Media gladly carrying water for smart gun makers

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Imagine having a company that makes guns. Now, imagine that you could get the media to basically boost your marketing copy without any critical examination of what you’re saying.

Sounds glorious, right?

Well, it’s reality for a certain category of gun maker. In particular, so-called smart gun manufacturers get just that from the media.

Here’s the latest example.

As the debate surrounding gun control rages, one start-up company hopes its modification will save the lives of children. Lodestar calls it a “smart gun.” It’s a Glock-17 with its patented modifications.

The weapon can be unlocked in three ways: through an app, a pin pad on the side, or the fingerprint of an authorized user. Co-founder Ginger Chandler says the goal is to keep unauthorized people, like children, from using the weapon. The latest Child Fatality Report from the state shows a firearm accidentally killed 6 children in Tennessee in 2020, and 20 people under 18 committed suicide using a gun.

“It may seem like a small number to some people, but it’s a huge number if it were your child,” says Chandler.

The gun owner can program multiple authorized users into the weapon and fingerprints for each user. Chandler says that would allow spouses, family members, and other trusted users to fire the gun.

Of course, the news station that ran this didn’t do much in the way of a critical examination of Chandler’s comments.

I mean, right now, there’s an issue with the Google Pixel 6a. It seems that any fingerprint can open the phones. Now, we don’t know how widespread that particular issue is, but since this is the same technology that Chandler is touting, it seems relevant.

Then there’s the fact that “smart guns” are perpetually just a few years off from becoming viable, only they never are.

What we’ve seen from companies like Lodestar are a lot of promises with few deliveries.

Yet the media laps it up. They regurgitate the marketing info as if it’s gospel truth, then maybe reach out to the NSSF or NRA or whatever, but they never actually examine the reality.

Over and over again, we’ve seen that such critical examinations of these companies’ claims raises huge red flags. Lodestar and their competitors tend to focus so much on the technology that they don’t actually try to make a good gun, yet still manage to screw even that up.

Gun owners aren’t clamoring for smart guns. I have yet to see anyone excited by the prospect of finally being able to buy a gun because the technology will prevent misuse or whatever.

Which is good because, as we have seen time and time again, it doesn’t.

Look, I don’t care if companies like Lodestar want to make a smart gun. In a free market, they’re welcome to do so, and if there’s a market for it, more power to them.

What bothers me, though it isn’t surprising, is how the media will simply report exactly what these companies say as if it’s the absolute, honest truth, but will treat respectable gun makers who have been in the industry for decades as if they’re some kind of evil.

That’s not even close to right.