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New Jersey's latest gun law could be a big problem for gun retailers

Using smart guns as a 'Trojan Horse' for future restrictions

Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new gun bill signed into law by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has caused concerns among state gun rights advocates who fear the law will be used as a "Trojan Horse" to enact further restrictions on gun sales and ownership, according to NJ.com.

The law, Senate Bill No. 101, authorizes the creation of a commission to establish standards for so-called "smart guns," and will eventually require that every gun retailer in the state offer at least one smart gun for sale.

Smart guns, also referred to as personalized handguns or child-proof guns in the law, are firearms that are designed to only be fired by the owner using fingerprint or other identification technology. That technology is still in development, and the guns, at this stage, can be extremely expensive.

Previous state law regarding smart guns mandated that retailers would be required to sell only smart guns once they became marketable nationwide. Gov. Murphy said that 2002 law led to gun lobbyists actively suppressing the development of smart gun technology.

"Swapping one failed mandate for another dooms smart guns to failure," said Scott Bach, the head of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs. Bach also accused legislators of "using [the law] as a vehicle to ban everything else."

The law allows six months for the establishment of the Personalized Handgun Authorization Commission, which will determine performance standards and qualifying criteria for the smart guns that retailers will eventually be required to offer.

Once the first smart gun has been added to the approved roster by the commission, state retailers have 60 days to put at least one of them on sale and to post informational material "conspicuously" within the store detailing the features offered by smart guns that are not offered by traditional weapons.

Senate Bill 101 also removed a provision that "requires the Superintendent of State Police to issue an exemption certificate to any firearms retail dealer who demonstrates undue hardship."

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