On Tuesday, Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show mocked the National Rifle Association (NRA) for opposing the sale of "smart guns," characterizing their ambivalence as irrational and self-defeating.
In a segment titled, "ShOOters," Stewart began with a story out of Maryland, where a gun shop owner had been receiving death threats from gun owners for selling a smart gun, guns that fire only if owner wearing a special watch and largely seen as a 2nd Amendment threat. Stewart made note the inappropriate death threats came from "extremists," but he still couldn't fully understand why anyone could be opposed to the sale of smart guns, most especially, the NRA.
As Stewart pointed out in his segment, the NRA's reluctance to endorse the new smart guns were due, in part, to a 2002 New Jersey law requiring all the state's gun shops to sell only smart guns once the product goes on the market anywhere in the country. However, the key legislator had a "change of heart," and she stated she would pull the law from the books if the NRA would stop opposing smart guns. While Jon Stewart saw her initial law as overreaching, he did believe the NRA should take her "change of heart" at face-value and give their endorsement of smart guns. Stewart failed to note just exactly why the NRA opposed smart guns in the first place.
On the surface, smart guns seem like a fairly clever approach to gun safety, but after close examination, red flags emerge. As Joseph Steinberg illustrated in his article with Forbes, gun owners have much to fear with smart guns: they could be used by the government to track owners, they require a power source that could lead to higher malfunctions, people may have no time to slip on the ID watch during an emergency, and high-cost technology maintenance.