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New Jersey's smart-gun law, part 2: implementation process

In the first part of this post, we discussed the emerging technology that is driving the development of so-called "smart guns." Smart guns are guns that are designed to fire only when in approved hands.

The potential benefits of such smart guns from a safety standpoint are straightforward. As we will discuss in this post, however, there are many open questions regarding how the implementation of New Jersey's smart-gun law might work.

As we noted last week, the New Jersey law requires that only smart guns be legally sold in the state within three years of their technological and commercial availability.

The New Jersey Attorney General's office has not yet issued guidance on how it will go about implementing the smart-gun law.

Unavoidably, however, there will have to be a process of review regarding the status of smart-gun options that are about to enter the retail market.

The wording of the law will obviously be a key point of departure in this review. In particular, the language of the law addresses when smart guns - called "personalized guns" in the law - will be deemed to be available to be acquired through retail sales.

The smart-gun law states that this availability will be considered to occur "when at least one manufacturer has delivered at least one model of a personalized handgun to a registered or licensed wholesale or retail dealer in New Jersey or any other state."

Obviously there is a lot of potential interpretation involved in this language.

Once the threshold issue of availability is resolved, there will be a role to play for the New Jersey State Police. The state police will be responsible for making public an approved list of firearms that qualify for sale in New Jersey under the new smart-gun standard.

Supporters of the new law hope it will reduce gun crime. Before that can happen, however, authorities need to develop clear guidance about how it will work.

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

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