Fascinating. http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/05/gun-laws says that there are, a la Skyfall, guns available which will only fire in the hands of the owner. Does anyone know anything about this technology? And why anyone trying to sell them in the US is terrorised out of doing so by gun enthusiasts?
Thanks for sharing this, @sil. I stumbled on something similar the other day.
So this seems to be a key bit:
Gun-lovers argue that the smart guns could pave the way for a host of new safety regulations. These fears are apparently heavy enough to justify manipulating the market.
I think this gets to the heart of the gun issue. It seems to me that gun enthusiasts are less gun enthusiasts and more passionate about protecting their rights to defend themselves. It strikes me that guns are merely the primary tool that they consider important. If we primarily protected ourselves from all those naughty criminals with bananas, I suspect we would see a raft of banana control opposition.
This article seems to highlight this issue - some gun fans will see this safety mechanism as a means to provide a problem in the heat of the moment when that rapist is climbing the stairs. This could indeed be a problem if the gun is registered in the husbands fingerprints and the wife is alone in the house with a baby and the gun won’t work in her hands.
I totally see how this could be an issue in terms of self defence. I also don’t get why anyone would go to the lengths of death threats to prevent the technology hitting the market; isn’t this the point of the free market…encourage other gun makers to then make safety mechanisms that do meet the needs of the gun owner?
Irrespective, I think we should put things in context. I think the vast majority of gun owners would really support these kinds of safety measures, but there will be some who are super hardcore who won’t, and I bet those people are the ones with the death threats and such.
Whilst I agree with most of what you’ve said, I’m not convinced that this bit is really true. My experience (admittedly limited) is that they are concerned with their constitutional right to own the biggest guns they can get their hands on.
I also think that it’s a technological solution to a non-technical problem.
Exactly! Thanks Jono.
I disagree with this, MrBen. As a gun owner myself, it’s not necessarily about bigger, more, heavier for the sake of bigger, more, heavier. There are several things at play here.
First, it’s about the right tool for the job. You wouldn’t use a jeweler’s or electroncs screwdriver set to work on the engine of your car, because it just wouldn’t be effective. Well, it turns out that the same applies to guns. Going out hunting something the size of a deer/bear/etc with a .22 pistol? Turns out, like the jeweler’s screwdriver set, not terribly effective. As Bart said of Mongo in Blazing Saddles, “Oh no, don’t do that, don’t do that. If you shoot him, you’ll just make him mad.”
Second, it turns out that, to the surprise of no one, weapons created by/for the militaries of nation-states are among the most effective ever designed. Whether the AR-15/M-15/M4 platform or the AK-47 or the Galil or the Mosin-Nagant or the M1911A1 .45 pistol, these things were designed to hold up under combat conditions, which is arguably the most extreme self-defense situation. There are Mosin Nagants from the 1880s that are still usable. I have one that was built in 1942 that is still perfectly serviceable, and I fire it regularly.
As Jono said, there are a lot of us that are passionate about defending ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, there are collectors out there as well…And there are those who are a bit of both. Many of the people who advocate gun control are looking at it from there minivan-in-suburbia, ideal bubble-wrapped world. However, it doesn’t work like that everywhere. Look at some of the cases where they dont:
There was another one where a boy saved his sister by shooting a dog (?) when it was attacking her, but I can’t locate the link.
Some of these happened in suburbia. And what about the people in remote areas where 911 is not an effective option? Does living in a rural area then negate your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? What about people living in high crime areas (like areas of downtown Chicago) where the police won’t go?
A huge part of the problem is that the anti-gun people’s ultimate goal is to tell gun owners “no you can’t have your guns – not yours.” So most of their proposed gun laws are to move toward this goal by nibbling at the edge of the debate – banning so-called high-capacity magazines, banning certain weapons, and so forth. (And if I may insert another factoid, the AR-15 has had 30 round magazines since the 1970s – 40 years, and the AK-47 has had 30 round magazines since it was introduced in the 1950s – 60 years. I maintain that this would make them standard capacity magazines for those particular weapons)…Either that or wanting an expanded registry/federal database/background checks. This is handled by the states. Each time I buy a weapon in my state, I have to have a background check through the state police as well as an fbi background check. Expanding and federalizing it will do exactly what? Provide the opportunity to slut shame gun owners like that newspaper that published the names and addresses of everyone with a gun permit in New York? Give the goon squad or criminals a targeted list of where to go to collect guns?
And here is a news flash…The people who are committing gun crimes are, by and large, not getting background checks, because they are either stealing or buying their guns from other criminals. They aren’t getting background checks, and since they are interested in using a gun for violence or in the commission of a crime, they aren’t even going to blink at not getting a background check.
If the gun control people would come up with a strategy that would work instead of just trying to take them away or otherwise further limiting my rights, then I might be on board with it. How they should approach it, if they were really interested in reducing crime would be to enforce the laws already on the books…Stuff like mandatory sentence extensions for using a gun in a crime.
When it comes to “smart” guns, the things that concern me are
- the point Jono made about my wife/whoever needing it and it only being keyed to me;
- In the wake of heartbleed, an electronic device like this is going to be a target. Someone is going to hack this technology, and that does not lead me to sleep well at night.
- three words: iphone fingerprint reader. Apparently easily spoofed and hard to make work right.
I’d just as soon not be that guy who wakes up at 2am to breaking glass, only to find out that the gun won’t read my fingerprint or that the intruders (be it hacker/robbers or the brute squad) have some manner of jammer that disables the gun…
There is already a training video for self defense against bananas and such.
I understand that concern. That’s a reason for you to not buy that gun, right? It’s not a reason to prevent it from being put on sale at all. I don’t like onion bhajis, but I just don’t buy them; I’m not trying to stop other people buying them.
Random gun bullshit aside, I’ve had zero issues with the fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5s. Zero.
First, the tech is a gun that will only fire when in proximity to a paired device, in this case it’s a watch. If the watch isn’t within a couple of feet of the paired firearm, it won’t fire.
Second, gun “enthusiasts” are going nuts about it, because New Jersey has a statute on the books that states that within three years of a smart gun going on sale anywhere within the continental United States, all guns sold in New Jersey must be smart guns.
Yes, Americans are nuts.
OK, I can see why there’s massive opposition to putting the first one on the market, then!
Some Americans are nuts; the vast majority of Americans I have met over the years are pretty balanced people. This is a country of extremes: there are the very best and very worst in people out here. Also, crappy food and then the glory that is In-N-Out burger.
Well, for me, that’s the reason to buy a good, old “manual” (no/few electronics) gun instead of something that is hackable. By the same token, I’m not going to buy a google self-driving car.
I find it interesting that a lot of the anti-gun people don’t apply the same logic to other things in life that they do to guns. (And I am not talking about you here, @sil…I am talking about the people who wish to take away the right to own guns or worse, trying to circumvent existing laws to take away guns.) As I said in the other thread, taking guns from legal gun owners is not going to decrease crime, it’s going to increase it. Because if you outlaw guns, then only the outlaws will have them.
So why don’t they demand that cars be banned (Jeremy Clarkson just felt a tremor in The Force… ). People use them for nasty purposes. There are more and more road rage incidents, aggressive drivers…Cars are used in the commission of crimes, and people are constantly (more often than legal gun owners, dare I say) having accidents with them.
After all, a car, like a gun, is nothing but a tool, and it damned sure can kill, especially in the wrong hands…And it can be used to commit crimes whether it is a woman running over her husband repeatedly because he cheated, or as a getaway car in a bank robbery.
BECAUSE CARS ARE NOT DESIGNED TO INFLICT DAMAGE, INJURY OR DEATH TO PROPERTY AND LIVING CREATURES. In the same way that a nail gun is not so designed. Or a steak knife. Or a beer bottle. Or an airliner. Or a plastic carrier bag.
I find it interesting that gun people constantly draw analogies to things that are not designed from the outset to injure or kill people to try and make their argument for personal gun ownership more valid.
There’s a disconnect here. How will the removal of all legal guns increase gun? Surely the number of “outlaws” with illegal firearms would remain static? Surely the number of legal gun owners do not or would not intend to use their legal guns for illegal purposes? Surely if they did intend to use their legal guns for illegal purposes, them not having a legal gun would provide a barrier to them performing the illegal act? Surely if they were hellbent on performing the illegal act with the firearm, the legality of the firearm is moot?
I’m not going to start citing statistics, because that’s a stupid road to go down, as it derails otherwise productive argument and discussion (“Hey, X% of A happens in the US, but Y% of A happens in the place that isn’t the US” “Ah, but G% of B happens in the US, while H% of B happens elsewhere, and that’s surely because A doesn’t happen there” “Yeah, but …” Et cetera).
But I fail to see how legislation passed in the 18th Century, permitting the personal ownership of firearms so that a militia of the people could be formed, has any relevance whatsoever in a civilised society, one with professional law enforcement and military forces protecting said society from harm.
“A militia generally is an army or other fighting force that is composed of non-professional fighters; citizens of a nation or subjects of a state or government that can be called upon to enter a combat situation, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel.”
Tell me, please, where you believe - short of an alien invasion or zombie attack - citizens should be called upon to arm themselves and enter a combat situation?
I would agree that assault weapons are designed to kill as they are designed for military purposes, but I don’t believe guns themselves are fundamentally designed with killing in mind in the same way that I don’t believe
nmap was designed for hacking; it was designed for security and protection. I think the majority of gun owners feel this way about their guns too.
The issue in the debate here is with intent. There are many technologies that can be associated with bad things by their critics. In the software world we have nmap as I just mentioned, or Tor, or bittorrent. Each of these technologies can be associated with criminal activity and the exploitation of others, but do we believe they should be banned or significantly restricted? Most of us don’t believe that. We believe that skilled people should be able to have access to tools they need that can be utilized for reasonable means. I think the same should apply to firearms.
Most gun owners want to protect their rights as law abiding legal firearm owners who are certified and regulated to use a firearm. I have to say, I see their point: my brother-in-law, for example, is a a gun fan who is remarkably safe with his guns (bordering on paranoid safe); I see no reason why he shouldn’t be able to legally own a gun so he can pursue his hobbies: shooting and hunting.
But here is the point: he has no criminal record, he bought his guns legally, he followed all state and federal procedures, had background checks etc. He proved his capabilities in owning a weapon.
In the same way, I see people who are utilizing software tools like nmap, Tor, and bittorrent should be free to utilize those tools so long as they demonstrate care and attention. Part of me thinks that we should restrict some technologies in the same way guns are restricted, but naturally there are many challenges with this.
My point here is that I don’t think we should dismiss entire technologies based on nefarious misuse by the few.
Most gun owners are not school spree-shooting lunatics. The few are, and as we said back when we discussed this in http://www.badvoltage.org/2014/01/30/1x08/, the real issue here is mental health; an issue that the US is struggling with across many different avenues.
They are. That’s what guns are for.
The most serious gun user will tell you to obey range safety; to not point a gun at anything else unless you intend to shoot it.
Guns are for kiling. Killing might be a good idea, but let’s not beat around the bush. Guns are for kiling.
I think this is where I disagree. As I say, I think some guns are designed for killing, and some guns are designed for killing animals, but some guns are designed for shooting. Irrespective, as I said in my last post, I think what is more important is the intent.
Jono, if guns are not designed for killing what are they designed for?
Basic instructions for using gun:
- Point at the person/thing you want to die
- Squeeze trigger
There may be an argument that there are valid circumstances where killing is OK: Though I’m not convinced personally, but let’s not fool our selves here.
I’m not sure that Nerf counts in this discussion.
If laws were passed to take guns away from legal gun owners, you can pretty well bet that the number of illegal guns would remain static or even increase slightly, because the criminals are not going to give up theirs. Thus it would turn the vast majority into targets. Sheep among the wolves, as it were. Say what you will, but deterrence is a real factor keeping crime down. A couple of adages in use over here are “an armed populace is a polite populace.” and “criminals love gun control. It makes their jobs safer.” So what’s to stop the criminals with guns from running rampant? The police? I live in a rural area, which means any 911 call (999 for those in the UK), is probably at least a 30 minute response. The police would get there in time to investigate the crime, not stop it.
Well, a couple of points. The 2nd Amendment was penned against a federal government gone out of control. Some would say the US is headed that way. However, there have been cases where Americans have taken up arms against a tyrannical “government gone wild.” The American Civil War is one such case, but there have been others, such as the Battle of Athens in 1946.
Well, I have owned guns for almost 30 years, and I have never killed with any of them. I’ve torn up a lot of paper targets… Having said that, any weapon may be classified this way. Swords, bow and arrow, even phasers from Star Trek. But the other side of that coin is anything can be used as a weapon, hence the automobile reference above, and if people get it into their head to kill, they will use whatever is at hand. As Jono said, it it’s not so much about the tool the person uses as it is about getting people the help they need. If it is not guns, it will be something else…
Jono, if I may rant for a second…I agree with your points, but at the same time, the term assault weapon is meaningless. What you are talking about is an assault rifle which is defined by wikipedia as “a selective fire (selective between semi-automatic, fully automatic and/or burst fire) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine”…
My point here is that you can’t go into your local gun store and buy an assault rifle. You have to have a special permit to own any automatic weapon. The AR-15s or AK-47s that you can buy in the gun stores, are simply semi-automatic hunting rifles that are built to look similar to the assault rifles.
The term assault weapon is a sound-alike phrase that the anti-gunners can pour meaning in to in order to generate FUD.
The first and foremost reason would be home invasions…
Sadly, we live in an imperfect world, filled with evil people who don’t think twice about harming innocents.
I agree that assault rifles are restricted, but this was my point about them being designed for military use. My view is that semi or fully automated weapons should not be sold to the general public under any circumstances. A high bullet and capacity and fire rate is indeed designed for killing.
I personally don’t care about the distinction between assault weapon and assault rifle; the interpretation in the public consciousness is the same…a big ass gun that sprays bullets.