In the latest Bond movie, 007's quartermaster passes him a 9 mm pistol coded to his palm print.
"Only you can fire it, it's less of a random killing machine. More of a personal statement."
NEW YORK (AP) — It sounds, at first, like a bold, next-generation solution: personalizing guns with technology that keeps them from firing if
they ever get into the wrong hands.
Medications in the wrong little hands can be fatal, so put a childproof cap on the bottle and store them out of reach.
Guns in the wrong hands can be fatal so put a lock on them and store them in a gun locker.
Unfortunately, most fail miserably at taking that precaution of locking up their firearms. Primarily, (other than simply being lazy), it's because of
the thought; "Well I can't grab-N-shoot in a hurry should I need to protect myself if I'm fumbling around for a key for the lock."
For 30 years
, although moving at a glacial pace, the effort to push making guns safer by making them 'smarter'
is finally picking up steam after a very embattled past.
At first, having never entertained the thought, you might say, "Brilliant! No brainer, that's exactly what we need".
However, there are two sides to every coin.
But when the White House called for pushing ahead with such new technology as part of President Obama's plan to cut gun violence, the
administration did not mention the concept's embattled past. As with so much else in the nation's long-running divisions over gun rights and
regulation, what sounds like a futuristic vision is, in fact, an idea that has been kicked around for years, sidelined by intense suspicion, doubts
about feasibility and pressure tactics.
The nation has a renewed sense of firearms following the Newtown school massacre, so now proponents of so-called personalized or "smart guns" are
hoping it will kick start research and sale of safer weapons.
But despite the Obama administration's promise to "encourage the development of innovative gun safety technology," advocates have good reason to
These 'personalized weapons' have always occupied shaky ground, an idea criticized both by gun-rights groups and some gun control advocates.
How can any idea to make guns safer by making available the technology to make them smarter be criticized?
To the gun groups, the idea of using technology to control who can fire a gun smacks of a limitation on personal rights, particularly if it might
be mandated by government. At the same time, some gun control advocates worry that such technology, by making guns appear falsely safe, would
encourage Americans to stock up on even more weapons then they already have in their homes.
Appear falsely safe? I think that little switch on the side of most guns now, that says 'safe', well that's what makes them already appear falsely
If you've never owned a gun, but now a 'smart gun' is available that can only be fired by you...would this make you go out and buy a gun if you
normally would not have?
Or buy even more if you already own a gun?
There's no getting around the political BS of a worthy effort and the debate over personalized guns long ago strayed well beyond
whether the technology will work. ...
Those were the first questions asked in 1994 when the research arm of the Justice Department began studying prospects of making a police gun that
a criminal would not be able to fire if he wrestled it away during a struggle. Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories examined available
technology in 1996 and found it promising, but wanting.
Steven Teret, a former attorney and public health expert at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and who went on to found Hopkins' Center for Gun
Policy and Research:
Teret began trying to get lawmakers and gun makers interested in the concept of personalized weapons. He convinced U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder,
D-Colorado, to earmark funding for the Justice study. And in the mid-1990s he voiced support for a project at Colt's Manufacturing Co., the legendary
but beleaguered gun maker that saw an opportunity to sell safe guns to police officers and parents of young children. Colt's developed a gun equipped
with a microchip that would prevent it from firing unless the user was wearing an enabling device located in a special wristband.
But gun rights advocates were skeptical....
because the government was funding research of the concept and because gun control advocates like Teret embraced it. At about the same time, New
Jersey lawmakers began discussing a measure requiring all new handguns sold in the state to be personalized, three years after the technology came to
market. The measure passed in 2002.
Colt's CEO Ronald Stewart wrote an editorial in American Firearms Industry magazine calling on fellow manufacturers to parry gun control efforts
by backing a federal gun registry and developing personalized weapons. "While technology such as this should not be mandated it should be an option
for the consumer," Stewart wrote. "If we can send a motorized computer to Mars, then certain we can advance our technology to be more
Soon after, the Coalition of New Jersey Sportsmen — a state affiliate of the National Rifle Association — began calling for a boycott of
Colt's. It warned that personalized technology might make it difficult for gun owners to defend themselves and called the company's conduct
"detrimental to American-style freedoms and liberties." Stewart was replaced as CEO of Colt's in 1998 and the company eventually abandoned development
of a personalized gun.
Okay, way to go Coalition of New Jersey Sportsmen, you just got any progress on a great idea sidelined and a huge advocate canned in the process in
If the final technology works, 100%, how will it make it more difficult for one to defend themselves? Maybe the idea that they can't pass their gun
over to their wife so she can have a go at shooting cans off the fence post for a while. They'll have to buy a separate one for her, unless the
bracelet technology allows her to strap it on for a while.
In 1999, New Jersey's lawmakers approved a grant to researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology to study personalized gun technology. Those
efforts focused on adding transducers to a gun's handle to detect the grasp of an authorized user. Meanwhile, the Justice Department offered a
challenge grant to gun makers and although two responded, they made limited headway by the time $7 million in funding ran out.
I don't know who is clogging up the check-out line more on this, the gun advocates or the gun control groups.
Work on personalized weapons suffered another setback after gun rights' groups boycotted Smith & Wesson over a 2000 agreement it signed with the
Clinton administration in which the manufacturer made numerous promises, including one to develop smart guns.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey school, funded by Congressional earmarks, tried repeatedly to find a commercial partner for its work. But even as NJIT
bolstered the reliability of its prototype, which now has a recognition rate of about 97 percent, it found it a hard sell. Talks with a Florida gun
maker at first seemed productive until industry activists pressured the company to back away, said Donald Sebastian, NJIT's senior vice president for
research and development
edit on 27-1-2013 by Lonewulph because: (no reason given)