Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Judge Allows Canadian Case that Seeks Mandatory “Smart Gun” Tech to Proceed

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Judge Allows Canadian Case that Seeks Mandatory “Smart Gun” Tech to Proceed

This month, a judge hearing a lawsuit in a Canadian court against U.S. gun maker Smith & Wesson issued a decision that could pave the way for mandatory “smart gun” technology on firearms marketed and sold in Canada.

The case arose from the acts of a criminal who used a stolen Smith & Wesson handgun in a 2018 attack in the Ontario district of Danforth.

It is a basic precept of law that a person or entity is not responsible for criminal acts of third parties, unless the person or entity has certain preexisting relationships with the crimes perpetrator or victim.

Nevertheless, gun control advocates have longed for the day when courts will hold firearm manufacturers and dealers responsible for the acts of unaffiliated criminals. The reason is simple: no industry could survive if it were legally liable for the behavior of millions of people it could not control.

In the United States, most suits of this sort are explicitly prohibited by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). Joe Biden has pledged to repeal this law, most recently in statements made earlier this month.

Meanwhile, gun control advocates in Canada are hoping to succeed where their counterparts in the U.S. have failed by suing Smith & Wesson for the crimes of the Danforth killer.

 The plaintiffs claim Smith & Wesson is responsible for the crimes because of “defects” in the design of the handgun the perpetrator used. Those defects, they claim, arose from its lack of “smart gun” technology that limits the firearms operation to an authorized user.

Needless to say, if Smith & Wesson is negligent for this supposed “defect,” so is virtually every other gun maker doing business in Canada. While firearms have occasionally been brought to market that claim to employ some sort of “authorized user technology,” none have captured the confidence or dollars of a critical mass of the gun-buying public to be commercially viable.

 Its easy to see why. First are the technical challenges. A firearm used for self-defense has to work in all weather and all conditions, including when the users hands are gloved, when the non-dominant hand is used, when the firearm is covered in blood or other foreign substances, etc. There is nothing more useless than a firearm that wont operate in the midst of an unpredictable life-threatening emergency.

And its also easy to imagine wanting a friendly bystander to be able to help if the primary defender loses control of a firearm during a struggle. 

There is additionally the fear, well-established with mobile phone technology, that whatever “smart gun” electronics were incorporated into the gun could also be used to gather and report more information accessible to third parties than its user might not appreciate or want. Some proposed “smart gun” designs even allow for remote disabling of the gun.

Cost is another factor, with “smart” features likely to add significantly to the price of a firearm.

For these and other reasons, “smart gun” technology remains mostly a theoretical concept.

But that hasnt stopped gun control advocates – again, including Joe Biden -- from hoping to mandate its use. After all, what gun control advocate doesnt favor a rule that would make firearms more expensive, more difficult to obtain, and less attractive to potential buyers?

Needless to say, the NRA is not against technological advances in firearms that would provide more choices for gun owners, including those who, for whatever reason, believe user-authorized technology would be the right option for them. We do, however, vigorously oppose the government creating mandatory “safety standards” for gun design that are of disputable utility and only limit what kinds of firearms consumers could own.

Canadian law does not require firearms to have “smart” features. Nevertheless, because the technology is at least theoretically available, the judge in the Danforth case said its at least arguable that Smith & Wesson had a legal duty to incorporate it into the firearms it sells. “A manufacturer has a duty to make reasonable efforts to reduce any risk to life and limb that may be inherent in its design,” he wrote.

Its hard to see how it is “reasonable” to claim a manufacturer is culpable for rejecting technology that has failed to gain any appreciable presence or demand in the marketplace. To cite another example, electric cars are far more common than “smart guns,” and they supposedly reduce damaging emissions. But is the maker of a gasoline-powered vehicle therefore legally liable to anybody claiming harm from the C02 it discharges into the atmosphere? The “logic” of this decision would suggest so.

Judicial activism, it seems, is not limited to the United States.

The case is still in an early stage of litigation, and the plaintiffs will have to make challenging showings of fact if the matter ever goes to trial. Nevertheless, the mere expense of defending against litigation can inflict mortal damage to a company or force it to alter its otherwise legal activities. 

You therefore can be sure that gun control advocates in the U.S. are closely watching this case, hoping to gain insights that might provide advantages in their own efforts.

Proponents of the Second Amendments should be watching it, too. 

IN THIS ARTICLE
Canada smart guns
TRENDING NOW
H.R. 127 – A Bill Designed to Express Hostility Toward Law-Abiding Gun Owners

News  

Thursday, February 11, 2021

H.R. 127 – A Bill Designed to Express Hostility Toward Law-Abiding Gun Owners

All gun control bills share the same basic goal: a world in which fewer people own firearms. Some bills simply ban certain types of firearms or ammunition outright. Others place obstacles in the path of ...

Report: House of Representatives to Vote on Two Gun Control Bills!

News  

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Report: House of Representatives to Vote on Two Gun Control Bills!

According to reports from Capitol Hill, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on two gun control bills as early as next week. The first bill, so-called “universal” background check legislation, would criminalize ...

March for Our Lives Issues Biden His Marching Orders

News  

Monday, March 1, 2021

March for Our Lives Issues Biden His Marching Orders

It’s widely understood that the current occupants of the White House, the Biden-Harris Administration, have positioned themselves as the most anti-gun team this country has ever seen on Pennsylvania Avenue. Leading up to the 2020 ...

Second Amendment Skeptic Merrick Garland Moves Closer to Confirmation as U.S. Attorney General

News  

Monday, March 1, 2021

Second Amendment Skeptic Merrick Garland Moves Closer to Confirmation as U.S. Attorney General

This week, hearings were held on the nomination of Merrick Garland for U.S. attorney general, with a final vote on confirmation expected to come next week. The prospect for gun owners is that the nation’s ...

Friday, February 5, 2021

Florida Alert! H.R. 127 - Federal Gun Control Proposal

Much is being said about H.R. 127 By Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) 117th Congress and we have had many folks contacting us seeking information. 

The California Model: Soft on Violent Firearm Crimes, Hard on Law-Abiding Gun Owners

News  

Monday, March 1, 2021

The California Model: Soft on Violent Firearm Crimes, Hard on Law-Abiding Gun Owners

A frustrating aspect of the modern gun control movement is its seeming abandonment of reason. The same anti-gun politicians that attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners will advocate for more lenient treatment of those ...

Ninth Circuit to Hear Case Challenging California’s Magazine Ban En Banc

News  

Friday, February 26, 2021

Ninth Circuit to Hear Case Challenging California’s Magazine Ban En Banc

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit granted en banc review of an NRA-ILA backed lawsuit challenging California’s ban on magazines containing more than ten rounds.

NRA Victory in Washington Court of Appeals

News  

Monday, February 22, 2021

NRA Victory in Washington Court of Appeals

The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action applauds a decision by the Washington Court of Appeals today that upheld the state's preemption law and struck down a pair of local ordinances that restricted the ...

New Hampshire: House Passes Self-Defense Legislation

Friday, February 26, 2021

New Hampshire: House Passes Self-Defense Legislation

Yesterday, the House of Representatives held a floor vote on self-defense legislation, House Bill 197. 

Anti-gun Senators and Mayors Push Biden on Executive Gun Controls

News  

Monday, February 22, 2021

Anti-gun Senators and Mayors Push Biden on Executive Gun Controls

Following a year filled with the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread civil unrest, Americans are in no rush to enact further gun controls. According to data from a January Gallup poll, 42 percent of Americans are satisfied ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.