I am here again to talk about smart guns. This time I will be a bit more in depth over the topic.
I want to take a look at the reasons for them to exist:
- It is an interesting engineering feat. It might be sort of cool to be at the range and hand your gun over to a buddy without the “key-piece”, such as the watch or ring, and watch them attempt to fire. It would be a sort of a plinker and also sort of a display piece for interest.
- If your gun is stolen from you or your vehicle while out and about. Then, the gun would be inoperable unless it is hacked.
- For safety in the house (children, theft).
- It would help lower suicide rates and accident rates.
Undoubtedly, there are other reasons you might think of, but I feel as if those are the most common reasons, except number one- that is my idea.
Now, take a look at a PBS article titled “Is America Finally Ready for Smart Guns?”.
Stephen Teret, founder of Center for Gun Policy and Research at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, supports smart guns and feels that we are closer to having them be available. Teret is quoted saying “We make aspirin bottles that 4-year-olds can’t use. Why are we making guns 4-year-olds can use?” when speaking about how children at home will be safer when smart-guns are owned. PBS then cites statistics from the CDC about 527 children dying from unintentional firearm discharges between 2010 and 2014. Also cited was the 33,599 people in total died from firearm injuries and stated that most of those were suicides. The follow up paragraph states that “smart guns won’t be a quick life saver because traditional guns are so prevalent, said James Pasco Jr.”
Let me now go over reasons for them not to exist:
- Mandate laws, such as the one in New Jersey. This law states that after 30 months of smart guns being sold in the U.S.A. that all new guns sold in New Jersey would have to be smart guns.
- Currently Armatix’s price for the iP1 is about $1,800 according to VentureBeat.com. However, if they became more common the price would become more competitive most likely.
- Concern over whether the system could be corrupted through other radio waves.
- Concerns over battery life.
- Concerns about the time to unlock the system in case of emergency.
- Concerns over how other people could become authorized to also use the gun (ie. An officer needing to borrow a colleague’s gun).
Now, I added a few extra points compared to the pro-smart gun side because these are concerns that are consistently brought up in this discussion.
Here’s my two cents on the matter of smart guns and safety.
If smart guns are not able to be hacked, then they would be a bit useful for a carry/truck gun in case it is stolen. However, it is likely that there will be people who hack the systems whether it is a few tech-smart nerds or a few criminals. Miguel or J. KB noted the hacking bit before, but I could not find the article. This begins to render the smart gun safeties useless other than the person not being able to immediately shoot you, provided that the radio waves from the watch or ring are not close enough to the gun.
I do feel it would be a niche market where some people would honestly enjoy it. It would be an item of interest to some people even if they would still use a traditional firearm for protection.
The concerns over how reliable the smart gun systems will be is a genuine safety concern. If I am in the position where I need to use the gun and it does not fire, then I am likely to become seriously hurt or die. After a lot of testing and models of smart guns, I do think engineers would have better, more reliable smart guns. However, even traditional firearms can still be defective- so perfection is impossible, and the technology provides one more way for the gun to fail to fire (FTF).
In home use and theft is in its own category for a reason. There are already ways to make a gun inoperable for your children if you so desire. First, use a gun safe that they do not know the combination to. This is the near-equivalent of the Aspirin bottle comparison that Teret made. It is only nearly the same because it is easier to cut open a pill bottle than to shred a gun safe open.
Second, take the firing pin out and hide it separate from the gun. This makes it so the gun cannot be used even if you leave it on the kitchen counter. Parents who want their children to not be able to use any of the guns in their home can do this easily, and then return the firing pin when they come home or otherwise wish the gun to be operable. Child accidents are tragic, and smart gun advocates and articles often cite them as a reason for smart guns to be owned. However, this option can be done with any traditional gun. This beats out the Aspirin comparison. Instead, this is comparable to the smart gun “key-piece” being taken away.
A third note for parents would be to teach kids from a young age to respect firearms and know the four rules of safety. This creates a built in safety for your children’s brains. Make sure they know the dangers, and how to handle being around firearms.
I do not believe that suicides of adults would see any change, especially with traditional firearms being the same. Even if we were in a world where only smart guns exist, you cannot stop someone from shooting themselves.
As far as the New Jersey law, I do believe it will be undone in short time. There have been a lot of gun rights legal victories, and it is noted by many that the NJ law is holding smart guns back. Therefore, people on both sides of the issue want the law undone.
I’ve gone on for a long time now, but I hope what I said was clear for y’all. I am okay with smart guns being around, but I will never want one. I would rather spend money on something that I would find more useful and appealing to me. I just don’t see how smart guns would turn around homicide, suicide, and accident rates when measures that can be taken now would have the same effect. To me, most of these issues are issues of taking better care of you, your family, and your belongings. So, take care of your guns. Make sure you know where they are, and who can get to them. Make sure that if you carry them, it won’t be easy for someone to take it from you. Take care of your children, make sure they know how to handle guns. These are safety precautions we can all take without mandates or technology. And in the end, they benefit everyone around you.
Now, y’all take care. 🙂