Out: Expanded background checks. In: Fingerprint detection technology in all new guns?
Check the crosstabs and you’ll find that every demographic sampled thinks smart guns are a good idea — including people who own guns themselves (47/36). That surprised me. The gun owners I know tend to regard smart guns as a trojan horse for more intrusive regulations and a potentially dangerous bit of technology. If the ID recognition system built into the gun malfunctions at the wrong moment, so does your capacity for self-defense. And yet: 47/36.
The important question is the one about mandates, though. Do you support a law requiring that all guns be smart guns?
Women are +13, voters earning less than $40,000 per year are also +13, and blacks are +31. (The sample size for blacks is very small, meaning a larger margin of error, but black voters do tend to support gun control measures when polled.) Those are three pillars of the Democratic coalition; if they’re rosy on smart guns, rest assured that congressional Democrats eventually will be too. There are a few surprises, though. Young adults, another key Democratic group, are mildly opposed to a state mandate on smart gun tech; maybe that’s evidence that they really are more libertarian than older voters or maybe it too is a function of a small-ish sample. Latino voters are slightly pro-mandate, but nowhere near as much as blacks are or Democrats generally (53/16). Is that an outlier or evidence that the GOP has some room to maneuver with Latinos on gun issues? (My guess: Outlier.)
What’s not surprising is that the numbers diverge sharply depending on whether you own a gun or not. Gun owners oppose the state mandate 24/56 whereas those who live in a household without a gun support it 44/26. (People who don’t own a gun themselves but share a household with someone who does support it most of all at 52/28.) The silver lining for gun-rights fans is that Second Amendment supporters have always punched above their weight politically because of their passion for the issue. If gun owners are adamantly anti-mandate while a plurality overall are mildly pro-mandate, pols will think twice about following the topline number.
Exit quotation: “I looked right across a table at Eric Holder — yeah, the attorney general of the United States — and told him, ‘If you try to mandate my smart-gun technology, I’ll burn it down.’ The Intelligun is designed to save lives, not restrict freedom.”