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New Jersey's smart-gun law, part 1: the emerging technology

Technology has revolutionized society in so many different ways. From the internal-combustion engine in the 19th century to smartphones in the 21st, the social implications of technological inventions have been inescapable.

Could it be that, before too long, there will not only be smartphones but "smart guns" that fire only when they are in approved hands?

In this two-part post, we will discuss this question and how it relates to a New Jersey gun law from more than 10 years ago.

The technology for so-called "smart guns" is getting increasingly close.

A German-based company has developed a personalized pistol that requires a digital watch with a personal identification number to unlock. The idea is that if someone who isn't authorized to use the gun grabs it, the gun will deactivate itself.

Another company, based in Utah, is working on a locking system that uses fingerprints. The company hopes to begin selling this "Intelligun" next month.

Meanwhile, researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology are doing their own work on developing a personalized gun that will recognize the grip of its owner.

These are only a few examples of smart-gun systems. There are others as well, including one that involves inserting an electronic chip into someone's hand.

More than a decade ago, New Jersey legislators saw the possibility of smart guns like this being developed. And so New Jersey passed a law stating that within three years of the operational appearance of the applicable technology, only smart-gun sales would be allowed in the state.

Many issues remain, however, regarding the implementation of the law and its relation to gun crime. We will discuss those in part two of this post.

Source: CNN, "Smart gun technology could set New Jersey law into motion," Chris Boyette, Nov. 23, 2013

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