I would like to respond to the article by Joanne Palmer that was published on June 26, 2015 about Rabbi Joel Mosbacher and his mission to bring smart gun technology to the market. The biggest impediment to bringing smart guns to the market is the New Jersey smart gun mandate that was passed with the strong support of State Senator Loretta Weinberg. This law mandates that once a smart gun is sold anywhere in the country, that within three years that will be the only gun that can be sold in New Jersey. This law needs to be repealed in its entirety, because it will keep this technology from coming to the market and it will also serve as a de facto ban on handguns, thus violating the Second Amendment.
Second Amendment supporters stand together nationwide to fight attacks on our liberty by individuals like Loretta Weinberger and will never sell smart guns as long as doing so will trigger the New Jersey smart gun law. We saw this recently when the Oaktree Gun Club in California put such a firearm on the market and quickly took it off of its shelf when they realized the impact it would have in New Jersey. Therefore, New Jersey will have to take a more practical approach if it wishes to impact the advancement of firearm technology.
The safe gun law is also a transparent yet subtle attempt to do nothing other than make firearm ownership more restrictive for law-abiding New Jersey residents. It will limit their access to only a few firearms that will be vastly inferior and more expensive than firearms available in other states. The smart gun law is clearly not geared towards its stated purpose of promoting the technology by guaranteeing a market to manufacturers. If that were the case, instead of such a mandate, New Jersey would enter into agreements with manufacturers to purchase these firearms for use by law enforcement. Not only would this guarantee the manufacturer a high volume of sales, but having the product in use by law enforcement would be great marketing for the general public. Instead, the law exempts law enforcement from its effects.
There is no reason whatsoever to exempt law enforcement from this law. The sole difference between a police officer’s right to use a firearm and a regular citizen’s is that a citizen has a duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, whereas a police officer is prohibited from retreating. This technology creates no practical difference that warrants different treatment between law enforcement and the public. If the technology is not good enough for our police officers, it is also not good enough for law-abiding citizens who have the right to defend themselves.
Moreover, the underlying tone of the article warranted placing it into the editorial section rather than as a news story. The author states that it would be understandable for Rabbi Mosbacher to want to ban all guns, presumably because his father was murdered with a firearm.
Like it or not, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The irony that one of the laws that was held unconstitutional was the same law that put Lester Mosbacher’s murderer on notice that Mr. Mosbacher would be unarmed was apparently lost on Joanne Palmer. Moreover, I have seen previous articles in this publication that have had a heavy slant towards impeding upon the Second Amendment.
Recent Supreme Court decisions on firearm rights guarantee that our society will have to deal with the reality of armed criminals into the foreseeable future and disarming the law-abiding citizens will only serve to make criminals more dangerous. Therefore we need to consider how to make ourselves safer within this context and should look to repeal many of the laws that disarm our law-abiding citizenry against criminals who do not adhere to these laws.
As the right to bear arms is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, it is intellectually dishonest to advocate for laws that infringe upon these rights just because one does not agree with the Second Amendment, while also advocating against restrictions on other fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech, abortion, or even marriage. Would it be acceptable to those who supported the New Jersey smart gun law to require all abortions performed within New Jersey to be performed only using tools that significantly raise the price of the procedure and thereby reduce the number of medical providers who can provide the procedure? Would it be acceptable to make it so cumbersome to obtain an abortion that it took 90 days to get the procedure performed?
New Jersey laws make obtaining a firearm so difficult that it takes months to get a permit approved. Where was the outrage in this publication when Carol Browne was murdered in June, long after applying to her local New Jersey police department for a firearms permit? Although the law states that the police have only 30 days to approve a permit, it is impossible for the police to complete the required investigation within that time period. If New Jersey adhered to the federal requirements and background check Carol Browne would have had a gun and might still be alive today.
For these reasons, New Jersey needs to eliminate its smart gun law and roll back many of its firearm laws that serve no purpose other than making it more difficult for law abiding citizens to exercise their fundamental rights. Every New Jersey firearm restriction that is unduly burdensome or does not enhance public safety needs to be eliminated.