Acting as an attorney prior to September 11, 2001 , I was engaged in international cases involving the federal government and with persons who posed a threat to our nation and, later, and more directly, to myself. Subsequently, under New Jersey 's strict gun control laws, I was licensed to carry a concealed weapon for personal protection.
As someone who is compelled to carry a handgun under certain circumstances, I want to applauded N.J. State Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) for her successful fight to win passage of “Smart Gun” legislation (“‘Smart gun' legislation adopted in Assembly”, The Record, November 20, 2002).
Guns, rightfully, evoke fear. And, while there are those who argue that a constitutional right to bear arms is paramount, that argument does not negate the moral obligation to insure that all possible measures of safety are taken in exercising any right. Individual rights only extend as far as the point in which they infringe on the rights of others to live in safety and security.
“Smart Guns” have yet to become a proven technology. However, Assemblywoman Weinberg's legislation does not mandate the implementation of an unproven technology, as some argue. Her proposed legislation would simply make it the law in the state of New Jersey that three years after “Smart Gun” technology is perfected, “Smart Guns” will be mandated.
When “Smart Guns” are proven to work, the benefits would include the prevention of police officers and others from being shot by their own weapons, if confiscated; the ability to choose between firing lethal and non-lethal projectiles (preventing the unnecessary taking of a life); the prevention of children and others from using guns they should not have access to; and, making inoperable, and therefore harmless, up to 500,000 guns reportedly stolen from homes each year.
The potential benefits of “Smart Guns” will be realized by creating a commercial market for them. Assemblywoman Weinberg's bill provides gun manufacturers with incentives to perfect “Smart Guns” because New Jersey , and hopefully a growing number of other states, will create a demand for them. Every law abiding gun owner, from police officer to private citizen, should appreciate the benefits of Assemblywoman Weinberg's “Smart Gun” bill becoming law.
MICHAEL J. WILDES
Paid for by Friends of Michael J. Wildes, Claudia Colbert, Treasurer