I read an interesting blog post discussing a proposed New Jersey law that would require each gun sold to contain a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip with the owners personal information. Tagging guns with RFID chips is a rather bad idea, as discussed below:
Background information on RFID Tags
As Wikipedia states, a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag is an object that can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. Such tags can easily be read from yards away, and with more powerful equipment, one can read such tags from a great distance. These tags are currently used to prevent theft at retail stores, to track and inventory packages, to allow for the identification of lost dogs, and in US passports. While incredibly useful, RFID tags pose a huge privacy problem, as anyone with an RFID scanner can read the tags at a distance – allowing criminals to commit identity theft. After the US government began placing RFID chips in passports, there was this concern about privacy, as well as the possibility of terrorists targeting US citizens abroad for abduction, after reading their passport RFID information. Concerned parties went as far as to put together guides on blocking or destroying RFID tags.
The problem with putting RFID tags in guns
As discussed above, RFID tags can be read at a distance by anyone with an RFID tag reader. Such readers are not all that expensive, and can readily be purchased online. A gun with an RFID chip could be read at a distance by a criminal, allowing that criminal to learn the name, address, or other personal information of the citizen. It could also be used by criminals to identify who is lawfully carrying a concealed firearm.
Also note that the supposed goal of putting RFID chips in guns -having gun easily tied to owners – can be accomplished without the use of RFID tags. The existing serial numbers, or even a small chip that could be read only after being connected to a specialized machine, would allow for gun identification without the huge privacy and safety risks inherent with the use of RFID chips that contain personal information.