Mandating Smart Guns

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

Smart ass Ron Conway is banking on your stupidity.

In the 2012 movie Skyfall, James Bond brandishes his trusty sidearm, but with a high-tech twist: There’s a sensor in the grip that reads palm prints so only he can fire it. The souped-up firearm saves the secret agent’s life, and in the real world, similar technology could do the same for thousands. Or so says Ron Conway, an avuncular Silicon Valley billionaire trying to disrupt the gun industry.

Speaking at the International Smart Gun Symposium in San Francisco in February, Conway exuded the cockiness of a man who invested early in Google, Airbnb and Twitter. “The gun companies have chosen to sit on their asses and not innovate,” he said. “Silicon Valley is coming to their rescue.”

Conway isn’t a gun owner, and for most of his life, he never gave much thought to firearms. But after Adam Lanza shot up an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, killing 26, Conway created a foundation that has given $1 million to inventors. The goal: perfect user-authenticated firearms.

The only problem is politics, not technology.  Ignore the fact that any legitimate fault tree analysis of so-called “smart guns” would find them less reliable due to differences that cannot be overcome with any design change.  Know-it-all Ron Conway knows what you want and is going to drag you kicking and screaming if necessary into the promised land.

On another front, president Barry is going to renew his push for smart guns, and guess whose Ox is getting gored?

While the “smart gun” element of the actions drew little attention earlier this year, critics are gearing up to fight back against the possibility that such guns could be required for government firearms purchases.

A source familiar with the plans said that type of mandate isn’t on tap right now, but critics are still worried the administration is laying the groundwork for such a move. Among the biggest skeptics are cops worried about testing an unproven technology on the streets.

“Police officers in general, federal officers in particular, shouldn’t be asked to be the guinea pigs in evaluating a firearm that nobody’s even seen yet,” said James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police. “We have some very, very serious questions.”

Uh huh, I’ll bet you do, blue costumed one.  And one recent editorial at the Albany Times-Union believes that a mandate is the only way to go – for all guns.

Of course smart gun technology won’t cure gun violence in America altogether. But if the technology can be made reasonably reliable — as reliable, say, as an ordinary gun is today — it could prevent many such guns from being obtained illegally and used to commit crimes. It could also make it impossible for a child to stumble on to one and accidentally fire it. We’re at a loss to see anything undesirable about either of those outcomes.

The technology takes several forms that share a common feature: making a gun inoperable to anyone who does not know how to disable the security. That might be done with a code or fingerprint, technologies that are already used to safeguard things like computers, cars, homes and offices.

Groups like the National Rifle Association still will no doubt find reasons why smart guns are a bad idea. Limiting future firearms production and sales to smart guns, they’re sure to say, wouldn’t removed from circulation the more than 300 million guns already in the United States that lack smart technology, nor would it stop determined bad guys from hacking smart guns. And if it adds even a small cost to the price of a gun, they’ll insist that’s an infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.

The NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation already say the marketplace should decide whether smart gun technology is a good idea or a bad one.

But we all know, as they do, that the marketplace won’t insist on safety, any more than the market was keen on seat belts, motorcycle helmets, smoke detectors, or emission controls in cars or factories.

Ah, it’s literally that simple.  It’s the NRA rather than individual gun owners, it’s a matter of seat belts, smoke detectors and helmets.  It’s all so clear now.

Here’s what I think.  No matter what smart ass Ron Conway says, I don’t think he or any venture capitalist is going to invest any money or time at all in so-called “smart gun technology” because they know they won’t get one dollar back out of it.  Oh how I wish they would.  Oh how I wish someone would invest his life’s earnings in such an endeavor to “make us safe.”  It would be a good object lesson, yes?  But alas, it won’t happen.

And I don’t really believe that president Barry is going to mandate that anyone in any federal agency only use or procure smart guns.  President Barry will be out of office by the time such a mandate would take effect anyway.  President Barry is a lame duck and can’t mandate anything.  At this point he is nothing more than a court jester.

And I think the editors of the Albany Times-Union don’t really understand what they’re demanding.  Question for the editors.  Does the phrase “second amendment remedy” ring any bells for you?  Yea, that one.  Listen to me.  Any time you’re feeling froggy – any time you’re feeling froggy – you give it a whirl and try to mandate that we gun owners only purchase, own or carry “smart guns.”  See how much “safer” that makes you when the second amendment remedies are invoked.

Any time you’re feeling froggy.

Prior: Smart Guns Tag

 


Comments

  1. On April 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm, Archer said:

    But we all know, as they do, that the marketplace won’t insist on
    safety, any more than the market was keen on seat belts, motorcycle
    helmets, smoke detectors, or emission controls in cars or factories.

    That’s a false argument for two reasons. First, IIRC, it’s outright false, revisionist history. Consumers were seeing the benefits of all those things before they were mandated. Seat belts, motorcycle helmets, and smoke detectors are just a good idea, and people were using them before they were required by law to do so (and also note, there’s no legal/criminal penalty for not using smoke detectors in your own home — at least, not in Oregon — so “required by law” or “mandated” is a misnomer on that one) because they are inexpensive and easy-to-use but dramatically increase safety; the cost/benefit analysis weighs heavily toward the benefit end.

    Second, the argument presupposes that “smart gun” technology is a passive safety that requires minimal maintenance and effort on your part. You get into a car, fasten your seat belt; it’s an extra five seconds of work that could save your life in a collision. You get on a motorcycle, you strap on your helmet; it’s an extra five seconds that could save your life. You replace the batteries in your smoke detectors; it’s a quick job every six months that could save your life.

    But “smart gun” technology doesn’t work like that. It is NOT a passive safety, it does NOT rely on minimal effort, and it is NOT inexpensive and easy-to-use. If we were to design a “smart gun” that worked like your seat belt, you’d disable the safety before strapping on your carry gun, and it’d be ready to fire all day; the “security” would re-enable ONLY after it’s been stored or you manually re-enable it, akin to taking off your seat belt when you arrive at your destination. (Or, conversely, you’d enable the safety when you take your gun off, because THAT’s the time when it might be accessed by a child; similar to wearing a helmet only when you’re riding your motorcycle, because you’re at a significantly lower risk for crashes when you’re not. *snerk* It depends on whether you view the gun as the safety [the first statement] or a potential hazard that needs a safety [the converse statement]. Either works for the purposes of this discussion.)

    Having to disable the electronic safeties every time you use your gun is less like fastening a seat belt before you drive, and more like locking the seat belt in place fully retracted — whether you’re driving or not — and expecting that you somehow release it with a PIN code or thumbprint scan AND fasten it, all in the 60 milliseconds before you crash. A “smart gun”, unlike a real-life seat belt, imposes an extra 12-20 seconds that may or may not save your life, but could also just as easily end up costing it if your gun refuses to fire when you need it.

  2. On April 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Right on every account. And that’s why we already have “smart guns.” It’s called putting your pistol into a small safe under your bed with a biometric lock on it, the door capable of being released as soon as you put your thumb on the pad. If you have no children in the home, your brain and trigger finger turns it into a smart gun and there is no need for a safe under the bed.

    I love how we solve their problems without all the drama.

  3. On April 29, 2016 at 2:31 pm, Archer said:

    Granddad keeps his .45 loaded in a drawer unless his grand-kids and great-grand-kids are coming over. Then he locks it up in the safe with the rest of his firearms.

    There has ALWAYS been guns in his home, but there has NEVER been a gun-related accident, nor will there ever be one. We call that, “smart enough”.

    I love how we solve their problems without all the drama.

    Yes, we’re good at that. But “Progressives” live on drama; they thrive on hysteria. All they have are solutions to imaginary problems, so they must create drama and hysteria in order to enact them. The “drama llama” is the only thing going for them. “War on Women”, “War on Poverty”, “Climate Change”, “Gun Violence”, “Equality”, “Social Justice”, “Fair Share Taxes”. At this point, it’s all drama; every major conflict in our society, from slavery to suffrage to civil rights, has already been resolved — most decades or generations ago — and they have nothing important left for which to fight. So they make s*** up.

    It’s how they compensate for their tiny, shriveled relevance. ;)

  4. On April 29, 2016 at 3:05 pm, Phil Ossiferz Stone said:

    Let’s try them on cars first. They kill three times as many people as guns do, sans suicides. After all, if your car conks out on you you’re merely inconvenienced, not raped or stomped or murdered. Any takers….?

  5. On April 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm, Rf said:

    Just something else to hack or jam.

  6. On May 1, 2016 at 12:04 am, Pat Hines said:

    I worry about smart guns about as much as I worry about human cloning, which is to say, not at all. Cloning humans can’t get around chromosomal drift, and smart guns have similar issues. They’re just not going to happen.

  7. On May 1, 2016 at 7:32 pm, Haywood Jablome said:

    My gun seems smart enough…it only shoots when I tell it to.

  8. On May 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm, Joseph P. Martino said:

    The two most common approaches to these crippled (not smart) guns is a radio link to a transmitter the user wears, and a set of pressure-pads on the grip that are calibrated to the grip of the authorized user. The only time so far that I’ve needed a gun was the night I awoke to find an intruder in my bedroom. Radio link? It would probably have been on the dresser, next to my wristwatch, which I don’t wear in bed either. Pressure pads? Sure. There I was, heart pounding, palms sweating, adrenaline pouring through my veins, and I’m supposed to match a grip I used under perfectly calm circumstances, to calibrate the gun? No thank you. Fortunately I didn’t have to shoot. The guy ran. But if anything like that happens again, I want my gun designed by John Browning, not Barak Obama.

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You are currently reading "Mandating Smart Guns", entry #15131 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published April 28th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

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