Misguided Pro-Gun Activists

 

Article giving an overview of smart guns:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/26/tech/innovation/smart-guns-know-whos-firing/

 

Modern technology is making everything in our world “smart”. Smart-phones, smart-cars and smart-houses are becoming an ever more expansive reality as computer technology is being integrated into previously mechanical objects. It should come as no surprise then that guns are also becoming smart. In this case one innovation is a gun that will only fire if its user is wearing a special watch. A pin code must be entered into the watch for it to be used. The goal is to make the gun usable by its owner who wears the watch, but not by criminals who may steal the gun. Another technology being developed is a gun that will only fire if it is in contact with its owner’s fingerprints.

There are security benefits to these technologies, but only marginal ones. Potential mass shooters can still buy their own weapons, and so can straw purchasers (people who can pass background checks and buy guns for criminals). From what I can research there is nothing stopping pin codes from being shared so that whoever wears the watch can also fire the gun. Gun-control advocates like these new smart technologies because they have the potential to curb gun violence while gun-rights supporters fear that these technologies will be legally mandated to be used in firearms and lead to future restrictions on the right to bear arms. Some gun advocates are even coming out against firearm dealers who sell smart guns to voluntary costumers.

I actually disagree with gun rights groups about being against smart guns themselves. If people want to buy smart guns they should be free to do so. I am against mandating the technology partly because I do not know enough about it and partly because it being mandated could lead to further, more onerous gun restrictions. But it is not right to come out against gun shops who sell smart guns. The fact is that if the technology exists, the government can still mandate its use, regardless of how many shops currently sell the guns, so protesting the voluntary shops and buyers will do no good. Also, I do like the idea of smart guns so long as it is not mandated that all guns be smart guns. If I was living at home with my wife and little kids, why not have a pistol that will only fire if my wife or I use it? That way we can still use the gun for self defense, but we don’t have to worry about our kids accidentally discharging a loaded firearm. Gun owners are constantly trying to find a balance between having a gun safely stored and having it readily accessible in case of emergencies. Smart guns can make finding this balance a lot easier. Also, if I know I use a specific gun only for target shooting, why not have technology that makes the gun only work when it is at the range?

My basic point is that a free society is not endangered by citizens voluntarily choosing to use technology that can make guns safer. Traditional guns will still be available, but for those who want smart guns I think they are a good idea.

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