Smart Gun Sales: Who Will Brave The Death Threats?

Dan Harkins

A Maryland gun shop owner just became the second dealer since March to offer smart guns for sale then immediately reconsider after facing a violent backlash from gun-rights activists who fear their Second Amendment rights will be tarnished.

Andy Raymond, owner of Engage Armament in Rockville, announced around the middle of the week that he would soon start selling the German-made Armatix iP1 smart gun, a.22-caliber pistol that employs a computer chip requiring a user to also be wearing an accompanying watch in order to fire it. Around that time, Raymond said, "If this gets more people, especially those on the fence, to go out and enjoy their Second Amendment freedoms, to go sport shooting and realize how much fun it is, then I am all for it. This is really not a bad thing."

But on Thursday, after fielding a rash of angry complaints and even some death threats that targeted not just Weaver but also his girlfriend and dog, his enthusiasm had been completely drained.

He told the Washington Post that at first he thought Maryland, which has strict gun-control laws, would more amenable for the sale of smart guns than the Los Angeles-based Oak Tree Gun Club, which encountered the same kind of backlash in March after beginning to sell them.

"If the same reaction happens here," he told the Post, "we'll be out of business." Plus, he added, "I didn't want my shop burned down."

Still, he's been outspoken about how misguided he thinks National Rifle Association members have been about protesting the sale of smart guns: "To me that is so fricking hypocritical. That the antithesis of everything that we pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment people should be. You are not supposed to say a gun should be prohibited. Then you are being no different than the anti-gun people who say an AR-15 should be prohibited."

What Second Amendment defenders are afraid of, however, is how a New Jersey law states that all guns in that state will have to be personalized within three years of smart guns going on sale anywhere in the country. California and even Congress are entertaining similar bills, according to an Inquisitr report.

In response to Weaver's decision, the New Jersey senator who sponsored that state's new gun-control law, Loretta Weinberg, said Friday she'd push state lawmakers to remove the personalization mandate if the NRA and its members would stop threatening every gun shop owner who tries to offer customers the technology as a safer alternative to other types of gun ownership. But the NRA, said its director Chris Cox, wants a "full repeal" of New Jersey's "misguided" law, according to Fox News.

In the video Weaver posted to YouTube that's available below, he apologizes to New Jersey citizens, promising that "you don't have anything to worry about from me." He also went completely off the hook by urging gun owners not to get violent with him but the legislators who pass gun-control laws. Shoot them, he said, not gun shop owners:

"If you're going to kill somebody, shoot the politicians who make these f**king laws. If that's who you want to f**king go at, shoot the people who make these laws. Take 'em out in the street, and gun 'em the f**k down. There's a goddamn reason why we got [guns]. There's a f**king reason why we got 'em. And that's to defend our f**king freedom."

[Image courtesy of Armatix]