When Oak Tree Gun Club owner James Mitchell decided to be the first U.S. seller of the Armatix iP1 smart gun, he opened the flood gates to such widespread animosity from gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters that it would threaten the continued existence of his store.
In October of 2013, the National Shooting Sports Foundation polled 1200 Americans on smart guns and smart gun technology. Seventy four percent said the guns were not reliable, 81% said they would NOT buy a smart gun, and 70% said the government should not mandate use of the technology.
But the story of Mitchell’s enthusiastic support for the iP1, a pistol that features “smart gun technology,”–that is, a gun designed to fire only for its officially recognized owner–had already gone viral. Mitchell had long before leased office space in his store to Armatix; he had built a special display area for the .22 caliber, LR product and dedicated a portion of his pistol range to the exclusive demonstration and test-firing of the pistol.
In February, the Washington Post reported smart gun technology to at last be available to gun buyers. “Electronic chips inside the gun communicate with a watch that can be purchased with the gun, making it impossible to fire without the watch. Gun control advocates, who believe smart guns could reduce gun violence, suicides and accidental shootings, marked the moment as a milestone.”
The Post also reported that, according to the “extremely pro-gun Mitchell,” the iP1 could “…revolutionize the gun industry.”
But unfortunately, in addition to revolutionizing the gun industry, the anti-gun left was equally determined to revolutionize the rules of gun ownership.
For on February 20th, Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey introduced a bill entitled the Handgun Trigger Safety Act (S-2068). According to the Act, smart gun technology must be included on ALL handguns within 2 years of the law’s passage. And within 3 years, “…all pre-smart” handguns will become illegal to sell … until they are retrofitted with the technology.” It is already existing statute in New Jersey that within 3 years of the very first smart gun sale anywhere in the nation, “…only those handguns with the new ‘feature’ will be legal to buy in the state (except by ‘Only Ones’ [police] and other government hired muscle).”
How much will smart gun retrofitting cost America’s gun owners? Not a thing, as Sen. Markey’s bill also mandates all existing handguns be made into smart guns FREE OF CHARGE by the nation’s gun manufacturers. Rather a clever way to bankrupt every company that makes pistols in the United States, isn’t it!
So not only will the nation’s anti-gun politicians have a field day dismantling both the 2nd Amendment and the country’s gun makers; it will all be accomplished in the name of a firearm manufacturer, Armatix, which proudly guarantees their product will determine “…with 90 percent accuracy, whether a gun was being held by a person wearing a watch meant to pair with the firearm.”
Huh? Does that mean one shot in every 10 round magazine might be fired by someone not meant to be able to use the weapon? Or is Armatix saying that the gun might misfire 10% of the time?
Either way, the Examiner reports Oak Tree owner Mitchell “…is facing a furious backlash from customers and gun rights advocates who fear the new technology will encroach on their Second Amendment rights if it becomes mandated.” And make no mistake–James Mitchell was DEPENDING upon the state and/or federal governments to mandate the purchase of smart guns in order that he might cash in. For even in California, who in their right mind would pay the Armatix asking price of $1,399 dollars for the pistol, plus another $399 for the companion watch when the manufacturer guarantees their pistol to function properly only 90% of the time?
In 2010, my Glock 23–a .40 caliber pistol that fires EVERY time–was $525.
“These people are anti-gunners,” said a customer on the Oak Tree Facebook page. “If you care about the ability to exercise your [Second Amendment] rights, I would suggest that you do not continue to frequent this place,” added another.
So distressed is James Mitchell by the nationwide animosity resulting from his having gone “all in” with Armatix that he is RUNNING, not walking back the story of his relationship with the company. In fact, the Oak Tree owner now effectively claims to have never even HEARD of the smart gun manufacturer! (What leased space? What exclusive right to sell the gun? What remodeling of his store and pistol range?) According to Mr. Mitchell, “our facility does NOT carry the Armatix pistol, never has, and the comment (that Oak Tree was) ‘the only outlet in the country selling the [Armatix] iP1′ was taken out of context in an interview conducted by the Washington Post.” This from the gun store whose address Armatix “… lists on its importation FFL as its premises.”
Like so many before him, self described “pro-gun conservative” James Mitchell found discretion to be the better part of valor and cancelled plans to make a bundle by embracing the smart gun agenda of the gun-grabbing left.
No one should wish that bad things happen to a businessman for wanting to make a profit. In Mr. Mitchell’s case, one might make an exception.
Photo credit: Mike Saechang (Creative Commons)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom