Cornyn Presses Holder on Gun Comments

Gov’t could require gun owners to wear biometric bracelets to operate firearms

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) / AP
April 17, 2014

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) is demanding answers from Attorney General Eric Holder on the Justice Department’s pursuit of "smart gun" technology, warning that the government could require all gun owners to wear biometric bracelets to operate their firearms.  

Cornyn sent a letter to the attorney general on Wednesday in response to remarks he made in testimony before a House subcommittee earlier this month, which were first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

Holder said his agency is "exploring" technology to make guns "more safe."

"By making them either through finger print identification, the gun talks to a bracelet or something that you might wear, how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon," he said.

"Your testimony has raised serious concerns for my constituents given President Obama’s track-record of acting beyond the scope of his legal authority and your hostility to the individual right to self-defense under the Second Amendment," Cornyn wrote.

Cornyn is concerned that the administration may attempt to require every gun in America to be equipped with fingerprint-reading technology and be linked to biometric bracelets.

The Texas senator asked Holder to address five questions, including if the administration is "currently exploring the possibility of and executive order requiring all firearms to possess the technological capabilities."

Cornyn also asked if the executive branch has the statutory authority to make such a move, and what it would cost per firearm to equip it with smart technology.

"Would the technological capabilities you referenced in your testimony require, or allow for, the monitoring of American citizens’ personally identifying information through a central database or registry?" he wrote.

Cornyn then raised concerns about the Justice Department infringing on the Second Amendment with its budget request for $2 million in "Gun Safety Technology" grants, which would be used to explore smart technology for firearms. Overall, Holder has requested a $382.1 million increase in spending for "gun safety" this fiscal year.

"Would it be appropriate to require law-abiding Americans to bear the cost of such technologies as a condition of exercising their fundamental constitutional rights under the Second Amendment?" Cornyn wrote.

Cornyn concluded by asking Holder to guarantee that the administration would not require guns to be linked to biometric bracelets.

"Will you assure my constituents and me that, under your supervision, the Department of Justice will not issue regulations requiring law-abiding citizens to equip their firearms with fingerprint-reading technology, or to link them to biometric bracelets?" he wrote.