The New Jersey legislature has approved a bill requiring that all handguns sold in the state incorporate user identification technology to prevent them from being fired by unauthorized people. "Smart guns" are not commercially available yet, but the mandate will kick in after the first one is introduced.
The bill, which Gov. James McGreevey has promised to sign, includes an exemption for police weapons. This is odd, since the chief aim of the bill is to prevent adolescent suicides. (It's not expected to have much impact on criminals, and the state has reported no accidental firearm deaths among children in recent years.) "What children have more access to guns than the children of police officers?" asks a lobbyist who fought the bill.
Then, too, a police officer who loses his gun in a struggle would surely be thankful if it could not be used against him. Perhaps the authors of the bill worried that smart guns would cost police departments too much and might not work properly in an emergency, putting officers' lives at risk by preventing them from firing. Better to use ordinary citizens as guinea pigs before investing in an uncertain technology.