New Jersey's new "smart gun" law is a disaster in the making

As soon as New Jersey’s new Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, arrived in office he began working with the Democratic majority in the legislature to pass onerous gun control laws. Not satisfied with that effort, he’s now rolled out a new package of legislation along the same lines, referring to it as “Gun Safety Package 2.0.” One of the chief elements of this new legislation deals with so-called “smart guns” and mandates regarding their availability in the Garden State. (

New Jersey’s already strict firearm laws got even tougher Tuesday as Gov. Phil Murphy signed four new gun control bills into law — including one designed to make personalized “smart guns” more easily available in the state.

It comes a little more than a year after Murphy signed six firearm laws, vowing to make New Jersey a national leader in “common-sense” gun safety. The Democratic governor has championed the latest laws as his “Gun Safety Package 2.0.” …

The legislation repeals at 2002 state law that mandated smart guns be sold here only once they became marketable anywhere in the country. That, Murphy said, created a loophole that slowed the production of such guns.

The new law requires every gun retailer in the Garden State to sell at least one smart gun.

This measure repeals a 2002 law that was going to make the sale of smart guns mandatory but would not take effect until they were available across the entire country. The Governor refers to that as a “loophole” instead of just common sense. Under this new law (which takes effect immediately) gun dealers will be forced to stock and offer at least one model of smart gun after a commission is set up in six months to develop a list of approved weapons.

This law still isn’t as bad as it might be… yet. It only says that the guns have to be available for purchase. But it clearly paves the way for later legislation demanding that only smart guns be sold or owned in the state. That’s a terrible policy for several reasons.

First of all, smart gun technology is in development, but it’s still far from perfect. Assuming you find one that works every time, they still take too long to draw and prepare to fire. And a firearm that won’t function when needed is about as useful as a brick. On top of that, they tend to be insanely expensive.

Further, just from a small government conservative perspective, having the government demanding that private retailers sell this or that product is simply bad policy. And banning them from selling otherwise legal products is even worse. And I won’t even get started on the Second Amendment issues being raised.

I realize that many conservatives had plenty of complaints about Chis Christie by the end of the 2016 election cycle and, to be fair, he gave us reasons to carp. But this is a reminder of the positive effect he had on the state as governor. He had to go RINO a number of times because of the blue nature of New Jersey, but he kept some of the worst impulses of Democrats in check on several issues, including gun control. Now, with the Democrats in charge of the entire government again, all bets are off.

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