Senator Weinberg Announces Updated ’Smart Gun’ Legislation

By Briana Vannozzi

It gathered more than a decade’s worth of dust on the shelf, but Senator Loretta Weinberg’s so called “smart gun” law may finally have the legs it needs to take off.

“Today I’m announcing legislation to require each firearms retailer and wholesaler in New Jersey to offer for sale a personalized handgun, also known as a smart gun,” said Senator Weinberg.

Weinberg is repealing her 2002 childproof handgun law. It required all guns sold in the state to be personalized 3 years after the technology became available. Now dealers must simply display at least one smart gun in their shop.

“My intent in advancing childproof handgun legislation more than a decade ago was to help spawn the development of this technology,” Weinberg continued.

But pushback from gun rights activists was swift and fierce. The guns never hit the shelves. The senator says in her 25 years as a lawmaker, she’s never come up against more objections to a piece of legislation. “There is not another issue that evokes the kind of vitriolic pushback, with death threats and threatening to burn down stores and personally insulting remarks, than gun safety.”

“Every year more than 30 thousand Americans are killed with guns,” said Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz. The Rabbi, with the group Do Not Stand Idly By, says from 2012 to 2013 more than 100 children were killed in unintential shootings. That’s a reality Jacob Locicero has lived since 1993 when his daughter was shot and killed.

“A lone gunman boarded the LIRR and as it left Manhattan he got up and fired 15 rounds reloaded and fired 15 more rounds before he was overcome by 3 courageous commuters,” said Locicero. He first introduced the term “smart gun” to Weinberg and has never given up the fight, despite the setbacks. When asked if he thought this would appeal to gun owners he answered “I hope so, if there’s any sanity involved.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney commented, “Everyone is fearful of someone taking their guns, all we’re saying is you have to make it available, doesn’t mean you have to buy it.”

Advocates at today’s press conference have their own theory about that.

Bryan Miller from Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence said, “This industry has refused to do what its known how to do for a simple reason, they enjoy making the money that comes from illegally trafficked handguns.”

The Senate President said he held a quorum today specifically to drop this bill. The assembly will introduce it on Monday expecting full support with hopes the governor will have it signed by the new year. But those hopes could be high, with a Republican primary on the horizon, conservative voters to woo and campaign trails to blaze.

We received a late response from Lars Dalseide, spokesperson for NRA-Institute for Legislative Action. They said “While we’re not opposed to research and development of ‘smart gun’ technology, we do oppose any government attempt to mandate the use or sale of ‘smart gun’ technology.”