Dead Batteries Make Dead People: The truth about restricted-use firearms and trigger locks
April 28, 2000
Presented by the Liberty Crew at
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
Here is your chance to help unmask the biggest "gun control"
scam to date. Everyone must jump out of their foxholes and
use this information now. Here is why you must act today:
The latest "gun control" lobby trick is to call for mandatory
"safety devices" on firearms. That lobby wants everyone to
agree that federal and state "gun safety" laws are "sensible
This ploy convinces many Americans because they believe that
the government can legislate safety, and that technology can
solve any problem. For example, the front page news feature
in USA Today (April 27, 2000) beats the drum for "safety
devices" on firearms.
A long-time JPFO supporter reported his observations and
concerns about the latest calls for trigger locks and so-called
"smart gun" technology, and we added some more ideas. For the
reasons explained below, every American should question this
safety-technology rhetoric. Everyone should understand that this
"safety technology" produces "restricted-use firearms." A firearm
with an electronic lock should be called by its more accurate
name: "electronically-restricted firearm."
Use these facts and the correct terminology (below) in letters
to newspapers, media figures and government officials. We must
all act now or the Second Amendment will truly become an
historical relic. If they win, the gun prohibitionists will
be able to say "technology has rendered the Second Amendment
I. Built-in key or number coded trigger locks, such as
Safe-T-Lock, can cause real trouble.
A. Current types don't fit on small guns such as derringers and
pocket pistols. Will pocket-carry sidearms be banned because they
lack a "safety feature"?
B. Under stress, users can forget their codes or key the code
incorrectly. Even now many people forget to disengage the
safeties when under stress.
C. Built-in locks make any gun more expensive.
D. A spouse, friend, child, police officer, or Good Samaritan
who could otherwise stop a criminal attack cannot use an
injured, unconscious or absent person's firearm without the
unlocking code. Who will be responsible for the "stupid gun"
that cost a person's life?
II. "Smart gun" technology results in Electronically-restricted
guns (aka "stupid guns").
A. Electronic-restriction technology is supposed to personalize
firearms to specific users, so that unauthorized users cannot
shoot them. Some say that technology will be developed and
commercially available in three years. No guarantees, of
course. Will "low-tech" guns be demonized and then banned in
B. Electronic-restriction technology won't be properly field
tested in just three years. The new guns would have to be
carried and used for years by police (and perhaps military)
users to test the long-term, real-world effects of extreme
heat, extreme cold, cleaning solvents and oils, moisture,
perspiration, vibration, electromagnetic interference and
C. What happens when the internal battery wears down? Will
the gun stay locked and inoperable, or will it automatically
unlock as the battery voltage drops?
1. If the gun unlocks on low battery voltage, then any criminal
can use a stolen gun by taking out its battery.
2. If the gun stays locked on low battery voltage, then the gun
can become instantly useless at a critical time. Serious users
would have to carry spare batteries, and be prepared to install
them almost instantly.
D. Will the electronic-restriction locking devices be designed
so that they require specialized batteries? If so,
1. Like spray paint cans, glue and strike-anywhere matches, will
such batteries have to be segregated and stored in a "safe
place" out of the view of buyers?
2. Will buyers have to produce identification and sign for the
batteries -- thus registering all gun owners by a bureaucratic
3. Will batteries be relatively expensive because of their special
design and comparatively low quantities of production -- thus
making firearms ownership and use even more expensive and
inconvenient (which deters more people from having them)?
4. Will there be a different battery for every kind of electronic
(a) A wide variety of such specialized batteries would make them
harder to stock in stores and thus would make less-popular
batteries hard to find. (Ever tried to find an electronic watch
battery? There are dozens, and many are available only in certain
(b) If the batteries are unique to certain makes and models of
firearms, then users will have to stock their own batteries, and
they won't be interchangeable.
(c) Batteries stored in guns or at home have a limited shelf-life
and are constantly draining, whether they are being used or not.
(d) Will government agencies mandate certain types of batteries --
and disallow others -- for "safety" or "environmental" reasons?
E. Future technology changes seem inevitable with a new product
like the electronic-restriction device.
1. Will users have to register their electronically-restricted
firearms with the manufacturers, so that the users will receive
product improvement or recall notices?
2. If there are changes or improvements to electronic-restriction
devices, will users be required to return their firearms for the
upgrade, and certify to authorities (e.g. BATF, FBI or state
agency) that the upgrade was installed? (Registration equivalent.)
3. Will first-generation electronically-restricted firearms
become obsolete, unserviceable, or illegal when newer technology
comes along? And the batteries become unavailable?
F. What happens if the electronic-restriction chip simply breaks
down and fails? In an emergency the user will be seen jerking
and clicking and smacking the firearm, and doubtless shouting
"stupid gun!"... all to the amusement of the violent criminal.
G. Electronic-restriction technology will increase the cost of
guns, and that will put even the least expensive gun out of the
reach of poorer individuals who live in dangerous areas and need
protection the most. (Not to mention the recurring cost of
replacement batteries and the difficulty in locating unique
H. Will police scanning devices be able to detect the
electronically-restricted firearms because of the embedded chips?
If so, then
1. Police can tell who is carrying and who is not -- and harass
innocent people just for peacefully carrying a firearm.
2. Guns can be easily located during gun-seizure operations.
3. Serious criminals will be able to scan their potential
victims and choose the unarmed ones.
4. Will government agents be to electronically disable citizens'
I. When electronically-restricted firearms become are available,
the likely next step will be to make older guns illegal because
they are "unsafe."
1. With newer electronically-restricted firearms being called
"smart guns," older weapons will be called "criminal guns" or
something equally negative. The argument will be that "only
criminals would use a gun without a safety device." The new
class of criminals -- innocent firearms owners.
2. Will concealed carry laws be modified to permit concealed
carry of only bulky, electronically-restricted firearms?
3. Owners of older non-restricted guns would likely face legal
liability if their guns are misused by anyone, e.g. criminal
prosecutions or civil lawsuits for negligence in failing to
properly secure the "criminal guns."
J. Electronic-restriction chips, like nearly all electronic
devices, can suffer interference or be destroyed by strong
electromagnetic fields (radio, radar, microwave, etc.) If a
"personalized" electronic-restriction gun lock is designed to
deactivate the gun when the chip is tampered with or destroyed,
then future terrorists or criminals could electronically
disarm all civilian victims and police officers in a given
area by electromagnetic pulse emitter devices. Something as
simple as a high-powered radio transmitter, radar gun or
"taser" could jam or destroy the electronics and render the
defenders' guns useless.
K. An unauthorized helper, such as a spouse, family member,
friend, or police officer, will not be able to use an
electronically-restricted firearm for defense of self or of
the firearm's owner. Who will be liable for that "stupid gun"
that couldn't be used for lawful defense?
L. Electronic-restriction devices and other mandatory trigger
locks will usually make the firearm physically larger, and
therefore heavier, larger and bulkier -- and thus more difficult
to carry concealed. This fact uses the "safety technology" excuse
to defeat the citizens' right to carry a concealed firearm for
III. Factual Reality vs. "Smart guns," trigger locks and
A. Criminals will doubtless find ways to bypass trigger locks
and electronic-restriction chip technology -- or they will
simply manufacture regular guns without those user impediments.
Only law-abiding and peaceful citizens will be forced to use
these un-safety devices.
B. Artificially raising the cost of firearms by laws (as with
liquor during Prohibition) will create an underground market in
stolen, smuggled and homemade firearms at equal or lower prices
but without the various locking devices. Criminals will have as
many guns as they want.
C. Electronic-restriction technology and trigger locks can have
no effect on a person who uses his or her own gun to commit a
crime or to commit suicide. Even the famous gun prohibitionist
Josh Sugarman admitted that fact in his New York Times op-ed on
November 8, 1999.
D. Ballistic "fingerprints" (distinctive markings made by a gun's
barrel on a bullet fired through that barrel) can be easily changed.
The barrel and firing pin can be changed, thus modifying the
"fingerprint." Criminals won't bring modified guns to the
government to be ballistically fingerprinted.
E. Ballistic "fingerprints" have little use when the gun is
stolen. Such "fingerprints" won't prevent crime. Who cares who
the lawful owner is, when a criminal is misusing the stolen
firearm? Answer: the government will prosecute the owner for
allowing the gun to be stolen.
IV. Registering Gun Owners By Regulating Sales of Batteries
A. Electronically-restricted firearms will likely require a
specialized battery. With the wide variety of such firearms,
there will likely be a wide variety of battery styles. Thus the
battery type will identify the specific class, make or model of
B. Gun-battery buyers will likely have to prove their age using
government identification cards (e.g. drivers license or
military). This will parallel the proof of age requirements for
sales of spray paint and glue in many localities.
C. As batteries become the key to firearms operation, we can
expect that only licensed federal firearms dealers will be
permitted to sell the batteries. These dealers will have to
maintain sales records for reporting to the government.
D. As violent crime fails to diminish in spite of restricted-use
gun technology, laws will be modified to require more information
from gun battery buyers. Battery buyers will have to prove name
and residence. Eventually, background checks and waiting periods
will be imposed -- for batteries.
E. National gun battery buyer registration will do the job of
registering gun owners. If the different guns take different
batteries, then the national battery registration would give
federal authorities all lawful "smart gun" owners' identities
including the class of firearms they own.
F. Other likely restrictions will include limits on gun battery
purchases (on battery per month or per year). Gun owners will
not be permitted to stockpile batteries, so that they cannot
sell spare batteries to criminals who have stolen guns. (If your
gun battery dies, you're out of luck till you can get to the
G. Equally likely would be a requirement that gun battery buyers
not only produce full personal identification for federal record
keeping, but also present the electronically-restricted gun so
that the dealer can log the gun's serial number. (This will
"prevent" criminals from buying batteries for illegal or stolen
guns.) Full firearms registration and owner licensing could be
established using battery registration systems.
H. Imagine the bureaucrat or judge who will say:
"The Second Amendment doesn't deal with batteries."
V. The "Safety Inspection" of Battery-Operated Guns
A. Because electronically-restricted (battery-operated) firearms
will be sold as "safe" guns, we can expect the governments to
insist on inspections to be sure the "safety" equipment is
working. This would be akin to automobile emissions testing and
fire marshall inspections of fire alarms and fire extinguishers
B. Owners would be expected to bring their electronically-restricted
firearms to inspection stations. As with automobiles, the owners
will be issued inspection certificates. To assure owner compliance,
the governments will keep a data base of owners identities with
firearm make, model, and serial number. The governments will use
this data to mail out safety inspection reminders, and to penalize
owners who fail to have their battery-operated guns inspected on
C. A "safety inspection" program for "smart guns" will result in
state and eventually national gun and owner registration. (Will
any judge strike down such a law on Second Amendment grounds?
No way: such laws promote "safety" and are "reasonable.")
VI. Police Have No Obligation to Protect "Stupid Gun" Owners
A. In nearly every American state, the police have no legal duty
to individual citizens to protect them from violent crime. That
rule won't change just because new laws mandate restricted-use
B. Victims whose restricted-use sidearms don't function in an
emergency will have no recourse against the government that
mandated restricted-use technology.
Now that you have this information, you can use it immediately
to work against the "gun safety device" mythology that will
destroy your right to keep and bear arms. Use it in discussions,
debates, club newsletters, calls to talk shows, letters to media.
Transmit this information everywhere, and post it on bulletin
To help you get started with a letter to the editor of a local
newspaper, here is a sample:
Suggested Title: Victims risk lives with mandated "gun safety"
(229 words) (cut length to under 150 words by deleting
the last two paragraphs)
Government officials and the victim disarmament lobby have been
pressing hard for laws to mandate trigger locks and "smart gun"
technology. Most people don't realize that these "safety
features" can actually put victims' lives at risk. Consider
Trigger locks can make a sidearm useless to anyone but the owner.
That means if the owner is injured, unconscious or absent, nobody
- -- not even a family member, friend or peace officer -- can use
the sidearm to stop a criminal attack. Who will be responsible
for the "stupid gun" that cost somebody's life?
So-called "smart guns" are actually electronically-restricted
firearms. The electronic restriction slows down the victim, but
doesn't affect the attacking criminal. What happens if the
electronic-restriction chip fails, or the battery dies? In an
emergency, the user will be jerking and clicking and smacking
the sidearm ... while the violent criminal just laughs.
Criminals doubtless will find ways to defeat or bypass trigger
locks and electronic-restriction technology, or they will simply
obtain guns without those user restrictions. Only law-abiding
peaceful citizens will be forced to use defensive sidearms that
might not work when they need them.
Ironically, while government officials are rushing to mandate
these "safety" features which make self-defense harder, they
don't tell citizens this truth: the police have no legal
obligation to protect unarmed citizens from criminal attack.
Thugs and rapists win ... again.
Copyright 2000 JPFO, Inc. Permission is granted to reproduce
this alert in full, so long as the following JPFO contact
information is included:
"For more information contact: JPFO, Inc., http://www.jpfo.org, (262)
About the author, Aaron Zelman
This article comes to you courtesy of JPFO, Inc., America's aggressive,
no-compromise, civil rights organization. JPFO offers books, booklets, children's
materials, timely articles, billboard messages and Internet e-mail alerts. Bold
strategies using these materials can motivate all Americans to celebrate and
preserve all of the Bill of Rights for all citizens -- including the fundamental
right to keep and bear arms. Contact JPFO at P.O. Box 270143, Hartford, WI
53027 or by calling (262) 673-9745. Website: