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New Jersey Enacts 'Smart Gun' Law 1748

rmohr02 writes "New Jersey has just enacted legislation that would require all handguns to be able to recognize their owners and only fire when their owners grip them. Gun manufacturers will be required to implement this within three years of the NJ Attorney General's approval of an acceptable, commercially available model. One critic says 'No technology is foolproof--anyone who has a computer knows how many times it crashes.' I'm sure fellow /.ers will have something to say about that. Also on Google News"
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New Jersey Enacts 'Smart Gun' Law

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  • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zapdos ( 70654 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @02:28AM (#4950147)
    Rechiping? you have to be kidding, a gun is a very simple mechanism. they will simply remove the protection. replace that pin or that spring, file off that tab. Will take less than 10 minutes.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @02:29AM (#4950156) Homepage Journal
    The Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual's right to gun ownership. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the Second Amendment does not extend the right to keep and bear arms to individuals, but to the well-regulated militias mentioned in the first part of the amendment. Specifically, these are militias that are regulated by the federal and state governments. Article I, Section 8 authorizes Congress:
    "To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively the appointment of officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."

    In 1886, the Supreme Court ruled in Presser vs. Illinois that the Second Amendment only prevents the federal government from interfering with a state's ability to maintain a militia, and does nothing to limit the states' ability to regulate firearms. Which means that states can regulate, control and even ban firearms if they so desire!

    In 1939, the Supreme Court addressed this issue in United States vs. Miller. The Court refused to strike down a law prohibiting interstate sales of sawed-off shotguns on the basis of the Second Amendment. Rejecting the argument that the shotgun had "some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia," the Court held that the Second Amendment "must be interpreted and applied" only in the context of safeguarding the continuation and effectiveness of the state militias.

    Since then, both the Supreme and lesser courts have consistently interpreted the right to bear arms as a state's right, not an individual's right. At times the courts have even expressed exasperation with some gun advocates' misinterpretation of the Second Amendment:

    In the 1976 case of United States v. Warin, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of an illegal gun-owner who argued that his Second Amendment rights had been violated. In pointed language, the court wrote: "It would unduly extend this opinion to attempt to deal with every argument made by defendant...all of which are based on the erroneous supposition that the Second Amendment is concerned with the rights of individuals rather than those of the states."

    If the Constitution guaranteed an individual's right to unregulated gun ownership, the NRA would be challenging laws like this one and The Brady Bill in the Supreme Court. That is not happening because the NRA knows that they would lose any such challenge. That's why they spend their time and money lobbying (threatening, rewarding, and bribing) Congress to limit gun legislation. If you want to make claims about the Constitution, do some case law research before you do.
  • by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @02:54AM (#4950280) Homepage
    It is such a drag to find stats, and many sites don't provide attribution for them! For all one knows, the numbers are gossip.

    According to the FBI, 46 of 594 officers slain feloniously 1992-2001 were killed by their own weapon. Another 49 were killed by weapons other than firearms.

    FBI Uniform Crime Reports [] -- I pulled the pdf for "# Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted" for 2001, see Table 5.

    Even 46 dead officers is too many. It would be helpful to have "wounded with own gun" or "3rd party shot with officer's gun" or "gun stolen and later used in crime" statistics, plus the cost and reliability of the gun modifications, before making an assessment. Oh yes, we should ask the cops what they think!

    As for cables, sounds like a cheaper way to address this. I wonder about the cons.

    There are also occasional surprise disarmings and discharge []. Read that one! The magnet is very powerful, but I'm a little skeptical of the "molecular structure" reasoning in the article. I used to be an MRI tech -- what a horrible safety failure. These events can end less humorously, as with a boy killed by an oxygen bottle in New York about a year ago.
  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @03:44AM (#4950509)
    Constitution does not say you can own a gun.

    Neither does the Constitution itself bless the right to own a firearm. You commit a common fallacy in believing the Constitution must specifically grant an individual a right before said individual can exercise that right. Nothing can be further from the truth. Check out Cruikshank v. US (1876).

    The Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual's right to gun ownership.

    I alwasy find it interesting when the anti-freedom people spew their half-assed, poorly-researched drivel as if they were actually knowledgeable on the subject. The fact that this parent was modded up to a 5 show the general ignorance in this country when it comes to constitutional rights.

    In your haste to make yourself look like an ignoramus, you failed to mention US v. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990), in which the Supreme Court clearly indicated that the Second Amendment protects the right of the people, not some imagined "militia" under the guise of government.

    Lower courts have been divided on the Second Amendment, but the Supreme Court has consistently recognized the right to arms as an individual right in every Second Amendment case they've heard.

    Finally, don't you think it kind of strange that every amendment in the Bill of Rights refers to an individual right? The courts rightly recognize that the Bill of Rights, in its entirety, addresses the rights of individuals, not the rights of governments (or their militias).

    If you are going to spew propaganda, the least you can do is check your facts first.
  • Re:A: dead kids (Score:4, Informative)

    by thelexx ( 237096 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @05:10AM (#4950810)
    If the common man were to no longer be able to defend himself with a firearm, the number of innocent victims of violent crimes each year would far exceed the current sum of children either injured or killed by them. It's not worth it, hard as that may be to swallow. Just look at Australia and how their crime stats responded when their guns were taken. Here's a few choice quotes from an Associated Press article [] about it:

    Robbery with a firearm increased nearly 60 per cent over the previous financial year.
    South Australian Police Annual Report - tabled in State Parliament 27/10/98

    Murders by firearms have actually increased (in Victoria) since the buyback scheme which removed 225,000 registered and un-registered firearms from circuation. There were 18 shooting murders in 1996-97 after the buyback scheme had been introduced compared with only six in 1995-96 before the scheme started.
    "Killing rise in gun hunt" - Herald Sun - Melbourne 23/12/98

    According to ABS figures, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in NSW rose from 827 in 1996 to 1252 in 1997.
    Sunday Telegraph - Sydney - 14/3/98 302

    The number of Victorians murdered with firearms has almost trebled since the introduction of tighter gun laws.
    Geelong Advertiser - Victoria 11/9/97 506

  • Re:Good idea (Score:2, Informative)

    by ArmedGeek ( 562115 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @06:35AM (#4951007) Homepage Journal

    Heh. I should move to Texas.

    Not necessary. Currently, 32 states allow carrying of handguns.

  • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

    by slipgun ( 316092 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @07:37AM (#4951119)

    So either we get rid of people, or we get rid of guns.

    Since the UK 'got rid of' handguns in 1996/7, violent crime rate has gone up by about 40%, and handgun crime has doubled.

    Legally owned guns are part of the solution to violent crime.
  • by RembrandtX ( 240864 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @10:32AM (#4951603) Homepage Journal
    What about folks who have bullet forms in their basement :(

    I target shoot as a hobby [something my dad, a retired police officer started me doing at 14]
    and I press my own ammo, more due to cost than anything.

    you can't put the genie back into the bottle :(
  • Yes it does! (Score:5, Informative)

    by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @11:00AM (#4951812) Homepage
    The people who say the second ammendment does not authorize private ownership of fireamrs usually base their argument on case law, instead of the precise text in the Bill of Rights.

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    Aside from the catch-all nature of the 10th ammendment, the entire Bill of Rights concerns the rights of the people. Not states, not the Federal government, the people. Courts may have attempted to substitute various government entities as surrogates for the people, but that's really just wishful thinking that the ammendment isn't really written as we all know it is.

    Why would the government need to grant itself the right to bear arms? Why would the states need such authorization? The word "militia" is what it is, not a "state militia" or "municipal militia", just "militia" as in the original revolutionary "bring your own weapon" variety. If the intended benficiary of the 2nd ammendment was the Federal Government or the states, why aren't they mentioned? If the 2nd ammendment grants "the right to keep and bear arms" to someone other than the people, why doesn't it specify who that might be? How is it that ammedments 1 and 3-10 deal with rights of the people, except for ammendment 2, which somehow applies to an unnamed government entity, even though it specifically says the people?

    The people who wrote the Constitution had a great deal of experience with an out-of-touch, nonresponsive, non-represtentative government (England). The militia was the organization that would form out of necessity in order to remain as a "free state". The concept was left vague, so that the militia could form and deal with whatever threat might be at hand. Today's Federal Government is too proud to admit that it may someday become the problem that a militia was intended to solve.

    Reasonable people might argue that an armed population causes a bigger problem than it solves. Those who say we don't need a militia or privately owned weapons are free to make that argument and they can attempt to carry that argument to its logical conclusion: repeal of the 2nd ammendment. Twisting its interpretation into obscurity merely invites other special interests to use similar techniques on the parts of the Bill of Rights that we still care about.
  • Re:Hmmm. (Score:3, Informative)

    by bluethundr ( 562578 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @11:43AM (#4952101) Homepage Journal
    I know if *I* lived in NJ I would want to move elsewhere as soon as possible!

    You fail to mention however, what's so frikkin' terrific about where you live! And this comment gets modded up! I'm not a liberator, just a meta-moderator! ;)

    Any hare-brain can take a crack at the garden state. That's easy. It is the home to much industrial pollution, Frank Sinatra and Joe Piscopo. And it is the most populated state in the union [] which is why auto insurance is so overpriced and almost impossible to get; even if you have a perfect driving record, and even then it's no guarantee!

    But one thing to consider in the fact that NJ is the most poulated state in the US is how diverse its population is. It is also has a large population of extremely wealthy people (including Ex-Presidents and CEOs of multinational corporations) who would ostensibly have enough money to live anywhere they choose.

    People drive down the NJ Turnpike [] and think they have a sense of what the whole state is about. But if you venture out of Edison NJ [] you'd realize that NJ has some of the best beaches [] in the country. The ONLY state in US that has better beachesis Hawaii. I've been to many California beaches, including Newport Beach, Balboa and Dayna Point but I haven't found a single one that I would consider to be better than Long Beach Island.

    One thing to understand about NJ is that it is almost a miniature representation of the entire United States. The north is densely populated, industrial and with a diverse ethnic population. The south is primarily agricultural, rural and tourism oriented. NJ is in almost as important a farming state [] as anywhere in the midwest, and has a larger population (per capita) of horses [] than Montana!

    So you and all you ignorant ass moderators who modded this comment UP can put that THAT in your crack-pipes and smoke it!

  • Re:Hmmm. (Score:2, Informative)

    by quinticent ( 230886 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @01:47PM (#4953021)
    Would you please cite your statistics? I worked in London as an intern for a Solicitors office. I worked on mostly the criminal law cases. The two most violent cases I worked on was one where a guy broke a bottle and stabbed another guy in a fight and a case where the client was accused of stabbing a family friend in an argument none of which resulted in deaths. I asked about gun violence and was told it almost never happens.

    In the US I have had a classmate shot and killed over a girl back in highschool and saw a guy stab a girl in the face with a broken bottle for no apparent reason at a bar in NYC.

    While I don't belive the US should ban guns outright, measures such as the Smart Gun law that would effectivly keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people is a good thing. That is providing the chips work effectivly and don't misfire when a person is under stress. While it will take some time to see the effects of smart guns, given that regular guns will still be sold nationwide, perhaps NJ could set an example for the rest of the US.

  • by jlrowe ( 69115 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @01:52PM (#4953059)
    There is so much disinformation, so much speculation, so much rationalization on the subject of guns.

    If folks would just get the facts first, properly researched and with attributes, there might be a lot less time wasted on all this discussion. And there would certainly be no dumb laws passed.

    Alas, they don't. But find it here: Gunfacts 3.2 []

  • Re:Hmmm. (Score:3, Informative)

    by schmaltz ( 70977 ) on Tuesday December 24, 2002 @03:30PM (#4953703)
    violent crime rate has gone up by about 40%

    Yes, and about 50 people are killed a year in all UK in all gun deaths, whereas the US gun death rate recently "declined" to reach its 30 year low point of over 30,000 gun deaths per year. Scaled for population, the US has over 50 times the gun deaths per capita than the UK.

    The UK 'got rid of' hand guns a long time ago, not five years ago, don't know what you're basing that on. Might be an anmesty turn-in thing you read.

    So, yes, a society in which handguns are eliminated will have much lower gun death rates.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken