun when a person can own and possess a smart gun? What kind of a firearm would any sensible person want if a person wishes to own and possess a firearm at all? Would that person want a smart gun or a dumb gun? These are the tacit questions posited by antigun ideologues.
But, we must first ask: does adoption of smart technology to the production of guns truly produce a better gun? If so, in what way? We might analogize smart guns to smart phones. But the analogy between a smart phone and a smart gun is a false one. A user of a smart phone prefers a smart phone to a phone that does not incorporate smart technology because smart phone technology incorporates more features that its users want. But, with gun technology, the user isn’t looking for a device with multiple features and capabilities. In fact, simplicity generally, if not invariably, is preferred to complexity in gun technology.
Of course, all guns employ technology of some sort. Firearms are technological instruments: from the earliest wheel locks and flintlocks to modern revolvers and semiautomatic weapons. But, if firearms don’t employ the new “smart” technology, they are deemed unsophisticated.
The idea conveyed is that unsophisticated guns employ dumb technology. But, dumb in what sense? Are such guns dumb, as the proponents of smart guns may argue, because such guns are deemed unsafe? But, unsafe in what way? In what manner? And, unsafe to whom and under what circumstances? Antigun ideologues consider safety from the standpoint of preventing unauthorized use of firearms. That is one context. There are others.
Are smart guns safer in handling or in operation, say, than guns that do not incorporate smart technology? Might not a smart gun, in an emergency, be unsafe where a dumb gun is safe? Suppose a law-abiding citizen and gun owner finds his smart gun failing to work in an emergency. Or suppose that, for the smart gun to work, the gun owner must engage multiple operations. Can the antigun ideologue continue to maintain justifiably, rationally, that the smart gun is after all a safe gun—as if safety, in one context—preventing unauthorized use of the gun—has overriding significance even if the gun doesn’t work at a time when the authorized gun owner needs the gun to work or if the smart gun requires the authorized gun owner to know the intricacies of his or her smart gun—at a time when the gun owner is in a stressful situation and is counting on the gun to work?
In some contexts, at least, the smart gun is truly the dumb gun and the dumb gun is really the smart gun. The antigun ideologue ought not to be surprised that the law-abiding gun owner places more assurance in, say, his or her stock Smith and Wesson revolver handgun or in his or her stock Glock semiautomatic pistol.
The point is that a gun has little if any use if it isn’t reliable and if it can’t be utilized immediately and easily in an emergency.
Reliability and ease of use of a device—any device—is certainly at least as important as safety. For, if a device isn’t reliable, of what use does it have. And, if a device isn’t easy to use—that is to say, if the device requires multiple gyrations on the part of its user before the user gets it to work—won’t that user prefer a simpler device.
It isn’t coincidental that smart gun technology is being pushed on the public by those who oppose guns in civilian hands. Let’s not be coy about this. Antigun ideologues don’t want civilians to own and possess any gun. This is no secret. They’ll tell you that.
Antigun ideologues push smart gun technology on the ground, as they argue, that smart guns are better guns than ordinary guns—dumb guns—that don’t incorporate smart technology. But that doesn’t mean antigun ideologues think smart guns are as reliable as dumb guns or that smart gun technology allows for ease of use.
The word, ‘better,’ doesn’t necessarily imply ‘reliability’ or ‘ease of use.’ Antigun ideologues don’t know if smart guns are as reliable as guns that don’t incorporate smart technology. Indeed, they don’t know if smart guns are reliable at all. Frankly, they don’t care; nor do they care that smart guns are more intricate than guns that don’t incorporate the smart technology; nor do they care whether smart guns happen to be more difficult to operate than guns that do not incorporate the smart technology.
Antigun ideologues’ aim is to render a gun inoperable if the gun falls into the wrong hands. That is what they want from a gun. That is the only thing they want and expect from a gun. Unfortunately, the concern of antigun ideologues does not extend to issues of reliability and ease of use for the authorized user—which are concerns certainly of importance to the authorized user. But, then, antigun ideologues are not individuals who seek to own and possess firearms. So, they would prefer that guns were merely props—unworkable devices, incapable of use by anyone.
You will note that antigun ideologues don’t suggest that police and the military adopt smart technology in the weapons they use. Why is that? And, you don’t hear police departments and the military clamoring for the adoption of smart guns for their personnel. There is obviously a good reason for that.
Now, antigun ideologues will invariably argue that the needs of the police and military differ from the needs of civilians. Regardless, one would expect, at the very least, that one’s firearm is reliable for the need at hand and allows for ease of use—no less so for the civilian than for the police officer and for the soldier.
But antigun ideologues oppose civilian gun ownership on multiple grounds, including aesthetics. They argue that guns in the hands of civilians are unnecessary, unwholesome, dangerous, and even evil if one can legitimately call an inanimate object, “evil.”
They seek to impose draconian gun laws, including application of unproven smart gun technology, on millions of rational, law-abiding, responsible gun owners. They wish to restrain and constrain the sacred right of millions of sane, rational, responsible law-abiding gun owners due to the reprehensible actions of criminals, lunatics, and terrorists among us who are routinely treated by the Obama Administration with “kid gloves.”
Why should government be in the business of imposing smart gun technology on the public at all? If smart gun technology is to become commonplace in society, then that should come about because the gun buying public prefers it, even demands it. But demand or preference for a product or service in a capitalist society operates through the free market economy. If the gun-buying public wishes to own and possess smart guns, gun manufacturers will produce them. But government should not force gun manufacturers to manufacture guns they do not wish to make. And government should not restrict the buying options of the public to those firearms the public doesn’t wish to buy.
Application of smart gun technology to firearms is not something law-abiding citizens who own and possess firearms want. It is, rather, something the Obama Administration—and antigun ideologues, who have no desire to own and possess a firearm themselves—seek to thrust on everyone else.
Adoption of smart gun technology is not market driven; it is politically driven, based on personal bias, motivated by one segment of society’s personal agenda.
If Americans wish to own and possess guns as is their natural right, as codified in the U.S. Constitution, on what legal ground—irrespective of personal morality, political ideology, aesthetic sensibility, or social consideration—might Congress or the State legislatures rely if they seek to compel Americans either to accept ‘smart gun’ technology or surrender—eventually and inevitably—their Constitutional right to possess firearms at all?Copyright © 2016 Roger J Katz (Towne Criour), Stephen L. D’Andrilli (Publius) All Rights Reserved.