The liberal Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, is expected to rule soon on whether states can force firearm manufacturers to incorporate safety devices in their products. Here’s why smart guns are a stupid idea from Robert Farago:
- “Smart guns” will never be foolproof – and you’re the fool
I don’t care how much you’ve trained for a defensive gun use. When the excrement hits the rotating air circulation device, you’re an awkward fool. For one thing, a massive adrenaline dump moves blood away from your extremities (a hard-wired reaction to protect you from bleeding). As the Rabbi puts it, fingers turn to flippers. Fine motor skills go bye-bye.
For another, your cognitive abilities (i.e. higher brain functions) go walkies. The idea of adding an extra step to the process of armed self-defense is inherently, not to say profoundly dangerous. (The main reason you should never carry an unloaded gun.) A “smart gun” that requires any additional manipulation — including precise hand placement — is potentially catastrophic.
“Smart gun” developers know this. That’s why they’re trying to develop supposedly foolproof firearms.
At least one potential manufacturer has developed a weapon requiring an access code for initial activation. Others have opted for systems dependent on a functioning watch (as above) or ring. The danger of a mechanical or behavioral malfunction in those systems is pretty obvious.
Most “smart gun” makers are working on creating guns with automatic user identification embeded in the firearm, usually relying on your finger or palm print. When you grab your gun the system recognizes you and “allows” you to fire the weapon.
Any gun-mounted user identification system would have to be lightning quick and 100 percent foolproof. It would have to work under all conditions, including temperature variations and in the event of a bad (i.e., poor or emergency) grip.
By the same token, a fingerprint or palm print recognition system will be defeated if you’re wearing a glove or your finger or hand is covered in a substance preventing recognition. A substance like…blood. Gunfights can be bloody affairs. Now what?
If you believe that a foolproof “smart gun” is a possibility, consider the fact that existing guns — machines which rely on simple, highly evolved mechanical processes — can and do fail. For example, I shot a Smith & Weson revolver where a basic mechanical lock seized up in the middle of a string of fire. Magazine failures are relatively common (the reason you should always carry a spare).
In other words, guns already aren’t foolproof. No matter how well designed and manufactured, adding an electronic system on top of the mechanical functions increases the risk of a malfunction. Some people will be willing to accept that risk. You shouldn’t. You should take responsibility for your firearm’s security. Period.
More on Smart Guns here:
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