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Gun ignorance seemingly drives some "gun safety" proponents

Safety matters, particularly with firearms. Gun safety, as most of us understand it, is a good thing that’s protected an untold number of lives. When someone gets hurt via a negligent discharge, it’s generally the result of someone not following these basic rules.

However, some people have a different view of what gun safety should entail.

We know the anti-gun groups who have tried to coopt the term and make it a synonym for gun control, but some people are genuinely so clueless about guns that their ideas are…special.

Take this letter to the editor.

The author starts out talking about cars and how we’ve worked to make them even safer, then she offers her suggestions for gun safety.

What if we developed that same culture of safety with regard to guns? What if semi-automatic weapons in the hands of civilians had detection systems that prevented them from being fired at humans? What if a police gun could detect that what a person held was not a threat and could switch to a rubber bullet? What if guns had fingerprint or voice recognition that prevented unauthorized use? What if guns came with safety and security monitors that called for assistance when they sensed that the gun was being used in a certain situation? Wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that help is on the way during dangerous situations?

Now, understand that this is someone who thinks they’re offering up good ideas, ways that technology can make our lives so much better and, in this case, safer.

Yet this paragraph alone is a threat to safety because the facepalm I gave myself caused a mild concussion.

Let’s take her–let’s call them “suggestions”–suggestions one at a time.

What if semi-automatic weapons in the hands of civilians had detection systems that prevented them from being fired at humans?

Congratulations. You just eliminated the ability of most people to defend themselves.

This particularly ignorant suggestion is premised on the idea that no one uses semi-automatic firearms lawfully against another person. My guess is that she doesn’t understand what a semi-automatic weapon actually is.

The category of “semi-automatic” weapon includes the much-vilified AR-15, but it also includes everything from sporting shotguns to the most common handguns people buy to protect themselves from home invaders.

If you make it so they can’t fire at a human being, you’ve now rendered them useless for self-defense.

“But criminals won’t have guns that can shoot people either!”

If someone can jailbreak an iPhone, do you really think they won’t jailbreak a Glock? Seriously?

What if a police gun could detect that what a person held was not a threat and could switch to a rubber bullet?

Oh, wow. This is a new breed of ignorance here. Not just about guns but about the nature of threats and the inherent unreliability of technology.

Look, if police with years of training have trouble deciding someone isn’t a threat, then how is a piece of software?

Second, what kind of guns exist that can switch between different kinds of ammo? That’s the realm of science fiction. The only way a modern gun can fire different kinds of ammo is if it’s loaded into the gun in some kind of mixture. However, there’s no way the operator can just switch between those ammo types based on need or desire, so how is this mythical firearm going to detect the threat and switch to a different round type?

The short answer is that it’s not.

Beyond this point, we start getting into smart gun nonsense, which I’ll give the author a pass on. Yes, pushing this kind of thing is still ignorant, but considering the way the media has pushed those recently, you can forgive her for thinking it’s a viable technology.

Yet this “thinking” illustrates just how ignorant some people are about just how guns are used, by either private citizens or law enforcement. They’re the living embodiment of the Good Idea Fairy and, if we’re not careful, they’ll convince lawmakers to push this as legal mandates.