Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Obama challenges, private sector snores

By Donald Sensing

That President Obama knows nothing about the motivations and workings of private business can hardly be illustrated better than by one of his gun control mandates that he announced today:

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
What's wrong with this picture? No doubt the president has in mind the fabled palm-print reader gun (aka biometric gun), most recently seen in Skyfall, where it saves James Bond's life by failing to fire in the hands of a bad guy who tries to shoot Bond with it.

I'll not quibble here over whether such a gun can be realistically mass produced. My quibble is with the typical Obaman weakness of language in the proposal, to wit: "challenge the private sector ... ."

Challenge? Are you kidding me? Hey private sector! You are now officially challenged! Now let's wait for awhile while the private sector leaps into action!

[Five years later] Still waiting . . .

No, if Obama was serious about biometric guns (which he is not, but let it pass) he would have said this: "I have directed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to sponsor competitions among private sector companies to develop forearm biometric systems that are reliable, transferable and economical. The winning firm shall be awarded a twenty-million-dollar prize." Or some other large dollar amount.

Mr. President, that you know exactly jack about the private sector can hardly be better evidenced than by you "challenging" private business to do anything. Businesses exist to make money, not to meet challenges. Guarantee them a profit line and/or reward for perfecting biometrics and you'll be stampeded by companies wanting in on the action. "Challenge" them and listen to the crickets chirp.

Slate wrote about biometric guns not long after Skyfall was released.

The full list of the executive orders is here.

Update: Bryan Preston says that the whole initiative amounts to nothing more than, "A national beer summit on guns."

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