On January 17th, 2017, Arizona State Representative Paul Boyer introduced House Bill 2216, a piece of legislation which would ban the mandatory tracking of firearms with blockchain technology. The bill provides exceptions for firearm owners who voluntarily agree in writing to having their firearm tracked with blockchain technology, as well as an exception allowing law enforcement officers, who have obtained a valid search warrant, to use electronic firearms tracking technology in order to locate a person or firearm that is the subject of a criminal investigation.
The bill appears to be a preemptive ban on any future mandatory systems of tracking firearms electronically, not just by blockchain. Section 1 (a) of the bill states, “It is unlawful to require a person to use or be subject to electronic firearm tracking technology or to disclose any identifiable information about the person or the person’s firearm for the purpose of using electronic firearm tracking technology.” In section D of the bill, the term electronic firearm tracking technology is defined as, “a platform, system or device or a group of systems or devices that uses a shared ledger, distributed ledger or block chain technology or any other similar form of technology or electronic database for the purpose of storing information in a decentralized or centralized way, that is not owned or controlled by any single person or entity and that is used to locate or control the use of a firearm.”
While the bill may be being sold as a way to prevent a citizen gun registry and tracking program, it is possible the intent of the bill is also to prevent the tracking of government firearms. There have already been efforts to create a blockchain to track firearms. An initiative by the Ideo coLAB referred to as the “Glockchain” aimed to create a smart gun that would have hardware embedded in it to allow a transaction to be broadcast to the blockchain every time a gun is drawn or fired. The Glockchain concept was proposed as a way to create greater police accountability.
If enacted, HB 2216 would make it a Class 6 felony to require a person to use or be subject to electronic firearms tracking technology, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or a $150,000 fine. It would also make it a Class 6 felony to “to disclose any identifiable information about the person or the person’s firearm for the purpose of using electronic firearm tracking technology.” On January 26th, the bill passed the House Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety by a vote of 6-3. On January 30th, the bill was unanimously passed by the Rules Committee by a vote of 9-0. House Bill 2216 passed the full Arizona House of Representatives on February 6th, by a vote of 34-25-1. The bill is now being considered in the Arizona state Senate.