Pushing Smart Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 4 months ago

The founder of Sandy Hook Promise weighs in on firearms technology.

At present, most gun marketing is predicated on power and machismo. But what if the unique selling point of a weapon became safety features, like a trigger that only works in the hands of the gun’s owner? That, in a nutshell, is the aim of the Sandy Hook Promise Innovation Initiative.

The initiative will pull together the tech and venture capital communities to form a Technology Committee to Reduce Gun Violence that will work to identify and foster innovations in gun and school safety and mental health research. The group will solicit proposals for the best ideas in these areas and award a prize to encourage the most promising innovations. The point is that making firearms safer could help the nation to reduce the 30,000 gun deaths a year, including nearly 19,000 that are suicides. But if that isn’t incentive enough, there’s the money, and the Volvo lesson, to consider.

Starting with the three-point seat belt in the late 1950s, Volvo introduced safety features, from head restraints to side impact protection systems. Sales grew tenfold. By the time the first mandatory seat belt use was enacted in New York state in 1984, Volvo’s market share hit a record.

Budding gun entrepreneurs could become rich by emulating Volvo’s golden years. Weapons manufacturers could first and foremost tout their products’ safety features. And public policy could guide them along that path.

New Jersey, for instance, has a law that would require smart gun technology in all new handguns sold three years after the state’s attorney general determines a prototype is safe and commercially available. Other states are considering similar rules.

As the Volvo story underlines, however, government action isn’t the only way to reduce America’s gun fatalities, which have remained stubbornly high for decades. The only thing more characteristically American than gun ownership is the impulse to create wealth in free and open markets. Let the innovation begin.

Yea, let the innovation begin.  But recall what we observed about the shotgun with a solid state circuit board in the stock?  Remember how obscene it was?  It is obscene because of any number of things, including control over that circuit board, traceability of that circuit board, and just as important, the introduction of a new failure mode.

Take it from a registered professional engineer.  You see that picture above with the solid state electronics inside the gun?  It is obscene.  Not only that, it’s stupid.

There are even old school shooters who don’t believe in such a thing as the grip safety (Beaver tail) on my XDm.  I am not among that crowd, but the notion that I would rely on a gun with solid state electronics for my own protection is absurd, leaving aside the problems I have with it being amenable to governmental control.

David Codrea has weighed in before (and also links a related NPR article), and Bob Owens weighs in as well.  Read them both.

I’m simply not smart enough to know whether violent FPS video games have any affect on the player in this context.  I’ve seen them before, and they bore me.  I tend to think that they cannot have an affect on the person if the tendency to violence isn’t already there.  The problem is evil.  Evil is in the heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9 and Mark 7:21), and only God can change the heart.

For me it’s simple.  Maybe I am looking at this as a firearms purist, but as I said before, I’ll purchase such a gun when hell freezes over.

Manufacturers Dabble In Smart Guns

More On Smart Guns

  • http://www.book-resistancetotyranny.com Joseph P. Martino

    I absolutely do not want a gun that is “crippled” so that “only I” can use it. I don’t want any electronics in it, that can fail when I desperately need to shoot. I don’t want any combinations that I have to put in when someone has broken into my house (I’ve already gone through a home invasion). I don’t want any “personalization” that fails when I’m scared and full of adrenaline and my voice changes, or my grip changes, or whatever. Just keep your filthy hands off my gun.


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This article is filed under the category(s) Guns and was published March 19th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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