Facing Fears: Why the Gun Industry Media Must Address Smart Guns

Too contentious. Overly argumentative. Risky. Prone to heated debate. These are just a few of the reasons an overwhelming majority of the gun industry give for not wanting to address the issue of smart guns – not even from a strictly technical perspective. And, while it does stand to reason that this an issue that cannot – should not – be addressed without at least a brief sidebar discussing the various political undertones, it also stands to reason that it absolutely should not, cannot, be ignored.

Smart guns have been looming on the horizon for some time; they are not a new idea by any means. However, it is the motivation behind accelerating their creation and implementation that is suspect, not the technology itself – not to say the technology itself is entirely wise but simply to say that certain motivations and the possible outcome are concerning, to say the least.

“To fight fear, act. To increase fear – wait, put off, postpone.” (David Joseph Shwartz)

Obama has spoken of smart gun technology before but it was not until recently that it became a serious issue. Apparently annoyed by Congress’ lack of taking what he sees as the correct actions for broader gun control measures, Obama did what he has done so many times: he turned to executive orders. Although the actual text of those orders has yet to be released – a not-small detail many seem to be forgetting – the gist has been laid out. He wants NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) to run 24/7, he wants double the number of FBI and BATFE agents working, he wants to expand background checks, he wants to broaden the definition of a gun dealer…he wants, he wants, he wants. That is, after all, what these executive orders are all about: he wants it, and Congress is failing to give him his way. Of course, Congress can technically stop the orders once they’re signed, but will they? Statistically and historically speaking, it is highly unlikely Congress will lift a finger – or a pen – to halt the momentum of Obama’s gun control movement.

One of the many things Obama wants is for smart gun technology to be ramped up. In fact, part of his executive order will apparently require the Justice Department, Department of Defense, and Homeland Security to “expedite” the creation and implementation of smart gun technology. He’s given them three months to come up with a game plan, although there has been no definite word on exactly when those months begin. It seems quite safe to assume the countdown has begun.

Smart GunSmart guns. In the gun industry, the idea is met with a mixture of interest and disdain. After all, this is technology that seems fascinating on the surface but is filled with a rather enormous and potentially deadly number of pitfalls. And from a political standpoint, it’s technology that could easily lead to mandates involving making the firearms of today illegal to own or possess.  So, while some may think it could be interesting to see what the options are, it is accurate to say the entire industry believes it would need to be approached with caution due to just how high-risk an endeavor it is.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” (Plato)

When we were children there was a certain idea, a feeling, that if we could not see someone or something, they could not see us. If we were afraid of the dark, of monsters in the closet, of the boogeyman under the bed, we closed our eyes tightly and told ourselves they’d go away. Granted, this method wasn’t always a great success, but we all did it. Interestingly enough, this habit seems to pop up now and again beyond childhood into adulthood with the rationale of “If I ignore it, it will not come to pass” or, perhaps, “If I ignore it, it cannot hurt me.” Neither of these rationales is true; in fact, none of the rationale behind simply refusing to acknowledge an issue is based on solid logic of any kind. And yet it comes up time and again; here we are once more. The gun industry being presented with the issue of Obama forcing the advancement of smart gun technology. And here we are, as a startling number within the industry are playing the childhood game of squeezing their eyes shut tightly, chanting under their breath in the hopes the boogeyman will go away entirely of his own volition. Newsflash: this will not go away, it will only get worse. Ignoring it will not solve the problem, it will only make things worse in the long run.

“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” (W. Clement Stone)

It is understandable in a way why many on the media side of the industry are concerned about covering such a hot button issue. Alienating readers is a valid concern because readers do indeed tend to be a sensitive lot (I say this knowing full well some of you will find this observation insulting. Keep in mind that although I may be a writer I, too, am frequently a reader. I, too, have been known to yell at my computer screen or at a page in a magazine – but I choose to enjoy the debate, not avoid it.). Editors have lost their jobs for daring to voice controversial opinions; writers have seen their careers go down in flames for the same offense. This hypersensitivity is largely childish and needs to stop. An end to being so touchy when it comes not only to gun politics but also to various gun use opinions would be fantastic for many reasons. The leading reason is, of course, that this hypersensitivity has led to many in the media closing their mouths tightly just at the moment they should be shouting from the rooftops, but another reason is that varied opinions are a good thing, not bad, because varying opinions lead to discussion. Discussion leads to change. Change, although often painful, is frequently fantastic in the long run. There’s another reason as well, and it’s one many publications cringe away from: voicing opinions is a way of fighting back. Fighting back often leads to inflammatory results, and handling the aftermath can be difficult, to say the least.

Here’s the thing. This nation was built on a refusal to back down. Our founding fathers refused to be silent, refused to be bullied into following dictates they found to be blatant violations of what they felt were their God-given rights. If they had been easily cowed, we as a nation would not exist today. Not with the freedoms we currently possess, anyway. Fighting back is inherent to our history; no, it is inherent to our survival. And here we come to the crux of the matter: what to do when fighting back could cause a seemingly irreparable rift in a group of people that need to stick together.

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” (John F. Kennedy)

ShotgunSurprise: not all gun owners are alike. Not all gun owners belong to the NRA (or support the NRA’s actions) or Gun Owners of America and not all gun owners actively fight for their Second Amendment rights, although they are all too willing to enjoy them. Not all gun owners have their carry permits. Not all gun owners use their firearms for self-defense. Not all gun owners hunt. And although it would most likely shock and amaze the liberal left, not all gun owners actually shoot their guns. It would be all too easy to name a list of gun owners I know personally who either never shoot their guns or shoot them so rarely as to be practically meaningless. Then there are the gun owners who carry for self-defense, who take training quite seriously, and who firmly believe in the importance and responsibility of protecting innocent lives. And, of course, there are gun owners who are dedicated hunters, keeping their freezers stocked with good game meat and taking care not to waste any part of the animal. Despite their many differences, every single gun owner in this country has one thing in common: they own a gun. They own a gun because of their Second Amendment right to bear arms. If that right were to be stripped from them, they would – will – all suffer. So why won’t they all fight back?

There is a disturbing comment uttered with greater frequency than you might believe, or perhaps you have said it yourself: I care for my rights, but there are already plenty of people fighting for them. Other people go to rallies, support the NRA, write to their government representatives, and rally against restrictive laws. Other people fight, so it’s covered. No worries, right? Wrong.

Never assume someone else will fight your battles for you. Would you expect someone to pay your bills for you? Do you expect someone to feed you? Provide a roof over your head? Raise your children? Pay off your student loans? Actually, that is precisely the mindset the current administration has been not only encouraging but force-feeding Americans. When Obama first took office, one of the most-played news clips was of a woman extolling the wonders of Barack Hussein Obama, saying he is wonderful because he gives minorities free “Obama phones.” On another occasion a group of Obama voters were interviewed and asked questions to see what they knew about the government – but those questions included many giving statements made by Obama himself and asking if that voter knew who said it. Not only did they not know, they laid the blame for blatant stupidity on Republican candidates. While this may not seem relevant, it most certainly is. Obama has fostered an era of sheep, people who will follow blindly in his footsteps simply because he said so. In doing so he seems to have created a subset of people: those who are afraid to make waves. In this particular case, the case of openly discussing smart gun technology, the fear is that those waves will cause a rift in the gun world. A rift the industry cannot afford, on any level.

“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.” (Chuck Palahniuk)

Our Second Amendment rights are worth protecting. They are worth fighting for and the process of their defense is well worth potentially creating a rift. The gun industry cannot be afraid to take on smart guns for fear of upsetting readers. This is a part of an executive order that can – no, will – have an enormously negative effect on gun ownership and sales. If anyone thinks the advancement of smart gun technology will not be used to create and enforce a set of mandatory rules for gun ownership, they are so far in denial they’ve paddled their way to Egypt. This may not be and is, in fact, most likely not the intention of those working on the technology but it is undoubtedly the intention of the man in the White House today. On one hand, smart gun technology is fascinating and something to follow but on the other hand it has incredible implications. The price tag for advancing technology may well be too high to bear. That price may be the loss of Second Amendment rights.

2nd AmendIt’s time for readers to stop being so hypersensitive, and it’s time for publications to stop catering to massaging those hurt feelings. When an issue has far-reaching implications, implications that could easily have an impact on the future of gun ownership, it should be addressed. It must be addressed. Some of the opinions may upset you – may upset me – but they need to be heard. Knowledge is power, and closing your eyes and hoping the monster will go away will not only fail to help you but could easily bring about the very death you fear. Fear should not control you.

Sun Tzu once said “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”. Fear should not win the day. Fight back and fight hard. Never quit. A battle is not won with a single action, after all. This is the time for gun owners to work together defending their Second Amendment rights. Regardless of how we use our guns – hunting, self-defense, home defense, skeet or trap – we all have our fingers on the trigger, and we all benefit from this American right to bear arms.

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” (Second Amendment of the United States Constitution)

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Katherine Ainsworth

Katherine Ainsworth

Katherine is a military and political journalist with a reputation for hard-hitting, no-holds-barred articles. Her career as a writer has immersed her in the military lifestyle and given her unique insights into the various branches of service. She is a firearms aficionado and has years of experience as a K9 SAR handler, and has volunteered with multiple support-our-troops charities for more than a decade. Katherine is passionate about military issues and feels supporting service members should be the top priority for all Americans. Her areas of expertise include the military, politics, history, firearms and canine issues.
Katherine Ainsworth
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