Hmmmm. So somebody who came out with a smarter, safer firearm first would have a big advantage in the New Jersey gun market. And none of the other big gun companies would want to develop their own smarter, safer firearm to keep up with the competition?
State Rep. Stephen Dargan of West Haven is co-chairman of the legislature's Public Safety Committee, and he's convinced that smart-gun technology is something that needs to be pushed.
"Technology is evolving every day," Dargan points out. "If there's a way to cut down on these horrific tragedies... we need to look at it."
Dargan says there's no doubt the gun makers will mount a major lobbying effort against any smart-gun legislation. "I'm sure there will be push-back from the industry," he says.
The ideal solution, says Looney, is to have national smart-gun legislation so that this doesn't have to become a state-by-state battle.
Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association (which is adamantly opposed to smart guns) "seems to have a pretty strong vise-grip on the U.S. House of Representatives and a pretty strong hold on the U.S. Senate as well," Looney says.
Looney points out that American auto makers, once they were forced to install all those life-saving safety devices in new cars, actually found consumers liked buying safer vehicles. Companies started competing with each other to offer the safest vehicles around.
"It would be nice if we could move in that direction on guns at some point," says Looney. "If people are going to own guns, they ought to have the safest guns possible."