Vehicle Kill Switch Amendment Sparks Debate on Gun Control

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“The federal government has mandated that all vehicles sold after 2026 must have a kill switch that can disable your vehicle based on your driving performance,” Rep. Thomas Massie “tweeted” Wednesday. “My amendment to defund that unconstitutional mandate failed tonight.”

“Here is the roll call,” Massie added, linking to the House Clerk’s “Final Vote Results” for his Part B Amendment No. 60 to H R 4820, the “Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024.” 19 Republicans joined 210 Democrats to defeat Massie’s amendment.

Gus Bilirakis (FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Mike Carey (OH), Chuck Fleischmann (TN), Andrew Garbarino (NY), Mike Garcia (CA), Garret Graves (LA), John Joyce (PA), Thomas Kean, Jr. (NJ), Kevin Kiley (CA), Young Kim (CA), David Kustoff (TN), Mike Lawler (NY), Nancy Mace (SC), Michael McCaul (TX), Zach Nunn (IA), María Elvira Salazar (FL), Chris Smith (NJ), and Glenn Thompson (PA).

 

Still, this must be a tempest in a teapot, right?

After all, didn’t a January USA Today Fact Check conclude, “No, there’s no vehicle ‘kill switch’ in Biden’s 2021 infrastructure bill”?

After that title, it was all denials until a curious admission was buried near the end of the piece:

“Whether or not the technology will become a part of the infrastructure bill’s final rule remains to be seen…”

Where Gannett Publications is concerned, it might not hurt to ask, “Who will fact-check the fact-checkers?”

Massie followed up his tweet by addressing the USA Today denials with a copy of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with an entry in the “Definitions” section circled:

The term “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology means a system that … can … passively monitor the performance of the driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired; and… prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if an impairment is detected…”

The phrasing implies that starting the car requires more than just a breathalyzer ignition interlock.

Also, there have been advances in remote car-disabling technology for quite some time.

A study from 2010 found:

“If you’re crawling through traffic in 2025 and approach a traffic light, IBM hopes it will be able to take control of your car. And according to the patent, you won’t be able to go again until it lets you. …With a laptop and customised software called CarShark, the researchers disabled the brakes of a regular family car and switched its engine off – while it was moving.”

And to show the incremental moves in development:

“In 2008, it became mandatory for all American cars to be fitted with CAN (Controller Area Network), a standard protocol for enabling all the car’s electronics to talk to each other, so there’s one part of the puzzle in place.”

OK, but what does this have to do with firearms?

Many of us have been sounding the alarm about these dangerous devices ever since we first heard about “smart guns.”

In a 2002 piece for Guns & Ammo, titled “Things to Come,” this was predicted:

But perhaps the most immediate and insidious threat we face from technology comes under the guise of “safety— for the children,” so-called “smart guns” under development and soon to be required in a state near you. Because…they’re also lobbying for another technology they developed to be required on cars— a “shutoff switch” that police can activate by remote control, making the rest of us pay for the infinitesimal fraction of drivers who lead them on car chases.

As writer Vin Suprynowicz warns (and I and some others independently predicted), this technology could be used by the police as “an `electronic master key’ to `disable’ any `smart guns’ in the house,” and be used as a pretext to “ban the manufacture of any gun that ISN’T a `smart gun’.”

So police can turn guns fitted with one “off” and incapable of firing—and that could be mandated. Anybody doubt it will be if remote shutoff technology becomes widespread?

However, it may be argued that the legal climate has evolved. The Heller and Bruen tests would rule against such an action.

No?

Consider first how the ATF and Democratic strongholds have passed “rules” on devices, semi-autos, magazines, “sensitive areas,” prior restraints, and denials of due process, all while having virtually unlimited war chests of tax plunder to drag complaints on for years.

If the Democrats win the presidency and a majority in the Senate in 2020, they will be able to change the makeup of the Supreme Court and get any reversals or results they want if the Republicans blow it in 2024.

Consider again the Republican defectors who could have swayed the vote against Massie’s amendment: Some well-known faces appear, such as Giffords’ poster Vichycon Brian Fitzpatrick, who never saw a gun he didn’t want to seize.

Similarly, Gus Bilirakis has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), which has given him an A grade and proclaimed, him “a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and has earned your vote by protecting your fundamental right to self-defense from those who attempt to eradicate it!”

Then there are the “moderates” from areas like New York and California, whose never-ending “compromises in the spirit of bipartisanship” are emblematic of why many people refer to the Republican Party as “the Stupid Party.”

What’s the harm in taking the time to write a comment here and contacting your congressman to ask, “What the hell?” if you see them standing with the Democrats (or is one of the five Republicans who did not vote)?

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