Eugene Volokh is looking for some input into a law review topic of smart guns and the Second Amendment.Â Some thoughts:
The electromagnetic pulse problem can be solved with shielding.Â You basically just need to build a Faraday cage around the sensitive electronic parts.Â The real problem is such electronics will need to rely on batteries, which either must be replaced or charged.Â The power distribution system is definitely vulnerable to EMP, and would be out in such an attack.Â Batteries might be in short supply.
Personalization requirements on smart guns could interfere with lawful self-defense in the instance where the gun is registered and assigned to a family member, and another family member requires its use for self-defense.Â In New Jersey, for instance, it’s technically unlawful to pass a firearm to your spouse, even in a self-defense situation, if that firearm is lawfully possessed by you.Â Presumably smart technology would be mandated to enforce laws regarding transferring, loaning or selling firearms.
Electrical motors and actuators, which any smart gun would presumably need to function properly, are not nearly as reliable as the mechanical linkages present in ordinary firearms.Â Motors and actuators can be made fairly reliable, but firearms need a very high degree of reliability to be useful.
I’m skeptical that smart gun technology will ever be reliable enough for the purpose of defending life.Â Certainly the problem that smart guns purportedly aim to solve can be more easily and cheaply solved by a quality, quick open handgun safe.Â Given that, smart guns seem like a solution in search of a problem.