This is the way freedom works if you’re a gun rights supporter of a certain type:
Andy Raymond, the co-owner of Engage Armament, had decided to offer the Armatix iP1 smart gun, despite the furor it had caused in California. He was fiercely opposed, he said, to banning the sale of any kind of gun and thought smart guns could expand the market for firearms to buyers concerned about safety.
But after word spread that he would sell the gun, vehement protests emerged online, with people calling him a traitor, a communist and various expletives. The protests were fueled, in part, by gun rights blogs alerting gun owners to Raymond’s plans. Although Raymond doesn’t think the NRA was behind the attacks, the organization later tweeted news that Raymond had backed down.
During the blitz of calls and e-mails, someone told one of Raymond’s workers that the store wouldn’t sell the gun because there wouldn’t be a store; it would be burned down.
At another point, Raymond picked up the phone and said, “Hi, this is Andy. How can I help you?” The caller asked, “You’re the guys selling the smart gun?” Raymond tried to reason with him. But the caller said, “You’re going to get what’s coming to you, [expletive].”
Raymond took that as a death threat. Even his dog, Brutus, did not escape the vitriol.
This isn’t the only case:
Belinda Padilla does not pick up unknown calls anymore, not since someone posted her cellphone number on an online forum for gun enthusiasts. A few fuming-mad voice mail messages and heavy breathers were all it took.
Then someone snapped pictures of the address where she has a P.O. box and put those online, too. In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. “Belinda?” the person wrote. “Is that you?”
Her offense? Trying to market and sell a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it. Ms. Padilla and the manufacturer she works for, Armatix, intended to make the weapon the first “smart gun” for sale in the United States.
and here’s one of those gun rights guys:
Mr. Keane said the industry did not oppose developing the technology. But, he added, “No. 1, the technology is not ready. No. 2, we believe the market ought to work.” Of the Armatix episode in California, he said, “They tried to put the product on the market, and the market reacted.”
That would be the general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for gun manufacturers. Obviously he believes that part of the way a market works is with death threats.