NJ lawmaker hopes to revive interest in developing ‘smart’ guns

“Smart” guns that can be fired only by a recognized user are not commercially available — and a New Jersey lawmaker wants to change that.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg has introduced legislation requiring firearms retailers in New Jersey to offer smart guns for sale within three years after reliable models are available.

“What gun owner wouldn’t want a gun that only they could shoot? A gun, that if it somehow got into the hands of a child, it would be rendered inoperable,” she said Thursday.

A state law enacted in 2002 would have required all firearms to be smart guns if they became available. Pushback from guns rights activists, however, caused manufacturers to halt production plans.

Weinberg hopes the legislation giving consumers the alternative of purchasing a smart gun will spur development of the technology.

Bryan Miller, an advocate for smart guns, claimed gun manufacturers don’t want to make them available.

“If childproof handguns were around, these so-called smart guns, it would do no good to steal a gun and try to use it, it would do good to try to purchase a straw purchase gun that somebody trafficked to you,” he said. “That’s a big amount of business for gun companies, and they like making that money.”

Alexander Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, said he opposes the legislation because he believes the smart gun technology is too expensive and unreliable.

“If you pull the trigger, and it goes click instead of boom, and you’re using this firearm to protect yourself or your family, who’s going to be assuming the liability of a failed gun?” he said.

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