Thoughts on the Attorney General’s Push for Gun Control and Tracking Owners

On April 4th, US Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the US House Appropriations Committee to justify his request to expand the 2014 Department of Justice’s annual budget to $382M. The expanded budget includes provisions to spend $2M on what Holder explained as “Gun Safety Technology” that is central to what he deems as “common sense gun control”. Problem is, it would require millions of Americans to wear identification marking them as gun owners, is grossly cost prohibitive, runs counter to the Constitution, and more to the point can be easily exploited.

RFIDThis all stems from the recent advent of the notorious Armatix iP1 “Smart” gun, by German gun-maker Armatix GmbH that first made its appearance in California earlier this year at the Oak Tree Gun Club. The 22LR pistol, which was to retail for about $1,399, also required the separate purchase of a wristwatch for another $400. The watch was equipped with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that, due to proximity, would “unlock” the pistol for use by the wearer. The concept was touted as an innovative measure to ensure only “the right person” could use the weapon. The resulting public backlash against Oak Tree was so overwhelming the owner, James Mitchell, pulled the product literally days before it was to go on retail.  While never publicly disclosing the reason for the planned sale and cancellation, many speculated it because of an overlooked piece of 2002 New Jersey legislation Mitchell was apparently unaware of, and that Armatix neglected to mention. See in 2002 a little-oft mentioned piece of gun control legislation was passed in New Jersey that stated the moment any “smart gun” went on sale in the US, all handguns in New Jersey would be required to be fitted with smart technology – effectively opening the door wide for similar nationalized gun control measures. Not to be outdone in the Progressives zeal for gun control Sen. Ed Marley (D – Mass.) introduced in February the “Handgun Trigger Safety Act” that would require nationalized compliance of biometrics to all handguns manufactured, sold, or traded in America within three years of its passage.  (Rosenwald, Calif. store backs away from smart guns after outcry from 2nd Amendment activists 2014) (Rosenwald, For Chris Christie, a smart gun problem? 2014) (Eger 2014)

Back in Washington last Friday, Holder maintained in his testimony his personal view on gun control,

I think that one of the things that we learned when we were trying to get passed those common sense reforms last year, Vice President Biden and I had a meeting with a group of technology people and we talked about how guns can be made more safe. By making [guns] either through finger print identification [or RFID], the gun talks to a bracelet or something that you might wear, how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon. (Harrington 2014)

eric-holder-apSo basically, in the eyes of the US Attorney General, gun owners need to be forced to wear identification bracelets to exercise their 2nd Amendment; which, any time a gun owner does use their weapon that’s exactly what they’re doing. Exercising their Constitutionally ensured 2nd Amendment right to bear arms that “shall not be infringed”. But by masking gun control as an act of “making people safe”, Holder goes on saying,

It’s those kinds of things that I think we want to try to explore so that we can make sure that people have the ability to enjoy their Second Amendment rights, but at the same time decreasing the misuse of weapons that lead to the kinds of things that we see on a daily basis. (Harrington 2014)

Armatix-iP1-pistol-with-RFID-watchCompletely overlooking that fact that criminals are “somewhat” less than likely to purchase RFID watches in the exercise of their activities; it is clear these gun control measures envisioned by Holder and his political denizens are focused only on limiting the accessibility and rights of legitimate gun owners. Never mind the fact that smart gun technology is largely unproven to assist in deterring crime and unreliable. If one wears gloves, or the weapon becomes slick in moisture, it can interfere with a solid connection to the fingerprint reader. Or if a homeowner is sustaining a home invasion I doubt very much they will be able to ask the criminal to “hold on a minute while I find my gun watch”.

But perhaps the more disturbing portion to this is the implications of what the most powerful attorney in America, and the government, is attempting to do with regards to guns and gun owners. Basically, the fingerprint readers offer a means to confirm identity. But they have to be registered with a database that refreshes the scan and ensures the individual being scanned matches the file on record. Thus requiring each reader to every gun being registered to that individual. See where this goes?

More disturbing is the RFID option, a technology proven easily exploitable by malicious encoders to steal identification or access. Added to this is the use between watch (or bracelet) and firearm, a method that would require a wireless signal. Thus a signal identifying the date and time, location, individual, and registered item being accessed can easily be recorded for later collection. It’s already being done with wireless gateways when Google Maps drives by. So what’s to make you think the government wouldn’t be very interested in collecting the activities and weapons used by the gun owning public? Oppositely, don’t think that RFID signal can’t be intercepted, thus when you need it most rendering your weapon inoperable? Kind of puts that whole “Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center” the NSA is building in Utah, and its admitted collection against US citizens in a whole new light doesn’t it? Wake up sheep, because if you don’t before you know it we’ll all be wearing bracelets or numbers under the guise of “for public safety”.

Works Cited

Eger, Chris. Attorney General Eric Holder advocates smart gun technology to Congress (VIDEO). April 8, 2014. http://www.guns.com/2014/04/08/eric-holder-tells-congress-bracelets-gun-owners-decreasing-misuse-video/ (accessed April 8, 2014).

Harrington, Elizabeth. Holder: We want to explore gun tracking bracelets. April 8, 2014. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/08/holder-want-to-explore-gun-tracking-bracelets/ (accessed April 8, 2014).

Rosenwald, Michael S. Calif. store backs away from smart guns after outcry from 2nd Amendment activists. March 6, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/california-smart-gun-store-pro…acklash/2014/03/06/43432058-a544-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html (accessed April 8, 2014).

—. For Chris Christie, a smart gun problem? February 19, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/local/wp/2014/02/19/for-chris-christie-a-smart-gun-problem/ (accessed April 8, 2014).

 

 

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