December 4, 2023

“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”? And it then followed up that headline with denial after denial until buried near the end of the piece came a curious admission:

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

Where Gannett Publications are 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 wording implies that starting the car requires more than just a breathalyzer ignition interlock.

Besides, the technology to remotely disable cars has been in development for years. From a 2010 report:

“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, fine, but what does any of this have to do with guns?

Some of us have been raising this warning flag for as long as we’ve been warning people about so-called “smart guns.” From “Things to Come,” a Guns and Ammo article I wrote in 2002:

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?

But the legal landscape has changed, some may argue. Such a move would surely fail under the Heller and Bruen tests. No?

First, look at the “rules” that ATF and edicts Democrat strongholds have passed that are obviously nothing more than in-your-face challenges to the Supreme Court on devices, semi-autos, magazines, “sensitive areas,” prior restraints and denials of due process—look at how they have virtually unlimited war chests of tax plunder to drag complaints on for years. Then pray the Republicans don’t blow it in ’24 and enable a Democrat president and majority to alter the composition of the court and achieve whatever reversals and outcomes they desire.

Back to the list of Republicans who voted against Massie’s amendment, and there are enough that they could have turned it: We see some familiar names, like Brian Fitzpatrick, Giffords’ poster Vichycon who never saw a gun he didn’t want to grab. We see others, like Gus Bilirakis, assigned an A-rating by NRA-PVF along with the assurance that he’s “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 states like New York and California whose endless “compromises in the spirit of bipartisanship” exemplify the reason why so many refer to the GOP as “the Stupid Party.”

If you see your representative siding with the Democrats (or is one of the five Republicans who did not vote), what would it hurt to take the amount of time it takes to post a comment here and contact them to ask, “What the hell?”

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea

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