Exclusive: The “Smart” Set

By David Codrea

“President Obama’s first foray into small-arms procurement for the armed forces … directs the Pentagon to find ways to make not so much more lethal firearms, but safer ones,” The Washington Times reported on one of the consequences of the president’s infamous executive actions on guns. “His direct order has brought a few snickers among retired combatants who argue that the commander in chief is issuing his directive at a time of more pressing small-arms priorities.”

Obama’s executive actions, among other infringements, seek to bypass Congressional checks and balances on “background checks” by declaring even collectors/small private sellers “in the business of selling firearms” and forcing them to become FFLs. They expand mental health reporting requirements from the Social Security Administration and the States, with no provisions to ensure prohibited persons have been afforded due process protections equivalent to those extended to suspects for heinous crimes. And, relevant to this report, the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security were directed “to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.

“[T]hese agencies must prepare a report outlining a research-and-development strategy designed to expedite the real-world deployment of such technology for use in practice,” The White House Fact Sheet explains. “In connection with these efforts, the departments will consult with other agencies that acquire firearms and take appropriate steps to consider whether including such technology in specifications for acquisition of firearms would be consistent with operational needs.”

That’s the rub. Defense is not just being asked to look at the technology; its politically-motivated brass is being told the commander in chief expects something that can be deployed that will fulfill mission requirements.

With the presumption being that such technology will reduce “fatal and nonfatal firearm-related injuries,” already lower “in circumstances other than war … among military members than civilian males aged 18-44,” it would be fair to speculate on injuries going up should Obama get his wish. After all, anything that inhibits a mechanism from functioning as designed by building in extra unnecessary steps demonstrably adds a layer of complexity and increases potential failure points. Real lives and real mission success depend on not doing that. And it’s not exactly like there’s a measurable problem (or any problem at all) with soldiers being disarmed by enemy combatants and killed with their own weapons.

Add the fact that the current state of the art relies on fingerprint scans or RFID, and it seems an open invitation to manifest Murphy’s Law on a catastrophic scale. That is, unless the troops keep their hands immaculate in the field and as long as potential jamming, hacking and EMP complications can be nullified with perfect certainty.

That’s not what Obama has in mind though. Such hamstrung firearms are intended for the civilian market, which will not be offered a choice. Everything else is just misdirection, smoke and mirrors. And it’s not the first time the gun-grabbers have pulled this particular bait-and-switch scam.

The whole reason “smart gun” development began in earnest back in the ’90’s was ostensibly to provide a solution to police being killed with their service weapons in “takeaway incidents.” Never ones to control their impulses, the gun-grabbers showed their impatient hand with state-level edicts designed to force “smart guns” on you and me while exempting the one group the technology was developed for in the first place. Not that any police union would allow its members lives to be experimented with on the streets—and rightly so. That risk is reserved to lowly “civilians.”

But that’s why groups like NRA oppose “smart gun” mandates. Their position couldn’t be clearer.

“The NRA doesn’t oppose the development of ‘smart’ guns, nor the ability of Americans to voluntarily acquire them,” the Association has consistently maintained. “However, NRA opposes any law prohibiting Americans from acquiring or possessing firearms that don’t possess ‘smart’ gun technology.”

Naturally, the media ignores that important qualification and is doing its best to make everyone believe otherwise.

“Proponents of ‘smart guns’ say NRA is the main obstacle,” one headline proclaims. “The guns the NRA doesn’t want Americans to get,” another declares.

As with everything the anti-gunners do, they make their misdirection multi-dimensional. So they not only misrepresent (that’s polite for “lie about”) the reliability of existing technology, and they not only misstate (“shamelessly lie about”) NRA’s position, they also misdirect (“desperately lie about”) market demand for “smart guns” among existing and prospective gun owners.

Thus we see headlines like “More than half of handgun buyers would consider ‘smart’ guns: Study,” and “New data bucks gun industry claim, finds US majority supports smart guns.” Unsurprisingly, we see some that just can’t resist getting their digs in, such as “NRA lies smartly exposed: The truth about consumer demand for life-saving smart guns.”

What the media was passing off as a “study” was actually an editorial (!) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (yes, that Bloomberg) appearing in the American Journal of Public Health. It was written by a group of incentivized gun-ban apparatchiks, Obama fundraisers, and Hillary supporters, not a one with any qualifications or credentials in either gun design or defensive gun use. In other words, it was Bloomberg-beholden propaganda that failed to inform survey respondents what the National Shooting Sports Foundation did when it conducted a similar survey that yielded significantly less supportive results: That “such firearms would incorporate biometric or radio frequency identification (RFID) with an activation system that would rely on battery power.”

Unsurprisingly, when presented that way, most people said “No thanks.”

The curious thing, funny, actually, is that as much as the gun-haters demand imposing “smart guns” on the “free” market, institutional hoplophobia has proven as big an impediment as any argument from the “pro gun” side.

Shortly before the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, another huge trade show convened, the Consumer Electronics Show. Omer Kiyani of Sentinl was there to demonstrate his IDENTILOCK fingerprint-scanning “smart gun lock.” The only problem: he wasn’t allowed to demonstrate his invention in a forum dedicated to showcasing technological innovations!

“I never did expect that an industry defining exhibit like the consumer electronics show would not allow us to demo our product with a gun, or worse even with an imitation gun,” Kiyani told AmmoLand Shooting Sports News. “It’s like preventing Google from demoing its Self-Driving Car.”

For “progressives,” every day really is Opposite Day.

But back to Obama and his executive action, the one that really isn’t intended to send troops into harm’s way with weapon failure rates equivalent to garage door openers and television remotes: The military is just being used to funnel some appropriations into developments that can then be showcased for the media in some nonessential but sensationalized functions.

Depending on who wins the presidency look for this nonsense to be rescinded if a Republican is elected, or expanded with a vengeance if Hillary or Bernie grab the brass ring. If that’s the case, and note this is being written before it’s even determined who the opposing candidates will be, there’s one other option that could be tried: Propose a bill requiring that before “smart guns” can be mandated on gun owners, they must be the exclusive weapons assigned to the presidential Secret Service protective detail.

The veto will tell us everything we need to know.

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