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Writer Megan Neal, of motherboard.vice.com blog, bemoans the fact that there is no U.S. Market, for "smart" guns. One must be left to wonder why that is… Let's delve into it a little…
Her first assertion is that "the technology is here." Yes, there are "working models" available, but is the technology really "here?"
Is that technology as reliable as a revolver? The manufacturer of the "Trigger Smart Technology," which she quotes and to which she leaves us the url, demonstrates his technology installed on semi-automatics. Is there a such thing as one for revolvers?
Would any of the massacres in Tucson, Virginia Tech, Newtown, or Fort Hood, been any less accomplishable with several revolvers, and a few speed loaders? (A speed loader allows one to reload a revolver at about the same rate as a semi-automatic.)
Next, the manufacturer demonstrates his technology using an external device containing an RFID chip, which must be placed against the gun in order to release the safety. Said chip can be embedded into a ring, or possibly installed under the skin. Now what if the ring or the chip is in the left hand, and you need to shoot right-handed? What if the hand with the RFID chi is encumbered in the fight of your life to fend off your opponent in a deadly force encounter? Will you ask him to attack from your non-gun side?
OK, ok, so we need TWO RFID chips. Well, that's understandable.
Have any of the people reading this article, ever needed to hand a gun to someone else, for any legitimate purpose? Are any of the people reading this article, firearms instructors who lend their guns to students? Does anyone reading this, teach firearms safety to children? If someone walks off with the gun, do you want that person to also walk off with the key to it? How do you control the chip, and still control the gun at the same time?
The technology runs on a battery-powered chip. All well and good; modern batteries last a long time, and as long as you remember to change the batteries once a year, that should not pose a problem. Hopefully….
Have any of you ever fallen into a significant amount of water, with your battery powered cell phone? What happens to the electronics? Are all self-defense situations in dry, hospitable climates? What happens to your battery-powered device in a marine or snowy environment, when you take your inevitable spill?
One of the alleged "selling features" of the device, is that "the system has the ability to create 'safe zones' in certain areas such as schools where smart guns coming into the area will be disabled remotely." An RFID transmitter could "turn off your gun."
The idea here is that schools and "sensitive" areas, would have RFID transmitters installed to shut off your gun. So let's say you have a permit that allows you to be in a school with said gun, and a madman attacks. The "crazy" person was just sane enough to disconnect the wires of the device in HIS gun, so the school's RFID transmitter does not affect his, but yours is disabled. Or the bad guy just switches to a baseball bat, which is far more lethal than a handgun, and you have what, a 2 lb Smith and Wesson short club? Hmmmm.
Let me ask a literate audience a question: if illegal handguns are fairly easy to obtain, almost anywhere in the country, how hard would it be to acquire an RFID chip to unlock said guns? For that matter, how hard would it be to steal a gun with its chip in the box, thereby totally defeating the system?
As a gun owner, do you find it troubling at all, that a signal could "turn off your gun?" Why is it right now that only 15% of people in this country trust their government to do the right thing? - (CNN Poll: Trust in government at all time low). Really, what could possibly go wrong with a government plan to shut off the civilians' guns? After all, isn't this "for the children?"
OK, ok, so maybe the RFID chip isn't the be all and end all of this technology. Let's look at biometric identifiers. Let's say that we develop technology that "knows your hand." Ah, there's the ticket!
Miss Neal speaks of "sensors that identify fingerprints, hand geometry, eye scans and biological features to authenticate the owner of a gun a la James Bond's gun in "Skyfall" that's been coded to his palm print."
Ahem. Even in "Skyfall", a significant number of good guys get iced, because they could not defend themselves properly. Part of the reason for that in the movie, is that a knowledgeable bad guy, hacks the system. Nah, THAT could never happen.
In "Skyfall", the agents who are killed, are all highly trained. They die because they could not use their weapons to defend themselves, and the bad guys pose as good guys. Now you want to complicate their weaponry? Nah, that could never happen either. OK, let's bring it back to reality with an example that more people are familiar with.
Evidence shows that George Zimmerman was being held to the ground and beaten by Trayvon Martin when Zimmerman shot Martin, in an act of legal self-defense. During that scuffle, if Mr. Zimmerman's gun had become full of dirt and grass, would the biometric telemetry, still have read his palm print? Some say that that would have been a better result if it didn't, but would it have been so for the criminal assailant, or the victim?
This writer has been teaching the legal use of force in self-defense in state certified classes for almost 18 years. As such, many cases of the use of force have come under study. How often in a life or death struggle, does the defender not have a firm grip on his defensive tool while he is fighting for his or her life?
There have been many malfunctions of semi-autos, as people grapple with another and cannot obtain a firm purchase on the piece. Will that same loose grip, cause the biometric identifier not to work? When the defender is forced to shoot by the actions of his assailant, what would be the consequences of a "click," instead of a "bang?" Would the now deactivated gun, make a good battering ram against the head of the defender when the enraged perpetrator removes it from the custody of its owner, after a technology induced malfunction?
Next Miss Neal asserts that, "Some people argue that even if all guns came equipped with the latest personal lock technology, it would only make a tiny dent in gun violence, since the vast majority of gun deaths aren't caused by accidents, but by people firing their legal weapon."
That statement is an act of journalistic malfeasance, bordering on an outright lie. The truth is so discoverable. Look at the FBI's statistics in the Uniform Crime Reports. Look at the Bureau of Justice Statistics figures. People with an existing felony record, or with a gun that was not obtained legally, commit the VAST majority of felony crimes in the U.S. Many such crimes are committed by people who are not of age to legally own a gun.
Compare that to the crime record of people who take the legal steps necessary to own and carry guns. You will find out that a VERY small percentage of people who jump through the legal hoops, ever do anything wrong.
Near the end of her article, Miss Neal states, "If the gun industry won't budge, it could take a government mandate to get people to buy personalized guns." Well why not??? After all, it took a government mandate to get them to buy the health care that they did not want. What could possibly go wrong???
(See related article) Personalized weaponry
Hardly Anyone Is Buying 'Smart Guns'
By Meghan Neal