THE BLOG
05/19/2014 03:26 pm ET Updated Jul 19, 2014

Smart Guns and the Right

Everybody's buying smart products. Smart phones, smart watches, with smart glasses on the way. So what about smart guns?

Armatix is marketing a German made pistol that has a unique feature. To fire the gun, you first punch a code into your watch. No code, the gun is locked. And cannot fire. Also, if the gun is moved more than 15 inches away from the transmitter in the watch, the same result.

There are a number of benefits to this system. It protects children, who occasionally experiment with what they find in the house. It prevents some suicides, by those who use someone else's gun to take their own lives. Above all, it will help police officers, who sometimes have their guns taken away in a fight, and then turned on them. Impossible with this system.

The Right, however, is dead-set against this idea. The NRA has labeled it as part of the "anti-gunner's agenda" to ban guns for everybody. On another forum, one person went much further, writing, "I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans."

Let's take a look at some of the arguments against this technology. First, there's the concern that this will be the advance man for further gun control efforts. In fact, New Jersey passed a law requiring that once the technology was proven, all gun sales in the state would have to be smart. And then what?

So, how about another law instead, saying these guns will only be available to police officers? There are already a number of such laws in effect -- in many states you need a letter from the military or a law enforcement agency to purchase an automatic knife -- and they seem to be working reasonably well.

There is also the claim that 15 inches is too short. Will you exceed it by holding the gun over your head?

Okay, we'll make it 20 inches. Happy now?

The big one is that the gun will jam. In 1999 Colt tried to market the Z-40, with similar features. It didn't work very well. What if this new gun jams when you most need it, when your life depends on it?

First of all, technology has moved a long way since 1999. Remember what kind of cell phone you had back then? And what it could do? And not do? Today phones work well, networks perform, and you can call practically anywhere in the world quite easily.

But here's the big reality check. Guns jam. Even great guns. Especially when you're stressed or frightened.

It is absolutely true that guns are much more reliable than ever. Glock makes the best selling side arms sold in the United States because they can literally go tens of thousands of rounds without a stoppage.

But it does happen. Anybody who knows anything about pistols learns as one of the first exercises rack-tap-bang, the basic procedures for fixing a malfunction. Unlikely to be needed, but it's there when even the best gun has an off day. A friend of mine served on the police force of a local community. His duty arm was a Glock 21 in .45 cal. Yet he still received training on clearing jams.

NYPD detectives were known for the New York Reload: carrying multiple weapons. Mostly because it's quicker to grab a second -- or even a third -- gun compared to reloading. But also just in case your first pull balks, you're still in the fight.

Revolvers are still bought because, unlike automatic pistols, they are foolproof. Nothing can go wrong, unlike with an automatic pistol.

There are a lot of fans of the AR-15 platform today, of proven and demonstrated quality. One of the best versions of this is the one equipping the US military.

Despite this, our forces spend a lot of time making sure recruits know how to field strip their weapon in the dark, to clear a problem. Just in case.

Yes, this new pistol might jam. But so may an M4 or a 1911A1. Or any other weapon.

The reality is, opponents of these weapons really fear the possibility of further government intrusion. The NRA's position is that it, "does not oppose new technological developments in firearms; however, we are opposed to government mandates that require the use of expensive, unreliable features, such as grips that would read your fingerprints before the gun will fire. And NRA recognizes that the 'smart guns' issue clearly has the potential to mesh with the anti-gunner's agenda, opening the door to a ban on all guns that do not possess the government-required technology."

The paranoia goes further. Belinda Padilla of Armatix once testified before a UN panel on gun safety. She is frequently referred to as a stalking horse for efforts to impose UN gun measures on all Americans, and as a pawn of George Soros.

How about, just this once, we dial down the rhetoric, and try and protect some police officers? That just seems like a reasonable goal.