Proponents of smart guns don’t listen.
Well, they don’t listen to people who oppose smart guns, anyway.
Granted, I already knew this, but every so often something comes up that reminds me of how little smart-gun proponents listen to opponents on the topic.
You know, things like this.
People on both sides of the gun control debate can at least agree safer guns are a good thing — can’t they?
After all, what’s wrong with a gun that sets off an alarm and sends a text if it’s moved? Or needs the user’s thumbprint to operate? Or only fires when a user wearing a tiny electronic ID tag picks it up?
Plenty, according to some users, especially police officers, who say they need speedy, reliable access above anything else. Some also believe any government attempts to require smart-gun technology infringes on gun rights.
Still, it’s the hope of Don’t Stand Idly By — a movement promoting safer weapons that might reduce gun thefts, suicides and accidents that claim the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every year — that law enforcement can back the same cause without taking sides.
“Our campaign has nothing to do with mandates,” the group’s Erin Stilp said.”It’s about products that are going to make it safer for all of us,” both for those who won’t live in a house with a gun and those who won’t live in a house without one.
The problem is, smart guns don’t make anything safer for all of us.
Let’s look at a few of these suggestions, and I’ll show you what’s wrong with them.
Ehren Achee of Ignis Kinetics in Texas talked about his work on a system that would equip guns with a device that would detect a tiny RFID worn by the authorized user and only then become usable. RFID stands for radio frequency identification and is similar to that used on ID cards employees used to enter secure work areas.
Great. So, what happens when I take it off to get in the shower, but then something happens where I need my gun?
Based on this technology, I’ll have to grab not just my gun but also an RFID chip to slip on before I go out to save my family’s life.
What happens when I forget to put it on that morning, then need my weapon to save my life but can’t because I left one thing at home?
Timothy Oh demonstrated Vara’s Reach, a wall-mounted handgun lock that leaves the grip exposed and unlocks as soon as the authorized user reaches for it and the device reads her thumbprint.
“As fast as a holster, as secure as a safe,” Oh said.
Until it loses power, that is.
Or there’s something on the reader that makes it difficult for it to pick up my thumbprint.
Or my thumb isn’t perfectly placed on the reader.
Shall I go on?
Bob Allen of Safety First Arms showed off a PIN-activated lock and alarm built into a replacement grip for the popular AR-15 rifle. It also keeps the safety on whenever the user is not actively pushing a lever forward with his or her thumb. Allen said he’s looking for more financing for his creation.
Yes, because what I want to do in a high-stress situation is to have to key in four digits to access my weapon.
And what happens if you forget it? I mean, with my ATM card, I can call my bank. Who do I call so I can get my gun unlocked?
Honestly, these are all well-intentioned things. They’re trying to use technology to help what they see as a problem, and I applaud that.
But part of the problem is that despite Don’t Stand Idly By’s intentions, mandates are an issue. New Jersey already has one, for crying out loud. Trying to argue that mandates are irrelevant because you’re not pushing them is ridiculous. They’re a factor.
Those problems are compounded by the fact that the more technical the item, the more failure points are introduced into the mix. Smart guns add numerous failure points into a system that’s already been honed by almost a century of development. They’re going to have a hard row to hoe if they want to get anywhere.
And thanks to New Jersey, many gun owners and Second Amendment advocates are outright opposed to their development.
Sorry Don’t Stand Idly By, but that’s the truth. Learn to accept it.