Someone needs to figure out what in the wide world of dystopian Buck Rogers in the 25th-century sci-fi fantasy world is going on in Maryland’s legislature. Antigun lawmakers, there are advancing legislation that would require firearm manufacturers to attach RFID trackers to each and every firearm. As a result, government officials could use RFID gun tracking to track their whereabouts at all times.
Maryland Introduces RFID Gun Tracking Legislation
This is a clear invasion of privacy rights and Constitutional protections against illegal search-and-seizure. Not to mention, this is an idea that’s not even technologically possible. This is the stuff of Hollywood – and antigun politicians that don’t understand the first thing about firearms or manufacturing processes.
Maryland’s Delegate Pam Queen introduced HB 704, a bill titled “Firearms – Tracking Technology.” The bill’s description reads:
Prohibiting a person from engaging in a certain bulk firearm transfer unless each firearm that is part of the transfer contains a certain embedded tracker; requiring a seller or other transferor who engages in a bulk firearm transfer to transmit to the Secretary of State Police certain information; providing that a violation of the Act is a civil offense and subject to a fine of up to $2500; and requiring the Secretary to establish a certain database to store information about each bulk firearm transfer in the State.
The “embedded tracker” would be required to be fixed to the firearm frame or receiver. It has to emit unique tracking information and not be readily capable of being removed, disabled, or destroyed without rendering the firearm inoperable or destroying the frame or receiver.
To be clear, Delegate Queen would require that embedded tracker to emit this unique information to Maryland’s State Police. The State Police would permanently store the information in a state-run database. Anyone not complying with this is subject to $2,500 in fines.
Big Brother Would Watch
What this bill does would be nothing short of state authorities peering into an individual’s gun safe. The state would also know when and where a firearm moves. Regardless of whether that’s for hunting, a day at the range target shooting, or when and where an individual is legally carrying a firearm for licensed concealed carry.
This bill would require firearm manufacturers to create and include these trackers on firearms. Those exercising their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms would have to forfeit their Fourth Amendment right to privacy. Also forfeit is their right to protection from illegal search-and-seizure. Specifically, since the state would automatically collect and store this information in real-time.
This legislation would also call into question the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendment protections of Due Process. This is because it requires the government to collect information on Americans simply exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Additionally, this legislation would have a chilling effect on the exercise of Second Amendment rights. Because Marylanders would be less likely to lawfully purchase a firearm to avoid the invasion of privacy.
That’s not even taking into consideration the technological hurdles necessary to meet this requirement. Makers of so-called “smart guns,” or authorized-user technology that is supposed to allow owners to fire guns through the use of RFID emitters, fingerprint recognition or passcodes, or other technology, haven’t been able to produce a safe and reliable model.
The Obama administration made this a priority. However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) couldn’t identify a working prototype that was capable of testing.
Lawmakers with gun control in mind only think of the possibility to make it more difficult to produce firearms. California instituted a microstamping requirement. It requires every new handgun introduced to the state to be capable of transferring a unique alphanumeric code from the firing pin to a cartridge primer.
Even the patent-holder of that technology admitted during testimony that his “technology” is unreliable. And, even if it did work, criminals can easily defeat the code by simply running a nail file over the tip of the firing pin or by swapping out the firing pin. This easily happens in seconds with many models.
California’s love affair with this impossible technological requirement resulted in a dwindling number of handguns approved for sale in California. The number of handguns approved for sale has been cut by more than half since it was certified by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris in 2013.
Some products have packaging with RFID emitters, including those found at firearm retailers. They use them solely as an internal inventory tracking tool. The NSSF summarizes its position simply as “Turn It Off, Take It Off at the Checkout Counter.”
No personal information about the consumer purchasing a firearm or ammunition product should be electronically retained or stored by the merchant through the use of an RFID device affixed to the product or its packaging.
The firearm and ammunition industry believes that this is the only acceptable solution to mitigate the potential invasion of privacy. This is based on a knowledge and understanding of its consumers. The simple act of “turning off” the RFID tag coupled with physically “taking it off” the product at the point of sale is essential to ensure consumers’ rights.
Solution in Search of a Problem
Maryland’s proposed requirement tests the bounds of ludicrous. If you could fix an embedded tracker to a firearm, it would require power. This begs the question of ensuring how it would be tamperproof. If this technology relied on passive-emissions like RFID, it would still be impossible to fix to a frame or receiver that would pass tamperproof requirements.
There is already a simple solution to this issue that’s already in place. Each and every firearm produced for commercial sale has to have a unique identifier. Specifically, a serial number. It’s also already illegal for anyone to tamper with that serial number in a manner that would make it illegible.
It could be easy to laugh off legislative proposals like this as unserious, just one-off attempts to score political points. The technology doesn’t exist, and there’s no foreseeable way to create this sort of reliable embedded tracker that could withstand the pressures and energy created and harnessed by a firearm. This is one of the key technological reasons why authorized-user recognition technology has not been successfully developed.
No one in the firearm manufacturing world is laughing, though. This is demonstrative of just how far antigun lawmakers will go to eliminate Second Amendment rights. Even at the cost of privacy and the Constitutional rights of those who lawfully own firearms.
Story originally posted to NSSF.org.