Only in CA: Mandating ‘smart guns’ in future with bill now

March 22, 2013

By Josephine Djuhana

Smart_Gun425x283“Owner-authorized” firearm technology. Biometric scanners. Guns with palm print readers that don’t go off unless the hand on the pistol grip had proper clearance. Sounds like something out of a James Bond movie — literally.

But this isn’t some fantasy-gadget hyper-tech weapon designed to circumvent plot holes for the silver screen. No, this currently expensive and obscure technology is what may be — at some point — all you can buy at a gun store near you, thanks to a California legislator.

SB 293, authored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, would ban all guns without owner-authorized technology from retail sale in California 18 months after the state attorney general deems such technology to be readily available.

“Senseless violence occurs far too often when guns fall into the wrong hands,” DeSaulnier said in a press release last month. “We should make sure that guns are only used by the owners who are authorized to fire them. Many technologies exist to create this kind of safety mechanism, including biometric readers.”

The bill text provides that the attorney general would periodically “report to the governor and the Legislature regarding the progress made on the availability for retail sale of owner-authorized handguns.” Then, 18 months after the attorney general finds that owner-authorized handguns are sufficiently available, it would be officially illegal to sell guns without owner-authorized technology in the state of California.

Good intentions and unintended consequences

banner_headlineTiffany Whiten, a consultant in DeSaulnier’s Sacramento office, told me that prototypes with the owner-identification technology are currently very expensive. However, she said, manufacturers have offered assurances that these costs will go down with time and be “reasonable” in the future. The 18-month grace period designated in the bill is an additional measure to ensure that costs would not be too high, and therefore not impact the sale of guns in California.

Whiten also said that DeSaulnier’s office has spoken to current firearm owners who think guns with such owner-authorization technology would be “worth the price.” But it’s impossible to assume those owners speak for firearm owners in general.

And why should government play such a role in deciding when a particular technology is affordable enough to be classified as readily available? That’s the beauty of free markets — the market itself determines when technology becomes affordable for the masses as production goes up and costs go down.

Realistically speaking, the installation of a biometric scanner into the handgrip or trigger of a gun would be an additional cost for gun manufacturers and would result in overpriced firearms in California. Either that, or gun producers just wouldn’t sell guns in California anymore.

Unintended consequences could be grim

But if they are broadly sold in California under DeSaulnier’s rules, consider the following hypothetical situations.

I am a law-abiding citizen who owns a gun with owner-authorized technology.

If I was away while my roommate was at home, and someone were to break in, my roommate would not have the capacity to defend herself with my gun because it would not register her and not fire.

Or perhaps I was at home when the assailant invaded, but my palms were sweaty from nervousness due to the break-in. The gun does not recognize my handprint and doesn’t go off.

What if I’m wearing gloves? What if the power runs out on the biometric scanner and the technology malfunctions? Will members of law enforcement have to adhere to the same standards when purchasing guns? What if the technology malfunctions when police officers are in the middle of a dangerous, life-threatening situation?

Such situations are likely under the owner-authorized gun mandate, alongside many more potential problems that could occur if the technology is faulty.

A barely disguised attack on gun rights

The California Legislature has already advanced bills and resolutions on gun control, including SJR 1 and SB 140. There are many ways to make sure that guns stay out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous individuals, but mandated owner-authorized technology is not one of them. If gun producers want to make “smart guns” available to Californians, then Californians should be allowed to freely purchase both owner-authorized and non-owner-authorized firearms.

If SB 293 is passed, the right to bear arms will no longer be held by the people, but by regulators and bureaucrats in Sacramento.

But the overarching problem with SB 293 is not only the negative impact that it will have on gun sales and potential technology problems; it is the very frightening idea that the California Legislature can legislate and mandate and create regulations on things that, practically speaking, do not even exist yet.

Passing a law now on technology for the future sets a terrible precedent. It shuts down debate on how to deal with that technology and leaves it up to Sacramento regulators and bureaucrats to figure out how to implement the law in the long run.

DeSaulnier may have had the best intentions in mind when he authored this bill; trying to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally ill is a worthy goal.

Still, SB 293 is not the answer. Government infringing upon our rights and liberties is one thing — but government dictating what types of products we can use when they are not readily available or yet in existence is beyond bizarre.


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  1. John Jorgensen
    John Jorgensen 22 March, 2013, 09:45

    A ban on all firearms without this technology cannot pass the “in common use” test established in Heller. It is unconstitutional as are most of the gun bans implemented in California.

    Reply this comment
  2. Hondo
    Hondo 22 March, 2013, 10:02

    Half of all murders in amerika are blacks killing other blacks, though at most they comprise 14% of the population. Those numbers are from the FBI and have remained constant for 20 years now. The Demoncrats think by taking guns away from white people, they can stop blacks from committing genocide on their own race.
    The reason I left the democratic party is because their policies ended up destroying the black families with welfare, by destroying black education with school busing (which took huge amounts of money out of the classroom and spent it on bus drivers, buses, gasoline, which hasn’t taught one black student anything) which lead to the mass imprisonment and slaughter of young black men. I won’t be part of it anymore.
    If the democrats are so ‘smart’, how come there is a slaughter in Chicago and Detroit and Washington DC and Baltimore and New Orleans, a slaughter of young black men. There is no republicans in the political food chains in those cities. The genocide of those young black men are completely the fault of the democrats. 93% of all felons are self indentified demoncrats.
    This river of blood is all on the hands of the democrats.

    Reply this comment
  3. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 22 March, 2013, 10:33

    Sounds like today’s guns will be a great investment if this goes into law. Thank-you Senator DeSaulnier. You are putting money in my pocket and I don t own you like the Unions due. Corruption isn’t all bad.

    Reply this comment
  4. us citizen
    us citizen 22 March, 2013, 11:00

    ahhh another stupid idea from the stupid people that run CA.

    Reply this comment
  5. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 22 March, 2013, 11:08

    How can my well organized malitia use these weapons to defend oursleves from tyranny? Oh the humanity!

    Reply this comment
  6. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 22 March, 2013, 11:31

    “DeSaulnier may have had the best intentions in mind when he authored this bill; trying to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally ill is a worthy goal.”

    HE DOES NOT HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS! And, he and his staff are recklessly stupid regarding firearms use and technology. They are also completely clueless about the constitutional limits of their power. THESE PEOPLE WOULD BE A JOKE IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE POLITICAL POWER.

    If legislation like this passes and is implemented it will cost legal gun owners their lives. Nice people don’t do that to others. The Progressive Fascists who run this state ARE NOT NICE PEOPLE. They are a pack of authoritarian A-Holes. They suffer from a domination complex that makes them really obnoxious. What a pack of idiotic, meddlesome, arrogant, childish, hypocritical and dangerous dystopians we have running this state.

    Reply this comment
  7. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 22 March, 2013, 11:35

    Think about this, What will the penalty be for removing the government mandated electronic controls? Misdemeanor or Felony? Just another way for them to throw your a$$ in jail Mr. and Mrs. legal gun owner.

    What if the control device malfunctions, does the gun become inoperative or operable by anyone? What if the battery dies and the gun becomes useless when you need it to defend yourself. OOPS, YOUR DEAD! Thanks DeSaulnier, what a humanitarian you are.

    Criminals will quickly learn how to hack the control device so they won’t have to deal with it. Only the lawful gun owners will have to deal with this, not the vicious criminal predators that DeSaulnier and his party are RELEASING OUT AMONGST US.

    But wait, there’s more! What would prevent them from adding GPS chips to all guns. That way, they can require that your gun never leave your home, AND THEN TRACK IT TO MAKE SURE THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN. Kind of like those electronic bracelets that parolees have to wear.

    Soon, every police department will have surveillance drones circling overhead 24/7. Scanning homes for GPS Chips in guns. Taking regular inventory of our guns. For public safety reasons of course. Everybody knows that the 2nd Amendment only exists in side your home, so you don’t need a gun anywhere else, right? Hunting is cruel and sadistic and must be banned, right? Target shooting is a dangerous and archaic sport that was invented by rich white people who owned slaves and it legitimizes gun ownership, so we can’t have that, right?

    If SB 293 is a legitimate law, then what would prevent them from mandating that all existing, pre-SB 293 guns must be retrofitted to meat the new requirements? For public safety reasons, of course. They could even levy a special “sin” tax on guns to pay for the retrofit. If that’s not enough they could increase the DROS fee on gun purchases to a “reasonable” $1000 dollars. Or increase the Handgun Certificate Fee to $10,000. For the children, of course, for the children …

    Remember, for fools like DeSaulnier, the actual ethical standard they apply to these laws, with a straight face no less, is “If it saves even one life, it’s worth it”. THAT KIND OF MENTALITY IS MORALLY DEPRAVED AND HOPELESSLY IRRATIONAL.

    There are many more reasons why this legislation is INSANE. The left wing vermin running this state really are dangerous psychopathic lunatics. They have made this state unfit for civilized adults and I hate all of them. A pox on every last one of them. Except for Ted, he only gets an itchy rash.

    Reply this comment
  8. double l
    double l 22 March, 2013, 12:36

    If these high tech guns fail to fire, you can always throw the gun at your attacker. That should scare the hell out of them, but in the process you would be dead. Maybe this scenario is what the legislators are hoping for. With all of the law abiding subjects dead they can pass all of the useless, self-serving laws that their hearts desire. The criminal element that is left standing could care less about stupid laws because they will be cavorting with the legislators and they will all be above the law.

    Reply this comment
  9. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 22 March, 2013, 12:50

    Legislators, criminals, whats the difference?

    Reply this comment
  10. Ted Steele, Navigator
    Ted Steele, Navigator 22 March, 2013, 13:22

    Dysphoric– The dif is specific intent. But I’m sure that you already know that. lol— not.

    Reply this comment
  11. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 22 March, 2013, 18:56

    Wow, there’s just something about a gun control proposal that brings all of the kooks out of the woodwork.

    You’re doing a good job with them Ted. I just don’t have the patience today.

    Reply this comment
  12. us citizen
    us citizen 22 March, 2013, 19:19

    You go Dyspeptic…………you are soooo right. But puleeeese…….dont spare teddy……….an eternal fit with the dry heeves would be befitting

    Reply this comment
  13. eck
    eck 22 March, 2013, 19:59

    Only one observation, what an idiot DeSaulnier is. Oh, excuse me, he’s a CA legislator.

    Reply this comment
  14. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 22 March, 2013, 20:58

    Thanks Skip– I do what I can….It’s pretty easy to spin the tin foil crew up!

    Reply this comment
  15. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 23 March, 2013, 03:11

    Oh look, Skippy The Goose Stepping Clown made an appearance today. Hi Skippy. After you finish up your daily dozen donuts please remember to dust your Nazi memorabilia and hum a few lines from “Springtime For Hitler”. You and Theodore make such a cute couple. Dumb as a bag of hammers but cute.

    Reply this comment
  16. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 23 March, 2013, 09:52

    Dysphoric– I wonder how aware you are of how much anger and self loathing projects from your posts? I feel sorry for you man, honestly. Did a big chunk of life pass you by? Don’t you think you’re worth much? Are you worried about what everyone else has? I wonder. This all could explain your patent dysphoria little buddy.

    Reply this comment
  17. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 23 March, 2013, 10:54

    “The Producers” is one of the funniest movies and plays ever produced, but I’m not so fond of it that I would stand around humming any of its music, Dystopic.

    Although I have no Nazi paraphernalia, I’ve always been intrigued by the vast amount of it available at gun shows and through gun publications. Clearly you gun nuts are the largest consumers of Nazi trinkets, so you have to ask yourself why that is the case. The most likely answer is that the connection to such a strong-man regime fulfills some deep homoerotic desires you folks harbor, as demonstrated through your phallic obsessions in the form of your more socially acceptable (at least until now) gun fetishes.

    Reply this comment
  18. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 23 March, 2013, 11:14

    BTW, Donkey, have you been staying in touch with Rex and Observer?

    Reply this comment
  19. Itachee
    Itachee 24 March, 2013, 06:40

    Well “skippingDog” demonstrates once again that liberals turn to slanderous and malicious lies and hate speech when they are incapable of talking factually.

    I have been going to California gun shows several times per year for over 30 years. And I have never, NEVER, seen any sort of Nazi trinkets at any of them. Ditto in gun publications of which I have subscribed to several for over 30 years.

    Now as to the biometric scanners being required on guns in the future, that is quite likely to lead to some people being wounded or killed in self defense situations. Both my wife and I hold CCWs. We are identically armed for one simple reason; just in case either of us cannot get to our own weapon but we an get to the other person’s weapon we will be familiar with it, not an insignificant matter in a self defense situation. So if the biome tic requirement became law access you spouses gun would be meaningless.

    There will also be the issue of having an inoperable gun when the batteries required on the biometric devise, run down.

    Reply this comment
  20. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 24 March, 2013, 08:07


    Sorry little buddy. If you only read a little better, you’d have sen that Skip was responding to the “slanderous and malicious etc” in post 15 from Dysphoric.

    Please up your game out here and read with more care or ask an adult to help you.


    Reply this comment
  21. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 24 March, 2013, 20:38

    Here’s one of the largest gun auction houses in the country. Take a look at their April catalog and let me know how much Nazi paraphernalia you find, Itachee. It’s the same at every Great Western Gun Show I’ve attended, and that’s been quite a few over the years.

    P.S. Thanks for the assist, Ted!

    Reply this comment
  22. Ryan
    Ryan 12 April, 2013, 13:39

    I’m what many liberals refer to as a gun-toting-right-wing-nutjob. That said, I am having a hard time trying to understand the opposition to “smart” guns. We have the technology to allow for small electronics to be powered by our body heat, why not use that, instead of a battery? Why not just make it and all-around pressure sensitive grip? I think I read somewhere that no two people can grip a firearm in the exact same manner. As many door locks allow for “rekeying” why would we not be able to do that to a “smart” gun? Some of the examples, such as teaching your child to shoot, or the roommate situation are plausible scenarios and would need an adjustment. I’m not saying that the technology is perfect, but I think it deserves a chance to develop. And to the anti-guns people who oppose “smart” gun technology, who cares if it may have the effect of encouraging more gun ownership? The same background checks will exist, and the second amendment does not require a limit on the number of guns sold or owned. Why not just go back to your desire to curb gun violence at all costs? You would not be losing credibility that way.

    But honestly, what is so immoral about using a “smart” gun?

    Reply this comment

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