Equipping autos with technology that makes them safer to use has greatly reduced the number of Americans killed in automobile accidents. Yet, if gun owners want to take similar precautions with their firearms, they might find themselves thwarted by some gun rights advocates.
Such was the case recently when Oak Tree Gun Club in Santa Clarita, Calif., dropped its plans to sell a .22 caliber pistol with smart gun technology because of the opposition of gun rights advocates. A “smart gun” is one that cannot be fired by anyone other than the gun owner. (One criticism is that the technology is unreliable “because anything mechanical can fail.”)
It’s regrettable enough that, although 74 percent of the National Rifle Association’s members support requiring universal background checks prior to purchasing firearms (John Hopkins poll, January 2013), the NRA leadership opposes background checks and lobbies against such safeguards.
But if gun owners want to protect young family members from accidents in the home by electing to avail themselves of such technology, they should have the right to do so. I hope gun retailers in Topeka won’t be intimidated by those whose politics and policies are out of step with the majority of Americans.