During a fundraiser on Monday evening, former Vice President Joe Biden reference James Bond and the use of "smart guns" as a means of achieving gun control in the United States.
“If I get elected president of the United States of America with your help, if that happens, guns, we have the capacity now in a James Bond-style to make sure no one can pull a trigger unless their DNA and fingerprint is on it," Biden said, according to the Washington Examiner. "We have that capacity to do it now. You know it."
"But what happens? The gun manufacturers, when two folks started to sell some of those guns to two dealerships, they said, 'We’re going to shut you down.' My god, we don’t have to worry about the 2nd Amendment," Biden explained. "Imagine all the people who would be alive today if the only person who could buy a gun is qualified because of background checks and they’re the only ones that can pull the trigger? So my point is there are so many things we have the capacity to do.”
It's hard to take a presidential candidate seriously when they're talking about implementing gun control policies simply because a fictional character has that kind of technology. While it's great for fictional characters and movies, smart guns are absolutely not the answer to achieving "common sense" gun laws in America.
Smart guns require a person's fingerprint to be programed into the firearm in order for the trigger to be pulled and the gun to fire. That sounds great on paper but there are practicality issues.
1) When a person is most likely to need a gun their body is going through fight or flight. "Do I stay and attempt to take down my attacker or do I run?" That's the question gun owners often ask themselves. If they decide to fight, their adrenaline is pumping and their palms are likely sweaty. If he or she needs to pull the trigger – which no lawful gun owner ever wants to do – sweaty palms make it almost impossible for a firearm to read biometrics. Then what? The gun becomes useless when it's needed the most.
2) If a family member dies and they have a smart gun left behind, then what? It's again, useless, because the person whose DNA is programed into the firearm is no longer living. You now have a useless piece of metal. You can't sell it. You can't use it. Do you turn it over the FBI or your local Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL)? Do you leave it sitting in a gun safe?
3) Someone is interested in becoming a gun owner but they're not sure what they want to purchase. The most common way of determining the best fit is by shooting other people's guns or renting them at the gun range. That can't happen, again, if a smart gun requires DNA programming. Lawful gun owners can't take friends and family members to the gun range to try out various firearms, which can be detrimental to the shooting sports.
4) DNA. How many people will have access to your biometrics? Our fingerprints are our greatest personal identifier. No two people have the same fingerprint pattern. If a company gets their hands on your fingerprints, there's so much liability. Just look at what has happened with DNA testing kits from 23 and Me. All it takes it someone with ill intent getting their hands on your fingerprints from something awful to happen.
5) What will happen to every other firearm in the nation? Will the government suddenly come knocking on our doors and confiscating "unsmart" guns? This opens up a massive can of worms.
Next time you look to a movie for inspiration, Joe, you might want to think things through a little bit more.