New Jersey Senator proposes revamp of smart gun law

November 17, 2015 - 

Opponents of New Jersey’s 13-year-old smart gun law and its author, Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), have agreed that the law should be revamped as it has inadvertently hindered the development of smart gun technology, according to a report by NJ.com.

Weinberg has proposed a new bill (S3249) to replace the existing law with a mandate that retailers must carry at least one smart gun model at their store, three years after they are on the market.

However, gun advocates argued that completely removing the law would help generate interest in smart gun technology.

“Our message is simple: If you want this technology to develop, take the mandates out,” Scott Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol clubs told the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. “Take government hands off the process and let the technology develop naturally. Let’s see if there’s a market.”

Under Weinberg’s 2002 law, if a personalized handgun, a firearm that can only be fired by its owner, is available for retail purchase anywhere in the country, then in three years no New Jersey firearms manufacturer or dealer could sell anything other than personalized handguns.

The guns are still not commercially available in the U.S. more than a decade later.

Weinberg claims gun rights activists have intimidated gun shop owners from selling smart guns in fear of starting the three-year countdown and that the law was used “from the East Coast to the West Coast by certain parts of the gun advocacy community … to lobby against the research, development, manufacture or sale of such handgun.”

Many gun rights advocates have opposed the new bill because they don’t want any government mandates imposed on them or customized guns forced into the market.

Weinberg said that when she proposed a deal with the National Rifle Association to not interfere with the development of smart gun technology in exchange for repealing the 2002 law, she was met with silence.

Bach said that he is unconvinced that smart gun technology is ready to be rolled out, and that lawmakers should allow the technology to develop organically without interfering with it.

Smart Gun Technology

Notable smart gun technology being developed comes from the Israel-based startup Clipfort, whose fingerprint sensor-equipped magazines prevent unauthorized use, according to a recent report by Bloomberg.

The fingerprint sensor on the bottom of the gun clip is programmed at purchase to match the owner’s fingerprint, which works 99,999 times out of 100,000.

The biometric authentication process takes approximately 0.7 seconds, and once matched, the clip is able to load bullets until the magazine is removed from the gun.

The magazines are developed for the M16 rifle and a range of pistols, while the clips will sell for $150 to $200 and can be refilled with new bullets.

The startup has already raised $2 million from investors and is seeking an additional $4 million by year end.

Previously reported, a California state senator introduced a measure in March that details various specifications that a smart gun sold in California State would have to adhere to before it could be given to another person.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.