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House Bill Would Mandate Smart Gun Tech By U.S. Manufacturers 750

Posted by Soulskill
from the powered-by-the-cloud dept.
Lucas123 writes "U.S. Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass) is pushing a bill that would require all U.S. handgun manufacturers to include 'personalization technology' in their weapons. Tierney said he got the idea for The Personalized Handgun Safety Act of 2013 from the latest James Bond film, Skyfall. In it Bond escapes death when his handgun, which is equipped with technology that recognizes his fingerprints, becomes inoperable when a bad guy picks it up. 'This technology, however, isn't just for the movies — it's a reality,' Tierney said. Tierney pointed to a myriad of cases where the smart gun tech could prevent children from being harmed or killed in firearms accidents. Jim Wallace, executive director of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League, the official state association of the NRA, said he knows of no gun owners who would want smart gun technology on their weapons. Wallace said any technology that may impede the proper function of a weapon is a problem. He pointed to the fact that any integrated processor technology would also require a battery of some kind, which could pose a system failure if it lost power."
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House Bill Would Mandate Smart Gun Tech By U.S. Manufacturers

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  • Movies are real! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kreigaffe (765218) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:51PM (#43785627)

    Lawmakers have been introducing these bills since at least the mid-90s, with Judge Dredd being the first movie I'm aware of directly tied to it.

    The tech was not then, and is not now, possible. They're MOVIES. That's not REALITY.

    Our elected officials are dumber than you could possibly imagine.

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:52PM (#43785671) Homepage

      But. But.

      Instructional Videos [imdb.com]!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:55PM (#43785725)
      Its easy to make a trigger that doesn't fire when the wrong person holds it. Its harder to make one that also does fire all the time when you hold it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        The technology would be better off if it had the opposite goal. Provide a 100% chance that the authorized firer can pull the trigger and then work on providing a > 0% chance that some unauthorized person cannot fire it. Even if the chance to prevent someone else from firing your weapon was low, say 25%, we would be better off than we are now.

        The only thing to worry about would be people becomming over-reliant on the technology and allowing anyone to access their weapon under the assumption that they co

        • Re:Movies are real! (Score:5, Informative)

          by wagnerrp (1305589) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:32PM (#43786369)
          Just how do you propose you do that. The trouble isn't about false positives or negatives in the mechanism. The trouble is that there is any mechanism at all. As the article mentioned, any "smart" weapon requires a processor, memory, and a battery to power it. Chances are you're also going to be replacing a mechanical trigger with an electronic one, so all your existing ammunition is useless. You're disconnecting the trigger from a spring-loaded hammer, and thus introducing a new failure point in a previously robust, mechanical system.
          • Just how do you propose you do that. The trouble isn't about false positives or negatives in the mechanism. The trouble is that there is any mechanism at all.

            Well, it's "fail open" vs "fail closed". What about a mechanism that disables the gun if it detects that an unauthorized person is trying to use it? If the mechanism is not operational (no power etc), the gun works as normal.

            • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @05:39PM (#43787443)

              That would defeat the purpose, as most people would just yank the batteries out immediately. Give me a tool that works reliably, that I can have confidence in -- and let *me* worry about keeping it safe. I don't want a tool that will PROBABLY work, hopefully, that I still have to worry about keeping safe anyway because it's a damned gun and if you're not worrying about keeping it safe you don't deserve to have it.

              Plus all this mess actually isn't trying to add anything to guns, it's all just gun prohibition in the disguise of technology that is not available or possible.

              • That would defeat the purpose, as most people would just yank the batteries out immediately.

                Why? Also, how about making the batteries hard to remove (or disable the gun mechanically if the battery is not present)? The idea would be that 1) the kid may not be able to figure out how to do it and that 2) removing the batteries would take time so wold make the gun useless if it was taken from you by the attacker.
                Add a requirement to keep the batteries in the gun to the law and it will have the desired result - 100% chance that the owner can fire the gun and >0% chance that someone not authorized ca

        • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:52PM (#43786759) Homepage

          Regardless. Any policy driven technology adoption should be first forced upon the police and the military before it's forced on civilians. If a cop wouldn't want this technology then it's not something that anyone else should have forced on them either.

          Mandating that civilians can only own guns that don't work is just a transparent attempt to side step the law.

          Let cops and soldiers adopt this stuff first.

        • What's your plan for when somebody is attacked and injured, and a stranger is trying to help them?

          All of a sudden, you've cursed a good samaritan with a highly evolved rock in a life-threatening situation.

          Before you pass this off as far-flung chance, quite a few police officers have been saved because of this exact scenario. And some victims they were attempting to help have lived this way after the responding officer was injured or killed.

    • Re:Movies are real! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:05PM (#43785883) Homepage

      Judge Dredd's gun 'executes' anybody else who tries to fire it. Are they going to implement that feature, too?

    • by raymorris (2726007) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:19PM (#43786145)
      Yep, this is what happens when people who hate guns, and so have never touched a gun, probably never seen a gun, think they are gun experts and should be writing the rules and regulations about how they should be manufactured, sold, and used.

      I'm not a doctor or pharmacist, so I don't have any opinion on proper methods manufacture, store, or otherwise handle various classes of prescription drugs.
      I have no idea what regulations make sense. It would be STUPID of me to comment on how a pharmacy must be run since I don't know anything about the subject.

      Why is it that people who have no knowledge at all, people who don't know the difference between a machine gun and a pistol, want to decide on gun regulations?
      This is a fact - anti-gunners, including congress-critters, REGULARLY confuse an automatic (machine gun) with a semi-automatic (pistol). They claim to be
      trying to "ban automatic weapons" (machine guns), but their bill bans pistols and varmint guns, which are semi-automatic.
      • by tragedy (27079) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @05:32PM (#43787341)

        Why is it that people who have no knowledge at all, people who don't know the difference between a machine gun and a pistol, want to decide on gun regulations?
        This is a fact - anti-gunners, including congress-critters, REGULARLY confuse an automatic (machine gun) with a semi-automatic (pistol).

        Why is it that in the past whenever I've confused a machine gun with a gun that's merely an automatic I've always been corrected and told that a machine gun is an automatic, but automatic doesn't mean machine gun? I've long come to the conclusion that guns are one of those subjects where, unless you're part of the club, you're always wrong because the actual facts and definitions dance in some mysterious pattern. It's like using some group's slang if you're not part of the group. Even if you get the meaning just right, you're still wrong.

    • by Firethorn (177587) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @05:03PM (#43786941) Homepage Journal

      The technology is technically possible. However, I have a few points to make:
      1. Guns are currently purely mechanical. Adding ANYTHING electronic into the firing system is going to lower reliability. Remember, the most common police weapon(Glock) doesn't even have a manual safety switch. The recognition system would have to work 99.999999% of the time in a fraction of a second.
      2. When fired, the firearm itself suffers a large shock. One 9mm handgun weighs 770 grams, fires a 7.45 gram projectile at 390 m/s. Laws of physics means that every time the handgun is fired it suffers a shock sufficient to move it back at 3.8 m/s, or 14 km/hour. That is NASTY to electronics, it's roughly equivalent to being hit with a hammer. It's mean to mechanical parts as well, but at least we've had hundreds of years of engineering to fix the issues.
      3. Perhaps most critical, police officers are much more likely to be killed by their own weapon after it's been taken from them. 26 officers over 10 years [fbi.gov]. (or have others killed with their weapon if taken from them). Despite this, police organizations(departments, unions, professional) will campaign hard and long to exempt themselves from any such gun legislation. I believe that New Jersey already has a smart gun requirement on the books - but no gun manufacturer makes a firearm that meets the standard.
      4. The common figuring is a lot like that of DRM - a 'smart gun' will stop a non-authorized person only on a tactical, immediate basis. Criminals will be able to bypass any protections on a long term scale(IE days) if they successfully steal the weapon, making any 'smart guns' of limited protection.

  • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <[maxomai] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:52PM (#43785647) Homepage
    • 1) The Democrats couldn't pass a less odious measure in a Democratic-controlled Senate. Good luck passing that in a Republican-controlled House.
    • 2) I'll happily put this on my own guns after the police have used it for five years on theirs, and have come to accept it as a reliable technology.
    • 3) All in all, Congressman Tierney did this, in all likelihood, to help solidify his re-election next year. Since he got the press he wanted, I congratulate him now on his impending victory.
    • by fche (36607) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:54PM (#43785697)

      "I'll happily put this on my own guns after the police have used it for five years on theirs," ... or all persons protecting the good congressman.

      • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:04PM (#43785867)

        It seems to me that police need it more than private citizens, as they spend more time around criminals who are likely to try and grab the gun.

      • by Havokmon (89874)

        "I'll happily put this on my own guns after the police have used it for five years on theirs," ... or all persons protecting the good congressman.

        I consider this equivalent to requiring Ignition Interlocks in all cars. Yes, it will do exactly what we want - it will stop people from using those items - but at the most inopportune times. Give it to the legislators, and you'll discover it's only the prohibitionist ones that will accept it.

        Imagine if Ignition Interlocks were mandated - they would be hacked so fast. People aren't going to deal with that level of intrusiveness just to potentially 'save lives'. This is a case of security causing too mu

    • by Aqualung812 (959532) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:10PM (#43785961)

      Also a gun owner, and I completely agree with your point #2, without sarcasm.

    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      3) All in all, Congressman Tierney did this, in all likelihood, to help solidify his re-election next year. Since he got the press he wanted, I congratulate him now on his impending victory.

      He's from Massachusetts, home of the gerrymander. His district is just north of Boston. His seat is in no real threat.

      But you're right, this is just another pointless "feel-good" measure to prove to his constituents that he's "tough on crime." It's also a ploy to get Republicans to vote against it, allowing that stupid "mayors for gun control" PAC to run ads against them.

  • by chiefmojorising (114811) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:53PM (#43785679)

    There's no way this boneheaded bill will get past the Republican controlled House.

    • There's no way this boneheaded bill will get past the Republican controlled House.

      It's not about getting past . . . it's about posturing, posing and voguing by the Rep. He just wants to make a fuss about something so his constituents will maybe think that he is actually doing something useful for them.

      Why waste time on a no-chance bill proposal . . . ? Publicity, of course.

  • A Better Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:53PM (#43785689) Homepage Journal

    How about we actually fucking teach kids about guns, how they work, and what they're used for? That would do a hell of a lot more to curtail gun-related deaths, and without the (un)intended side effect of rendering personal protection weapons useless by legislative fiat.

    • by MAXOMENOS (9802)
      Because the right will complain about schools brainwashing our kids into thinking guns are dangerous, and the left will scream apoplectic about schools brainwashing our kids into thinking guns could be safe.
      • Re:A Better Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

        by icebike (68054) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:20PM (#43786153)

        Because the right will complain about schools brainwashing our kids into thinking guns are dangerous, and the left will scream apoplectic about schools brainwashing our kids into thinking guns could be safe.

        Bullshit. Gun Safety training would gain instant support among the right, as well as any thinking person.

        The younger the better. There are far too many stories about kids thinking they have a toy and killing a sibling, all caused by the big left wing no-no against teaching kids anything about guns, or even so much as drawing a picture of one in school. Its the whole security by obscurity argument all over again in the physical world.

        The right already knows guns are dangerous, and that every gun is treated like a loaded gun, and have been teaching this to their kids since they were old enough to walk. Its the delusional left who believe if we can just hide the existence of guns the whole problem will go away.

        I took gun safety courses in grade school. We fired .22 short single shot rifles IN the School Basement during gun safety class. (4th or 5th grade as I recall). Of course by this time it was old hat to me since I had been hunting with my parents for many years by that time.

      • by chispito (1870390)

        Because the right will complain about schools brainwashing our kids into thinking guns are dangerous

        Nobody thinks guns aren't dangerous. Only a defective gun is not dangerous.

    • Re:A Better Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Artraze (600366) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:04PM (#43785873)

      > How about we actually fucking teach kids about guns, how they work, and what they're used for?

      We gave up on actually fucking teaching kids anything some time ago now.

    • Re:A Better Idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by firewrought (36952) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:12PM (#43785991)

      How about we actually fucking teach kids about guns, how they work, and what they're used for? That would do a hell of a lot more to curtail gun-related deaths

      While we're at it, can we get Hollywood celebrities to hold guns properly on film? Don't stick your finger into the trigger guard until you're ready to destroy something.

      Seriously. I understand that Hollywood movies aren't gun safety tutorials and that, for instance, Will Smith has to whip out his gun and use it to mock-threaten his daughter's boyfriend in Bad Boys 2, but if these celebrities kept their fingers pointed down the barrel instead of resting on the trigger, it might make a difference when some drunk dumbass decides to imitate them. Drives me nuts whenever I see this on film/TV.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)

        While we're at it, can we get Hollywood celebrities to hold guns properly on film? Don't stick your finger into the trigger guard until you're ready to destroy something.

        I really do appreciate it when I see TV shows actually get this one right.

    • How about we actually fucking teach kids about guns, how they work, and what they're used for? That would do a hell of a lot more to curtail gun-related deaths, and without the (un)intended side effect of rendering personal protection weapons useless by legislative fiat.

      Not to totally poo-poo the idea, but I'm pretty sure kids accidentally shooting other kids with guns know how guns work and usually what they're used for. That's the entire problem. You're dealing with children who are mentally immature. They understand what guns are used for, they simply don't have the mental processes yet to distinguish what is appropriate and what isn't. Kids who aim a gun at another kid and pull the trigger know guns are used for shooting people, but because they're 7 years old they don

  • SkyFAIL! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Bodhammer (559311)
    There, fixed that for ya...
  • The Signature Gun [007unleashed.com] from License to Kill totally did it first.
  • Aside from the fact that the technology doesn't exist... What if I want to let a friend shoot my gun, for example when I was teaching someone to shoot? What if I wanted to try a friend's gun so I could see if I liked it? How about collectible guns? The last firearm I bought was a WWII vintage Finnish rifle. What if I wanted to buy a very-collectable WWII 1911? Would that be legal? It's just another blatant attempt to restrict my constitutional rights. If you want to pass gun control, amend the Consti
  • by taustin (171655) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:07PM (#43785917) Homepage Journal

    Police chiefs, who are politicians, will be in favor of this, because they think it's good politics. Police unions, representing working cops on the streets will be unalterably opposed to it, because even 99% isn't good enough when your life is on the line.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @05:32PM (#43787353)

      because even 99% isn't good enough

      The Glock 17 9mm regularly used by police forces is rated at having less than 20 malfunctions in the first 10,000 rounds; that's 1/500... which is 99.8%

      So, you are correct that 99% isn't good enough, but 99.8% is.

      Thus if someone were to release a smart gun tech that kept its false negative rate (preventing legitimate fire rate) low enough that the gun retains its 99.8% effectiveness rating, then it would be good enough.

      Police unions, representing working cops on the streets will be unalterably opposed to it, because even 99% isn't good enough when your life is on the line.

      This old chestnut. "your life is on the line". Its life or death, and we have to do everything we can possibly do to ensure a positive outcome.

      That's why police have an annual proficiency review. Remember their life is on the line. A few hours once a year is good enough to ensure they are in top shape, right?

      And what's more that proficiency test has the very high standard of 70% to get a pass. Remember their life is on the line, or the life of their partner... or perhaps even your life. You want to know the gun he's holding is going to fire when he pulls the trigger right? That's paramount right? That he's proficient with the firearm, well, 70% is "pretty good" right?

      Funny how 99% isn't good enough for the gun, but 70% is good enough for the guy holding it.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:08PM (#43785937) Homepage
    How about instead of creating more stupid laws we start enforcing and prosecuting existing ones. It is sad when a child finds a loaded gun that isn't locked up and kills someone or themselves with it, so why not fucking prosecute the dumb shit parents for negligent homicide. I really don't believe in accidental shooting but I sure a hell believe in negligent shooting. Granted there probably is the 1 in 1,000,000 truly accidental discharge of a firearm (the gun went off and you weren't touching the trigger) that ends up shooting someone (off of a ricochet as you should be practicing muzzle control and have it point in a safe direction) but those are so rare that it isn't worth mentioning.
  • by sehlat (180760) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:11PM (#43785977)

    Cops in Minnesota in the dead of a winter snowstorm are just gonna LOVE this tech.

  • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:13PM (#43786025) Journal

    So you want my guns to be "smart" and place a small computer of some sort in there. And in the event that that small computer has been rendered ineffective, my gun will no longer fire. Is this computer going to have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi? Is the government going to force manufacturers to install a backdoor so the government can decide when I can and cannot fire my weapon? What if my gun (and/or me) are electrocuted? What if there is an EMP? What if my house is struck by lightening and the electricity goes into my gun safe, rendering all of my guns useless? What if....

  • by jsepeta (412566) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:13PM (#43786027) Homepage

    No more criminals stealing service revolvers from cops and shooting them with their own weapons.

    Still shady dealers selling weapons without "smart" tech, or with overrideable tech.

  • by dadelbunts (1727498) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:14PM (#43786041)
    I for one and sick and tired of all these "protecting the children" bullshit scenarios. We have a population of 7 fucking billion, i think the children are doing ok. If a few die from having stupid parents that never taught them gun safety (or any other safety procedures for that matter) then w.e, ill chalk that up to darwinism and nothing of value was lost.
  • Wallace said any technology that may impede the proper function of a weapon is a problem.

    DRM on movies and music = good, DRM on guns = bad?

    • Wallace said any technology that may impede the proper function of a weapon is a problem.

      DRM on movies and music = good, DRM on guns = bad?

      Jim Wallace is a spokesman for the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League, not the MAFIAA.

  • Great until... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218)
    Assuming the technology was there and that it worked flawless, it still has a key flaw, namely that a bad guy isn't always going to be the other person to pick up the weapon. What if your home gets broken into when you're not at home? Wouldn't you want your spouse or your child to be able to defend themselves? What if you were in some sort of hostage situation where the hostage-takers killed a security guard, wouldn't you want to be able to use that guard's gun?

    Furthermore, it would encourage people to
  • A first (Score:4, Insightful)

    by he-sk (103163) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:21PM (#43786179)

    I'm very much against guns but I find myself agreeing with the guy from the NRA on this issue.

    Also, it's pretty obvious that the gun in Skyfall only had this "feature" so it could be exploited in a (way too predictable and pretty lame) plot twist.

  • by M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:22PM (#43786187)

    Millions are spent every year in studies and consulting services, and the idea comes from a James Bond movie??!!! What's wrong with you people!!!!

  • I see so many opportunities for this going wrong, like if your hands are dirty. A large percentage of gun deaths are suicides and this would do nothing to stop that.

    How about we have the military filed test this first and then see about make it mandatory?

  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @04:41PM (#43786531)

    You can't mandate a technology that doesn't exist or isn't practical. So invent it before you make it law.

    I think such a requirement if made into law should be found to violate the 2nd amendment. But I do want the option of such technology so what you could do is mandate the availably of the tech for all new firearm models. Kind of like requiring automobiles be made with seat belts but not requiring people to use them.

  • by cfalcon (779563) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @05:37PM (#43787409)

    "Lets take untested bullshit tech that causes a myriad of failures, and MANDATE IT ON ALL WEAPONS!!!"

    Also this will make guns super expensive.

    And nonfunctional.

    And EMP vulnerable.

    No, this idea is horrible. I'm sure there's some people who would like this on their guns, but for right now not even all police departments are on board (and they are the one group of people who would actually benefit, as police are sometimes attacked with their own weapons).

    This is such a ludicrous power grab. They are taking a virgin tech and trying to make it MANDATORY. Obviously, no one will allow this to go live, so then they'll go cry about how the "NRA is a bunch of villains who only care about the gun industry".

    Dirty, dirty politics at work. Bastards.

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