Dr. Ben Carson joined me on air today to discuss ebola in the United States and the Second Amendment. I asked him about this remark from 2013 about ownership of semiautomatic firearms. His response:
“What I expressed there was perhaps a little inartful. What I was trying to get across is that we need to talk about how do we keep dangerous weapons out fo the hands of people who are crazy, of people and people who are horrendous criminals. That was the point, it was inartfully said. In terms of the Second Amendment, absolutely, in no way we should compromise that.”
Carson said he opposes a gun registry but supports smart gun technology:
“It doesn't mean that we can't still use our intellect to see if we can figure out some ways to figure out how to keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally ill. It doesn't mean that we can't look at some safety mechanisms things that can be installed, maybe something that is sensitive to your fingerprint, what have you ... What I'm talking about in terms of technology is a smart gun that locks or unlocks with a code, so that your five year-old doesn't wind up killing somebody with it. it would have nothing to do with any kind of national registry.”
My response was that we could just store our firearms properly.
Joesph Steinberg lists the technical problems of smart gun tech:
Electronic devices require a power source, and smart guns are no exception. Without electricity they cannot be fired. Someone intent on using a firearm for home defense could find herself in serious danger if she drew a weapon on an armed intruder only to find that its batteries are drained. In general, it is not ideal to add a requirement for power to devices utilized in cases of emergency that did not need electricity previously. How many fire codes allow fire extinguishers that require a battery to operate? Before smartguns can be deemed reliable, therefore, they must incorporate countermeasures to address this issue. Simply warning users of low batteries may be insufficient, as many gun owners who do not carry their weapons with them keep their guns locked up, do not check them regularly, and might not see such warnings until it is too late.
Computers malfunction, and authentication technology is not perfect. Lawfully armed citizens protecting themselves and/or their families could be killed if their weapons malfunction during a home invasion or attempted rape.
Some upcoming smartgun models use biometrics to authenticate users, but biometrics take time to process and are often inaccurate – especially when a user is under duress – as is likely going to be the case in any situation in which he needs to brandish a gun.
As I described in another previous article, smartguns may be susceptible to government tracking or jamming. How hard would it be for the government to require manufacturers to surreptitiously include in computer-enhanced weapons some circuitry that would allow law enforcement to track – or even to disable – the weapons?
Smart gun tech is unsupported by the market. Period.
I covered smart guns on The Blaze extensively here. If such technology is mandated it will be cost prohibitive gun control. No free market, 2A-supporting conservative should support this pathway.