So, we’ve got a technology professor at some university who thinks he has a really new, useful, good idea what to do to make firearms safer. He’s proposing that each gun has its own “log”, making a record of exactly where and when it has been fired — perhaps even contacting the police. Presumably, this feat would be accomplished by means of a GPS receiver, a computer chip of some kind, and a wireless transmitter.
And our hero then goes on to a meticulous analysis of exactly why the idea is impractical and unimplementable. He concludes:
The only thing that a system like this can do is inconvenience law-abiding gun owners. It is less effective and less reliable than existing systems while being both more expensive and more intrusive. It is, in short, just as wrongheaded and ineffective as all the other “smart gun” proposals out there.
Brilliant! Devastating! Or not. Y’see, the author is really missing the point.
Note the bolding, there. I added that, because that is the point he missed in all of this wonking about. If any smart-gun (so called) proposal is enacted into law, it will be precisely because it will inconvenience law-abiding gun owners. Only it won’t say so on the box – no, it will ostensibly be for The Children or Public Safety or one of the myriad other Orwellian cause-names that the voting public has adopted into their little black, rotten hearts. But the real purpose will remain: to simply disarm the American populance.
Note some other key points: the author has implicitly endorsed a scheme such as this that would not “inconvenience” folks. Inconvenience will presumably be defined at a later time, by someone, somewhere. All of his objections center around the practicality of implementing such a scheme as this, with nothing said about morality. Morality as in “Who in the hell are you to tell me what to do with my stuff, pal?”
Also and more chillingly, he drags out that NRA Approved Phrase “law-abiding gun owners”. Law-abiding gun owners register their weapons when the law tells them to. Law-abiding gun owners turn in their weapons for destruction when ordered to. A quick study of history shows that “law-abiding gun owners” are eventually forced to choose between being law-abiding and owning guns. When he’s at that point, maybe the author rethink his love for the law and his disdain of criminals.
This all is an example of the perils on Wonkism: trying to explain a subject so thoroughly that you lose sight of the root idea, so much that you actually bring arguments against it. Wonks tend to trip themselves up with page after page of print, when in 90% of all cases, a simple “Hands the fuck off!” would suffice quite nicely.