Duke University’s Arguments Against A Statutory Second Amendment

Herschel Smith · 22 May 2022 · 14 Comments

The Regulatory Review links a paper by Joseph Blocher of Duke University arguing against state preemption laws that prohibit more restrictive gun control statutes by cities and counties than instituted by the state itself.  The paper is entitled "Cities, Preemption, and the Statutory Second Amendment." He argues: As a practical matter, though, nothing has done more to shape contemporary gun regulation than state preemption laws, which fully or partially eliminate cities’ ability to…… [read more]

Smart Gun Redux

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

News.

The last thing we need in this world is more guns. But we’re getting them whether we like it or not, so wouldn’t it be nice if those guns had safety mechanisms like our phones, making them impossible for anyone but their owners to use? That’s what Biofire is building, and it has raised $17 million to finalize and commercialize its biometric-secured firearm.

Founder Kai Kloepfer said he began looking into the idea after the Aurora mass shooting in 2012.

“I started to think, what could I possibly do to have an impact on this? How can I apply product building skills to what would appear to be a public health challenge? The problem of children and teens finding guns, accidents and suicides — that was the place where I really saw tech and a physical, product-based solution having an impact,” he said.

Good.  I hope the investors raise even more money than that, and I hope this becomes a money hole.

I will never buy one, but I’ve said what I will do.

“Perform a fault tree analysis of smart guns.  Use highly respected guidance like the NRC fault tree handbook.

Assess the reliability of one of my semi-automatic handguns as the first state point, and then add smart gun technology to it, and assess it again.  Compare the state points.  Then do that again with a revolver.  Be honest.  Assign a failure probability of greater than zero (0) to the smart technology, because you know that each additional electronic and mechanical component has a failure probability of greater than zero.

Get a PE to seal the work to demonstrate thorough and independent review.  If you can prove that so-called “smart guns” are as reliable as my guns, I’ll pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.  If you lose, you buy me the gun of my choice.  No one will take the challenge because you will lose that challenge.  I’ll win.  Case closed.  End of discussion.”

To date no one has taken the challenge, and no one will in the future.

Stupid Guns

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 1 week ago

Smart Guns – You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 3 weeks ago

Smart guns in the news.

LodeStar integrated both a fingerprint reader and a near-field communication chip activated by a phone app, plus a PIN pad. The gun can be authorized for more than one user.

The fingerprint reader unlocks the gun in microseconds, but since it may not work when wet or in other adverse conditions, the PIN pad is there as a backup. LodeStar did not demonstrate the near-field communication signal, but it would act as a secondary backup, enabling the gun as quickly as users can open the app on their phones.

It sounds like the Babylon Bee, but it’s a serious article. Or sort of.

You can’t make this stuff up.  “Hold on there froggy – it’s raining and I dropped my guns, can you give me a second to access my iPhone?”

Smart Gunz

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 3 weeks ago

Stupid news.

Tom Holland, president of SmartGunz, LLC, today announced pre-sales ordering availability of the company’s 9mm smart gun Sentry® pistol. An initial 10% discounted retail price is being offered for law enforcement and corrections agencies at $2,695.00 (single item purchase, additional quantity discounts provided) while the regular (civilian) retail price is $2,995.00 per unit. Product deliveries are anticipated to begin sometime during 4th quarter 2021. The 9mm Sentry® pistol is the company’s flagship smart gun technology firearm for use in prisoner transfer / transport as well as civilian home defense applications.

The 9 mm Sentry® features SmartGunz’s patent pending lock-out technology that is integrated with an RFID chip contained in a glove worn by the officer / owner. The officer must depress the grip safety on the firearm while wearing an RFID-enabled glove to permit firing. This helps to ensure that each SmartGunz Sentry firearm fires each and every time when it is supposed to AND ONLY when it is supposed to!

“Honey, tell the rapist and murderer to wait.  I need to get my glove on before I have a gun fight with him!  What?  Yea I know it stinks to high heaven – I haven’t washed the thing.  Oh wait!  I left it in the car.  Or not.  I don’t know where it is.”

Hahahahahaha!

Hahahahahaha!

These guys kill me.  For the same price you would spend on a boutique competition gun, you can be unable to respond in the middle of the night.

Hahahahahaha!

Prior: Smart Guns Tag

Biden: Still Hawking The Smart Gun Absurdity

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 4 months ago

I have my disagreements with Larry Keane, but this piece at NSSF conveys buried but recently released views by the administration on so-called “smart guns.”

He’s right on one count. As vice president, he did deal with tech leaders to attempt combining authorized-user, or so-called “smart gun” technology into firearms. It didn’t work. It didn’t get to the point where it could even be properly tested.

[ … ]

Early on in the presidential campaign, President Biden claimed, “… we have the capacity now in a James Bond-style to make sure no one can pull a trigger unless their DNA and fingerprint is on it.” That’s some serious science-fiction fantasy technology. It makes for a good movie. In real life, it’s clumsy and failure prone at best and impossible at worst.

The president’s campaign trail claim of DNA-enabled smart guns is completely false. No one has introduced technology that would match a DNA sample to activate a firearm. However, attempts have been made at fingerprint-style authorized user-technology. Think of the way a fingerprint is used to open a smartphone. Now, think of all the times a smartphone won’t open when a fingerprint is applied. A little wet, not the right angle, dirty, God-forbid bloody… all these can cause a failure of the fingerprint lock to not activate the technology.

In a life-or-death situation when an individual is under duress and trying to activate the tool that would save their lives, swiping a fingerprint screen is the last concern. If your iPhone doesn’t open, you’re inconvenienced. If your firearm doesn’t work at the moment you need it you could be dead. That’s why study and survey work on this topic show that reliability is of paramount concernBecause the technology is not yet sufficiently reliable, there is very limited consumer interest in purchasing authorized-user equipped firearms.

[ … ]

Let me be explicitly clear, contrary to the false claims of gun control groups the firearm industry does not oppose the research and potential development of this technology being applied to firearms. Consumers are best left to decide what they want and the free market does a good job of weeding out bad ideas so good ones flourish. What NSSF strongly opposes, however, is the mandate of such technology, like what has recently been proposed by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). She introduced H.R. 1008, legislation that would mandate that every gun sold within five years be equipped with the unworkable technology. It goes further. It also would require all legacy firearms be retrofitted within 10 years. That’s sure to go over well with collectors.

Here Larry simply isn’t precise enough.  I would love nothing more than for investors to throw their money away on this only to find out that no one wanted it.

What we must oppose, however, is government (think here taxpayer) sponsored research.  But one of the real reasons for such stuff wasn’t discussed.

A trio of computer scientists from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York recently published research detailing a potential AI intervention for murder: an ethical lockout.

The big idea here is to stop mass shootings and other ethically incorrect uses for firearms through the development of an AI that can recognize intent, judge whether it’s ethical use, and ultimately render a firearm inert if a user tries to ready it for improper fire.

That sounds like a lofty goal, in fact the researchers themselves refer to it as a “blue sky” idea, but the technology to make it possible is already here.

According to the team’s research:

Predictably, some will object as follows: “The concept you introduce is attractive. But unfortunately it’s nothing more than a dream; actually, nothing more than a pipe dream. Is this AI really feasible, science- and engineering-wise?” We answer in the affirmative, confidently.

The research goes on to explain how recent breakthroughs involving long-term studies have lead to th

e development of various AI-powered reasoning systems that could serve to trivialize and implement a fairly simple ethical judgment system for firearms.

This paper doesn’t describe the creation of a smart gun itself, but the potential efficacy of an AI system that can make the same kinds of decisions for firearms users as, for example, cars that can lock out drivers if they can’t pass a breathalyzer.

This just gets better and better.  As I’ve said before, “Perform a fault tree analysis of smart guns.  Use highly respected guidance like the NRC fault tree handbook.

Assess the reliability of one of my semi-automatic handguns as the first state point, and then add smart gun technology to it, and assess it again.  Compare the state points.  Then do that again with a revolver.  Be honest.  Assign a failure probability of greater than zero (0) to the smart technology, because you know that each additional electronic and mechanical component has a failure probability of greater than zero.

Get a PE to seal the work to demonstrate thorough and independent review.  If you can prove that so-called “smart guns” are as reliable as my guns, I’ll pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.  If you lose, you buy me the gun of my choice.  No one will take the challenge because you will lose that challenge.  I’ll win.  Case closed.  End of discussion.”

Now, consider the superimposition of an AI ethical lockout on top of all of the other failure modes introduced by this “technology” (I use the word loosely, because improved technology is something that should make the machine simpler and less prone to failure modes, not more complex and more prone to failure).

Also as I’ve observed, the desire to control others is the signal pathology of the wicked.  In the instance of smart guns, the control is just remote rather than just at the point of purchase.

My Unmet Challenge On Smart Guns

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 8 months ago

Via this smart post, I saw a researcher at Sandia National Laboratory had been working in the past on smart guns.  In the past he has observed the following concerning smart guns.

There are many items that the models could not demonstrate to the officers. A few of these are the technology’s cost, reliability, and adversarial strengths. Items like these will remain a concern for officers until a fieldable prototype is thoroughly tested.

Yea, I’ll bet.  To this, I’ll say the following as I’ve said before.

Perform a fault tree analysis of smart guns.  Use highly respected guidance like the NRC fault tree handbook.

Assess the reliability of one of my semi-automatic handguns as the first state point, and then add smart gun technology to it, and assess it again.  Compare the state points.  Then do that again with a revolver.  Be honest.  Assign a failure probability of greater than zero (0) to the smart technology, because you know that each additional electronic and mechanical component has a failure probability of greater than zero.

Get a PE to seal the work to demonstrate thorough and independent review.  If you can prove that so-called “smart guns” are as reliable as my guns, I’ll pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.  If you lose, you buy me the gun of my choice.  No one will take the challenge because you will lose that challenge.  I’ll win.  Case closed.  End of discussion.

Care to take the challenge, Mr. Weiss?

Joe Biden On Smart Guns

BY Herschel Smith
3 years ago

David Codrea:

Unsurprisingly, Biden either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he does and doesn’t care that he’s spreading lies. While we’ve seen numerous abortive attempts over the years to bring the technology to market, recent ones involve technologies relying on fingerprint recognition, bracelets and rings, and embedded RFID chips. If DNA is to be added into the mix, it would be interesting to see that idea fleshed out, including how the sample will be extracted and then analyzed to allow for immediate firing by “authorized” users under all conceivable real-world conditions.

Herschel grins and chuckles, begging for someone to take his challenge.

Perform a fault tree analysis of smart guns.  Use highly respected guidance like the NRC fault tree handbook.

Assess the reliability of one of my semi-automatic handguns as the first state point, and then add smart gun technology to it, and assess it again.  Compare the state points.  Then do that again with a revolver.  Be honest.  Assign a failure probability of greater than zero (0) to the smart technology, because you know that each additional electronic and mechanical component has a failure probability of greater than zero.

Get a PE to seal the work to demonstrate thorough and independent review.  If you can prove that so-called “smart guns” are as reliable as my guns, I’ll pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.  If you lose, you buy me the gun of my choice.  No one will take the challenge because you will lose that challenge.  I’ll win.  Case closed.  End of discussion.

Yet another note to the controllers.  Just ponder how awesome it would be for you to get a picture of a gun advocate eating crow (or in this case, his hard hat), covered with the thing he hates the most, Ketchup.

I beg you again, controllers, take my challenge, signed and sealed with the stipulations – you get me eating crow, or I get my choice of guns.

Any takers?

The Smart Gun Doesn’t Exist For The Smartest Reasons

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 2 months ago

That’s not actually the title of the idiotic Bloomberg article.  It’s titled The Smart Gun Doesn’t Exist for the Dumbest Reasons.

Smith & Wesson still feels the wound it suffered two decades ago when it decided to invent smart guns.

The idea was to invest heavily in the development of personalized weapons that could be fired only by a single person: the gun’s owner. This was considered a nearly science-fictional proposition in the late 1990s, years before the world was filled with smartphones and finger sensors. But consumer backlash against the project drove the gunmaker to the verge of ruin, and Smith & Wesson recently told shareholders that the corporate bleeding touched off by this long-ago episode has never fully stopped. “Sales still suffer from this misstep,” the company said in a February filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The ordeal also didn’t lead to technical breakthroughs, and Smith & Wesson never brought a smart gun to market. Nor has Sturm, Ruger & Co., Remington, Colt, Winchester, Mossberg, or Glock. It’s not clear that any other major gunmaker has seriously tried.

No one involved can quite agree on who’s to blame for the standstill. Gun manufacturers fault difficult-to-navigate technology. Investors and entrepreneurs are sure that restrictive legislation has created a dead end. Politicians blame each other.

Nobody blames the free market. Nearly half of gun owners in the U.S. would consider buying a smart gun, according to a Johns Hopkins University study. (Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is a donor to groups that support gun control.) The promise of guns that can be used only by one person is that there will be fewer fired by accident or by someone who shouldn’t have access to a gun, and fewer sold on the black market.

This is the story of why the multibillion-dollar American gun industry hasn’t yet managed to make guns any smarter.

Stop right there.  Let me dissuade you from your fantasies, collectivists.  No gun owner actually wants something more complicated.  He wants to be able to work on his own gun rather than paying exorbitant fees for a gunsmith to rebuild or repair it.  He wants to be able to craft his own versions and variations.  He wants to be able to modularize it and put different parts on it if he deems it more comfortable, more ergonomic or simply better for him.

No gun owner wants yet another permissive in the process.  The U.S. military calls it the “kill chain.”  Even though you are probably repulsed by that term, we’ll use it anyway.  No gun owner wants yet another permissive in the kill chain.  That’s another potential failure that wasn’t there before.  And no gun owner wants another permissive in the kill chain that can be hijacked by either government officials or others.  This idea that half of potential gun owning America would actually drop cash on something like that is a lie you have told yourselves over and over until you actually believe it.

Trae Stephens isn’t afraid to put real money into a product most gunmakers are too anxious to touch. His venture capital firm, the Peter Thiel-backed Founders Fund, is noteworthy among its Silicon Valley peers for investing in defense and security. But two years spent looking at nearly a dozen different smart-gun startups aiming to raise seed or Series A rounds, valued in the six- to seven-figure range, haven’t turned up anything worth backing.

“I want to do this!” Stephens, 35, says with a wide grin at the firm’s office in San Francisco’s Presidio park. “But there’s just no way I can.”

It’s not easy finding a VC willing to speak openly about guns, let alone invest in them. There have been frequent calls for the technology industry to take on firearms, the type of stagnant industry that seems ripe for Silicon Valley disruption. President Barack Obama sounded the call for the Apples and Googles of the world to get into guns. “If we can set it up so you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint,” he asked in 2016, “why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?” But funneling engineering resources into next-generation guns has proved anathema in the liberal Bay Area, even if the intention is to improve public safety.

Folks lament the demise of simpler automobile engines that could be maintained by the backyard mechanic.  Now many folks have to send their vehicle to be worked on by technicians who have been to school at Ford or GM to get repaired.  There is literally no way gun owners are going to make their firearms more complicated.  There is no way.

Wiring electronics into firearms feels like the inevitable next step for the tech industry, which has succeeded in putting motherboards in vacuum cleaners, microwaves, and doorbells. “I started to go down these long Google searches,” Stephens says. “Why is it the weapons we’re still using haven’t meaningfully changed since World War I?”

Because we like simple.  Simpler is better.  Again, wiring electronics into firearms is not the inevitable next step.

His research came up at a Founders Fund debrief with Thiel and the fund’s other partners. “I said, ‘Look, there’s zero chance that any of these companies will actually make money. Am I missing something?’ ” he said. “The answer was no. And that was it. End of conversation.”

And that’s it.  That’s all you need to know.  There’s more in the article, but they could have shut it down right there and been just fine.

And I repeat what I’ve said so many times before concerning “smart guns.”

Perform a fault tree analysis of smart guns.  Use highly respected guidance like the NRC fault tree handbook.

Assess the reliability of one of my semi-automatic handguns as the first state point, and then add smart gun technology to it, and assess it again.  Compare the state points.  Then do that again with a revolver.  Be honest.  Assign a failure probability of greater than zero (0) to the smart technology, because you know that each additional electronic and mechanical component has a failure probability of greater than zero.

Get a PE to seal the work to demonstrate thorough and independent review.  If you can prove that so-called “smart guns” are as reliable as my guns, I’ll pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.  If you lose, you buy me the gun of my choice.  No one will take the challenge because you will lose that challenge.  I’ll win.  Case closed.  End of discussion.

And to date, no one has taken the challenge.

A Firearm That Sends A Text If It Is Moved

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 5 months ago

Journal Sentinel:

My God.  Look at that thing!  Hey, I still haven’t heard any takers to my hard hats and ketchup challenge.

Telling Lies About “Smart Guns”

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

Elizabeth MacBride is doing just that.  Take a look.

“The firearms made by our member companies are designed to perform in austere and less-than-ideal conditions when lives are literally at stake,” wrote the NSSF spokesman. “To date, authorized-user technology developments have only introduced points of failure that could put the lives of lawful and authorized users at risk when they need those firearms to preserve lives.”

I asked iGun founder Jonathan Mossberg about how reliable the iGun is. He says the gun already passes military specification testing, including “a 3,000 round torture test including freezing and dropping.”

“We have already built a personalized firearm that is more reliable than most commercial firearms available,” he wrote.

Based on conversations with companies and engineers developing military weapons with chip technology, reliability is a valid worry – but it’s an existing worry for every gun. Weapons without chips or ID technology fail now (we don’t know how often, but they do).

“The market should decide which technology and which product to buy based on its merits as the market does now,” Mossberg said.

It’s important to note that in the gun community, where the belief in the singular defensive power of guns is common, a higher risk of a gun failing means a higher risk of dying in a confrontation.

This would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad.  Read it again if you must.

First of all, she said that the iGun founder “wrote.”  In other words, she sent him an email and he responded.  This is reporting, apparently.

Second, freezing and dropping has nothing at all to do with anything.  That she didn’t know how to press the issue with him is an indication that she shouldn’t have been writing this piece.

Third, she (or her sources) acknowledge that failure of the technology is a “valid worry,” but she dismisses that “worry” because a failure can happen anyway.  This shows absolutely no knowledge or understanding of anything mechanical or electronic.

The fact that a tire on an automobile can burst while driving and throw the automobile into a spin is no reason for sticking a nail in the tire.  The nail increases the probability of failure.

Let’s turn to the next bit of propaganda on smart guns, written within a few days by none other than Ms. Elizabeth MacBride.

There’s a revolution building in gun design, one with far-reaching implications in military and civilian weaponry, says one of Israel’s top tech investors.

“We believe that in less than 5 years every gun that will be produced will have a smart chip in it,” said Ron Zuckerman, a long-time executive, investor and angel whose list of successes includes co-founding Sapiens International Corp., which develops software for the insurance industry, serving as CEO of Brazilian telecom GVT and as co-founder of influential Israeli venture funds, including Magma. Now a California-based angel, he is an investor in many tech startups.

One of those is a small tech company, Secubit, that is focused on one of the hottest areas in the gun world: tech-enabled weapons. Zuckerman estimates there is a $50 billion market for high-tech guns, including military, law enforcement and civilian. The company’s first market is the military, where there is a growing interest in tech-enabled weapons as war becomes more distant and mechanized.

Yea, there’s “growing interest” in smart guns in the military, just as in law enforcement.  Right.  That she would publish shit like this is embarrassing.  To her.

So in case readers have forgotten it, my bet is still on the table.

I am a registered professional engineer, and I spend all day analyzing things and performing calculations.  Let’s not speak in broad generalities and murky platitudes (such as “good enough”).  That doesn’t work with me.  By education, training and experience, I reject such things out of hand.  Perform a fault tree analysis of smart guns.  Use highly respected guidance like the NRC fault tree handbook.

Assess the reliability of one of my semi-automatic handguns as the first state point, and then add smart gun technology to it, and assess it again.  Compare the state points.  Then do that again with a revolver.  Be honest.  Assign a failure probability of greater than zero (0) to the smart technology, because you know that each additional electronic and mechanical component has a failure probability of greater than zero.

Get a PE to seal the work to demonstrate thorough and independent review.  If you can prove that so-called “smart guns” are as reliable as my guns, I’ll pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.  If you lose, you buy me the gun of my choice.  No one will take the challenge because you will lose that challenge.  I’ll win.  Case closed.  End of discussion.

Ms. MacBride?  Questions?


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