Leftists seem to be completely enamored with the idea of smart guns. The Daily Beast is just the latest to laud the technology in a post about the subject. It’s a talking point that is parroted time and time again, the idea that a smart gun will ultimately be the solution to gun violence.
However, The Daily Beast is also one of the rare left-leaning outlets that actually touches on part of the problem with smart guns.
But smart guns remain a novelty, for more than a few reasons. First, making a gun “smarter” requires technological work that makes it, by definition, a more expensive purchase. Second, guns with added accessories make for a bulkier product, rendering them less desirable—an issue Cohen and his team tried to deal with in creating their smart gun, which uses embedded technology.
The problem with smart guns isn’t that they are trying to be safer. Indeed, that’s a noble aspect that is desperately needed in America right now, as the body count of gunshot victims rises. Preventing people from using firearms they aren’t supposed to be able to use—whether that is from stealing it, or accessing a family member’s gun trove for suicide or murder, intentional or accidental—will unquestionably be useful in making guns safer.
But smart guns won’t solve America’s sadly unique gun violence epidemic. Most American mass shooters had access to use their own firearm. And smart guns won’t stop a mentally ill person from being able to use their own gun, or a person determined to use a gun to find a way to use one.
We’re also not even sure if smart guns can work. Julia Wolfson, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health who has studied gun violence prevention policies, said the data simply do not exist to argue that smart guns can save lives.
And they won’t.
Even while lauding the technology – in particular, a biometric and RFID-enabled holster for securing the gun – I have to applaud The Daily Beast for trying to take an honest look at the issue about smart guns.
However, there are other things that get missed.
For one, any technology can fail, but the more advanced and complicated, the more opportunity for failure. With regard to smart guns, that means not being able to use a firearm when you need it most.
Further, by only allowing a small number of people to use the gun, typically the owner, it means that even if everything works perfectly, the gun might not be deployable in the case of an emergency.
If I’m incapacitated for some reason, I want my wife to be able to access my gun to protect herself and our children.
And none of that touches on how smart guns are firearms you just can’t try out with your buddies. Shooting can be a very social activity. There’s something grand about a bunch of guys getting together at a range and shooting, trying out each other’s guns, getting an idea of what else you might like down the road.
You can’t do that with a smart gun. I can’t let my buddy shoot it to see if he’d like it.
And none of the discussion out there seems to even touch on used firearm sales. Can I sell my smart gun? If so, how will that work?
The fact is, this tech sounds like a solution to everything, and it’s not. In fact, it may cause more problems than it will allegedly solve. There’s a reason so many of us oppose the technology. It’s not that we wouldn’t welcome a way to protect our guns from being used by thieves or curious children. Far from it. We just don’t trust the tech to both do that and work every single time we need it, even if we’re not the ones with the finger on the trigger.
So why are leftists so enamored with this technology?
It’s simple. It allows them to pretend to be something other than anti-Second Amendment by saying, “Oh, no, I support your right to bear arms. I just want to end gun violence,” all while failing to actually address violence. It’s just that simple.
In fact, the potential for failure may be more of a bug than a feature to a handful of leftists who view self-defense as some kind of moral wrong.
Basically, smart gun technology provides all things to the left that they could possibly want. Unfortunately, there’s really no advantage to us to accept it.