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A Look at Smart Gun Technology 765

Posted by samzenpus
from the shoot-first dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Engadget takes a look at smart gun technology currently available and what the future might hold. From the article: 'While the idea of a gun that couldn't be turned on its owner seems like an obvious win for everyone involved, there are a number of problems with the concept. Chief among those worries: the safety mechanism will fail when it's needed most. If you're relying on a weapon for defense, the last thing you want is another avenue for failure. Electronics aren't perfect. Sometimes cameras can't autofocus. Cable boxes freeze up when browsing the channel guide. The equivalent, seemingly small glitch in a smart gun could be the difference between life and death.'"
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A Look at Smart Gun Technology

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  • by Anrego (830717) * on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:29AM (#46980031)

    Just like many of the current rube goldberg-ish "less-lethal weapons", the tech to make a "smart gun" just isn't there yet. Every entry in this field has it's list of failures and impracticalities.

    That's not to say we shouldn't stop trying. We'll probably get there eventually. It's just not something we can do right now. At the very least progress has clearly been made. I remember years ago they'd talk about "smart guns" and they'd involve special clips or holsters which would have been absolutely ridiculous in the kind of scenarios where you'd want a gun. At least now the ideal case seems practical and we are arguing about reliability.

    • They can put a camera on the gun today. That's what they ought to focus on. Maybe someday we'll have guns smart enough to only take disabling shots, or phasers on stun. But today, we can at least establish where a gun was pointed when it was fired, and get an idea of the situation in which it was fired which doesn't depend on testimony. These ought to be mandatory on cop guns, and optional everywhere else to start with. Maybe you need a camera on your gun for it to be legal to also possess the ammo at the s

      • Re:Camera gun (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:51AM (#46980293) Homepage

        Disabling shots are irresponsible, unsafe, and ineffective.

        If you can deal with a situation without lethal force (accounting for disparity of force, ability to do act, and reasonable-person standard of self defense), then you are obligated to do so. You are more likely to miss (especially under stress), will achieve far less knock-down, tells a jury that you are so goddamn awesome that you probably didn't need to shoot, and you are trying to hit something still filled with things like femoral and brachial arteries so it may result in you BOTH being dead.

        Center mass if you can, Mozambique if you have to.

        • by s122604 (1018036)
          The only place that I know "disabling" shots are taught as a practice is in the prison system.
          The system just isn't that concerned if the convict being "disabled" ends up dying. If the correctional officer "misses" and the disabling shot goes center mass, the only thing that is going to happen to him is some more range time

          Its a really bad idea on the street though
      • Re:Camera gun (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ganjadude (952775) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:58AM (#46980409) Homepage
        how about we just learn to respect the constitution in all regards again

        the second amendment is literally 3 or 4 sentences long. I dont know why its so hard to understand the law that says the government "shall not infringe" Mandating ANYTHING is infringing

        And dont give me that BS about how well regulated means regulations, it does not. It means well armed. I am all for smart guns, as long as I have my choice to buy a non smart gun signed, this non gun owner in a home with many
    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      The FN303 is a pretty solid piece of less-lethal technology.

    • Just like many of the current rube goldberg-ish "less-lethal weapons", the tech to make a "smart gun" just isn't there yet. Every entry in this field has it's list of failures and impracticalities.

      I wouldn't exactly call Tasers "Rube Goldberg", but you have a point. Here's mine:

      Correct, the tech isn't there yet. Because as I showed here last year, the weapon has to work for the authorized user approximately 99.999% of the time in order for this tech to be feasible. (Yes, I know that seems like an outrageous number, but there are solid statistical reasons for it.)

      The problem isn't rejecting unauthorized users. The problem is that nobody has come close to being able to reliably reject unauthorize

      • I almost forgot to add:

        It isn't just that the electronics are not yet up to snuff. Simply relying on anything powered by a battery reduces the reliability to well below that essential 99.999%. So at this particular moment in time, even trying to do this is probably a massive waste of effort.
      • by _anomaly_ (127254)

        I agree with the point you're making, in this post and others, but what if the smart gun manufacturers erred on the side of an operational, not disabled, weapon? In other words, if the battery dies or fails, or if it's determined that a fingerprint scan couldn't be gathered successfully (if it's using fingerprints), then default to an enabled state?

        This would still put the onus of making the gun safe on the gun's owner, much like making sure a trigger lock is in place, requiring that the battery be checked

      • I'd weigh the chance of losing my life from the smart gun malfunctioning vs. the chance of losing my life from the dumb gun being used against me.

  • Flawed reasoning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GlobalEcho (26240) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:33AM (#46980073)

    the last thing you want is another avenue for failure

    That's not a very bright statement. What you should wish to avoid is for something bad to happen. One way that can happen is indeed for a gun to fail when it needs to work, but there are others, for example having an unseen companion assailant seize the gun and shoot you with it.

    It's all about the probabilities of various scenarios, and anyone failing to incorporate that that in their evaluation is not worth listening to. (For the record, I have no opinion about what those probabilities are, but live in such a safe place that I don't consider bothering with a gun.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mojo-raisin (223411)

      Having a gun fail is bad.

      We have a Right to functioning guns and "wish[es] to avoid is for something bad" are irrelevant. I always want my semis to work. Always. What someone else wishes is up to them.

      • No machine is 100% reliable.
      • by Improv (2467)

        Always? If someone did manage to grab your gun and aims it at you, I think you'd prefer your gun to fail at that point.

      • I always want my concealed pistol to work. That's why I went to carrying a double action revolver. Simple mechanically, if the round fails to fire, pull the trigger again and load the next chamber. No safeties to deal with and with practice loading time is just as quick with a speed loader.

    • Re:Flawed reasoning (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:19PM (#46980681)

      It's all about the probabilities of various scenarios, and anyone failing to incorporate that that in their evaluation is not worth listening to.

      The probabilities might surprise you.

      It is true that police, for example, are shot more frequently than many people think with their own guns.

      On the other hand, that represents such a small percentage of overall gun confrontations that it is not very statistically significant.

      Statistically, the need to prevent "unauthorized" people from using your gun against you is vanishingly small. Yet for the sake of doing that, many people seem willing to compromise the ability to do something that is statistically vastly more likely: defend yourself with a gun.

      That is irrational.

  • Life or death (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:35AM (#46980105)

    This probably isn't going to be a popular post but as someone who lives in a country where guns aren't allowed, having a gun or not is not a difference of life and death. Like not even remotely.

    That sentence makes it sound like where the poster lives he has to deal with gun violence daily. Like going to a supermarket might have you end up in a gunfight where you better be prepared to go Rambo on someone's ass.

    That's not a place I'd want to live in and luckily I don't.

    Surely this is scaremongering right? Or does anyone actually worry about such scenarios on a daily basis?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      This probably isn't going to be a popular post but as someone who lives in a country where guns aren't allowed, having a gun or not is not a difference of life and death. Like not even remotely.

      Glad to hear you live in a country with zero deaths from violent crime ever.

      Where is that again, exactly? So we can check your statistics.

  • by Calydor (739835) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:35AM (#46980117)

    The question, then, becomes obvious: Is it more likely that the perp will take your gun and shoot you (there has got to be statistics for this somewhere) or that the identifying electronics will fail and render the gun inert?

    Furthermore, should it be obvious to the guy being aimed at that the gun is inert? Just the threat of being shot might be enough to deter a lot of people.

    • Training and experience are huge. A novice with neither of those typically endangers themself when pulling out a gun on an assailant. While for a pro, obviously the gun is an asset. So the smart gun ought to appeal to the novice more than the pro.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:35AM (#46980119)

    I'll start using "smart" guns when the police and military issue them as primary guns. Any reason for those organizations to use or reject them applies to the citizens.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:36AM (#46980129) Homepage Journal

    Gun enthusiasts have no interest in this technology. Who wants something that will reduce reliability and increase price?

    The only people pushing for it are those who dislike the idea of civilian firearm ownership.

    That's more than enough to make me suspicious.

    LK

    • I want it. Maybe I am not a current gun owner, but have small kids. Maybe I live in a safe area so the likelihood of needing a gun is low, but I might still want one in case. Maybe I don't want my kids to accidentally use it. So I can see a need for it.
      • by jittles (1613415)

        I want it. Maybe I am not a current gun owner, but have small kids. Maybe I live in a safe area so the likelihood of needing a gun is low, but I might still want one in case. Maybe I don't want my kids to accidentally use it. So I can see a need for it.

        You could get a trigger and slide lock if you're just trying to keep kids from using it. The cable lock prevents you from loading any ammunition and the trigger lock prevents you from being able to pull the trigger even if you cut the cable lock. That's pretty foolproof. Not great for self-defense, but great to prevent unauthorized use in general. Of course if someone steals the gun and has the time and tools, they can defeat both locks.

      • by Lord Kano (13027) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:07PM (#46980517) Homepage Journal

        I too have small children. I too am concerned for their safety.

        I buy safes to store my firearms. For far less than the cost of one of these guns, you can buy a regular gun and a good safe.

        LK

    • by KermodeBear (738243) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:00PM (#46980443) Homepage

      Not to be conspiratorial, but here we go. The first step is to have "smart" guns that will only fire when in the hands of the owner. The second step is to require all firearms to be "smart" guns. The third step is, for everyone's safety, to combat crime, and of course for the children, is to require that all smart guns now have a kill switch. That way the government can safely disable a criminal's firearm.

      Since people like Bloomberg are unable to remove firearms from the populace entirely (right now), this is the kind of thing they will push for because it will effectively give them the control they want.

      • If 2 and 3 were to happen then you might have something to complain about. But step 3 always the first thing that gun nuts jump to whenever any change is discussed when that is not what is being discussed.
    • by OzPeter (195038)

      Gun enthusiasts have no interest in this technology. Who wants something that will reduce reliability and increase price?

      The only people pushing for it are those who dislike the idea of civilian firearm ownership.

      That's more than enough to make me suspicious.

      LK

      It pains me to do this, but I'm going to have to bring forth the "Think of the children" argument.

      Its well known that if you have a gun in the home that you are more likely to die a violent death. At that also includes family members who also reside in your home. Now you could say a responsible gun owner would make their weapon safe (and I know there are plenty of responsible gun owners) - but that smacks of a true scotsman argument as its the irresponsible ones who are leading this death charge. And as

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      Who wants something that will reduce reliability and increase price?

      The problem being searched for is "I'm sure it's not loaded" [gawker.com].

      When the gun lobby ensures that "responsibility" in gun ownership can only be enforced after the fact (can't even require insurance!), just how reliably must firearms kill innocents?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NEW22 (137070)

      I'm guessing that at least some of the people pushing for this aren't necessarily against the idea of civilian firearm ownership, but are against gun violence or gun accidents that lead to injury or death. I can imagine such a person might like the idea that a child might not shoot themselves or a sibling accidentally because such technology prevented the weapon's discharge.

      Now that you know there is more than 1 type of person who might be for this technology, maybe you won't need to be so suspicious.

  • The bigger picture (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wytcld (179112)

    The odds of your gun being grabbed and used against you are high. The odds of your toddler picking up your gun and using it on family or friend are significant - it happens at least several times a week in this country. So any instances of this new tech failing and depriving you of use of your gun when you need it should be balanced against the lives saved, including your own, by the tech working as designed.

    • by imag0 (605684)

      [citation needed]

    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:52AM (#46980317)

      The odds of your gun being grabbed and used against you are high.

      Weird that we carried guns at all when I was in the Marine Corps then, huh? The enemy might have taken it away from me!

      The odds of your toddler picking up your gun and using it on family or friend are significant - it happens at least several times a week in this country.

      Wow, really? A couple hundred deaths a year from toddlers alone? Please cite a source for that, other than your ass.

      • by sribe (304414) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:06PM (#46980507)

        Wow, really? A couple hundred deaths a year from toddlers alone? Please cite a source for that, other than your ass.

        A couple hundred deaths per year of children 12 and under, not toddlers, with no info on the ages of the shooters.

      • by wiggles (30088) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:11PM (#46980579)

        > Please cite a source for that

        Hard to find a non-biased source for this, most of my searches pulled up anti-gun advocacy pages whose figures wouldn't stand up to scrutiny, but I did find this article from 2009 [cnn.com] that cites a CDC report stating that around 100 children annually, on average, died from accidental shootings between 2000 and 2005.

      • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:21PM (#46980701) Journal

        Marine corps are trained to handle firearms. The US is a scary place where you can get a half hour gun safety course and buy several Rugers.

        With your Marine Corps training, you probably think you could best me in a fist fight. You're probably pretty certain I won't just kick your ass, and then probably take your gun and shoot you. You've been trained for that situation, and I'm sure they actually kicked your ass a whole lot to make sure you were serious about trying to not get your ass kicked.

        The modal average civilian has a gun because he knows he can't kick my ass. He somehow believes I'll jump him and then get shot, somehow without noticing him reaching for his gun and then taking it from him. Considering most street criminals have more experience in gang fights than I, this reasons toward an even worse scenario.

        Besides, marines get swords.

    • by Kenja (541830) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:56AM (#46980373)

      The odds of your gun being grabbed and used against you are high.

      No... not really. The odds of you EVER needing your gun to fight off a "bad guy" who may try to grab your gun are slim to not.

    • by sribe (304414)

      The odds of your gun being grabbed and used against you are high.

      No, they are infinitesimal. This basically never happens.

      The odds of your toddler picking up your gun and using it on family or friend are significant - it happens at least several times a week in this country.

      Now that does indeed happen, tragically. But: 1) there are simpler ways to prevent it, 2) the actual odds are way down in the 1 in something-100,000 range.

    • The odds of your gun being grabbed and used against you are high.

      [citation needed]

      Specifically: annual number of "gun grabs" per year (from reputable data) versus total number of firearms, correlated by geographic location.

    • by Wdomburg (141264) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:39PM (#46980975)

      According to CDC data, there were 62 firearm deaths among children 1-14 in 2012. Considering that range goes far beyond toddler, and includes deaths resulting from negligence by older household members, your assessment of the odds seems unlikely. I would suspect that older children are far more likely to misuse firearms.

      But the idea that accidental deaths are "high" in general bears scrutiny as well. For perspective, each year about 390 children drown in swimming pools. There are somewhere in the range of 32-37 million households that own guns, while only 8-10 million households own pools. Even if you don't have a pool, drowning is still a more present danger than a gun, with at least a hundred children a year drowning in bathtubs.

      Other dangers lurk around every corner. Poisoning sends hundreds of children a day to the emergency room, and kills several every week. Over a hundred a day die in car accidents. Then you have fires and accidental suffocations.

      TL;DR: the absolute level of risk is not particularly high.

      So the main question is what the countervailing benefit is. Citing only statistics about gun deaths is disingenuous. People do not only kill in self defense; they may not even discharge their weapon. The broader measures of defensive gun use vary pretty wildly, from as low as 67,740 from pro-gun control sources to as high as 2.5 million from other surveys. The true number is likely somewhere in between, but difficult to discern because the survey data does not include all categories of crime, unreported incidents, unrealized incidents (surveys of prisoners have stated they avoided households where they suspected there were firearms), and do not reliably ask whether firearms were employer.

      But even if you look at the low water number conceded by control advocates, the number of defensive uses is far higher than the total number of firearm deaths (~ 31k in 2012) including not just homicides and accidental deaths, but also suicides.

      That isn't to say efforts to mitigate risks are not valuable, but the efficacy of fire arms as a defensive tool should be kept in mind. The consequence of forgetting to put on your watch should be having to ask what time it is, not being raped or murdered. Even if these sorts of things became mandatory, the kind of gun owner irresponsible enough to leave guns where small children can get at them are probably the type who will just velcro the damn watch to the gun.

  • by qwijibo (101731) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:39AM (#46980171)

    This topic keeps coming up, but there isn't a market for this product. Are the target audience also people who want:

    Bicycles for fish
    Mouse traps that don't kill mice, but embarrass them into moving next door
    Any item advertised via spam

    • The problem isn't the lack of market. You develop a smart gun because you think you can get politicians to mandate smart guns. That's why there's all the hate mail and threats from gun nuts. They don't want these guns, it's a dumb idea, and it will probably be forced on them eventually.

    • Suburban households with kids present.
      • Suburban households with kids present.

        If those people are that concerned about it, why buy a gun at all?

      • Put them out of reach of the small children and teach firearm discipline to the older ones. I certainly knew to keep my hands off guns by the time I was six.
  • by fche (36607) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:41AM (#46980181)

    A sign that all this legal posturing is not about what it claims is the perpetual exemption of law enforcement from being subjected to technological gun-tracing / -smartening efforts. The lives of police are no more important than ordinary citizens'. If it's not good enough for the boys and girls in blue, it's not good enough for civilians. After all, civilians are almost always closer to the place & time of crime than the police.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:42AM (#46980195) Homepage Journal

    Should that battery die, the gun could fail to fire. In fact, most models designed for civilian use are designed to fail if the battery dies. It's been suggested that smart guns designed for law enforcement should automatically disable the safety if the battery dies.

    If a government agent won't carry a default-LOCKED "smart" weapon, why should anyone else have to? The people pushing for such mandates apparently slept through Civics class.

    How about this: If a person wants to buy a "smart" gun, let them; if a person wants to buy a regular gun, let them. If a person wants to use any weapon of any kind to harm another in a non-defensive manner, let them suffer the previously agreed-upon social consequences (i.e., jail time, fines, death, etc.). Thus freedom is preserved, and only those who are actually guilty of harming others are punished, rather than the population as a whole.

    • by psmears (629712)

      Thus freedom is preserved, and only those who are actually guilty of harming others, and those who get shot by them, are punished, rather than the population as a whole.

      FTFY...

  • by fallen1 (230220) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:44AM (#46980213) Homepage

    That's the only "safe" thing I need on a gun. I know the risks of my gun being taken away from me during a break-in/robbery/assault or anything else that a criminal can perpetrate against me and mine.

    The ONLY thing I want to have to deal with or worry about is "Did I flip the safety off?" Most guns are purely mechanical in nature and I see no reason to introduce electronics into making them "safe," do you? Let's add in additional points of failure into what should be a mechanical object that needs to JUST WORK.

    This falls under the "Just because we can do a thing, should we do a thing?" category. For fuck's sake, leave guns alone. If you don't like them, feel you don't need them, or just don't understand them then please sit quietly in the corner while those of us that do defend your life, liberty, and pursuit of whatever the hell you want to do.

    And remember one thing: Criminals are criminals BECAUSE THEY DON'T FOLLOW THE LAWS ALREADY. One more isn't going to make them change their mind. Removing guns from the hands of (mentally stable) citizen's is absolutely not the answer. It is a path to disarmament, oppression of the people, and a new class of slavery. Read your history.

    • The ONLY thing I want to have to deal with or worry about is "Did I flip the safety off?"

      Fair enough. Electronics can be a sort of safety but I agree that a simple, reliable safety is an important consideration and if you are in a situation where a firearm is actually necessary you definitely do not want to be dicking around with lots of frippery.

      Most guns are purely mechanical in nature and I see no reason to introduce electronics into making them "safe," do you?

      The first half of that sentence has little to do with the second half. The mechanical design of most firearms alone has nothing to do with whether or not we should introduce electronics in the interests of safety or for any other reason. There is at

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:44AM (#46980215)

    . . . shouldn't be messin' around with guns.

    Folks who know even less about guns . . . shouldn't be legislating about guns.

    If you do want to learn about guns, visit a nearby shooting range. You'll be surprised how friendly these "gun freaks" are, and how polite and patient they are with newcomers. It's just like any other sport. People like to show off, when they know a lot about something, and are good at it.

    All these smart guns ideas . . . well, we know where that's coming from, and where it is going . . .

    • We have congressman and senators who couldn't tell a mouse from a bar of soap legislating Net Neutrality. The FBI put Kevin Mitnik into solitary because they were worried he could whistle into a phone and launch nuclear missiles.

      Almost *all* of American History is folks who don't know what the F they are talking about deciding what the rest of can do, say, read, or think. Especially when the church is involved. If the Christian Taliban had their way, America would be forced back to the stone-age. Except we'

    • I've been to a gun range in the U.S. a few times, and you're right that most of them are a friendly bunch just shooting for fun.
      It's not them that people are worried about, though.

      It's more the people who will threaten with targeted physical violence when faced with even the potential for something they ideologically dislike; like the people who felt the need to threaten a gun store owner; that gun store owner had planned to sell a so-called smart gun, even gave good arguments as to why he wanted to sell th

  • by sacrilicious (316896) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:50AM (#46980277) Homepage

    >While the idea of a gun that couldn't be turned on its owner seems like an obvious win for everyone involved

    Um, except for the intruder/burgler. Not that I'm pro-intruder/burgler, but... "everyone involved"?

  • by robot256 (1635039) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:50AM (#46980287)

    Sometimes cameras can't autofocus. Cable boxes freeze up when browsing the channel guide.

    But fly-by-wire airliners, military radios, targeting systems, medical implants, even Internet backbone routers all have absurdly high reliability stats and are all based on electronics, sensors and firmware.

    So don't buy your smart gun from a factory in China producing crap for Comcast or Sony. Buy it from someone who knows how to build high-reliability electronics for the military, like Siemens or ATK.

    Would you leave your house unlocked all the time because you might lose the key while you were being chased by a mugger? No, because on the other 30,000 days of your life burglars will come and go as they please. It's the same with a gun, where it is easily stolen or grappled from you before you use it, or worse, found by a child.

    • by Pizza (87623)

      But fly-by-wire airliners, military radios, targeting systems, medical implants, even Internet backbone routers all have absurdly high reliability stats and are all based on electronics, sensors and firmware.

      Except those devices don't have to deal with the substantial shock/impact/vibration/temperature realities that a firearm would. That sort of an environment is deadly to electronics. Military systems generally have pretty wide operating temperature ranges, but the likes of medical devices and backbone routers have a pretty narrow operating range.

      ...And that's *before* we consider the implications for the batteries.

  • I wonder just how often the "bad guy shoots gun owner with his own gun" situation comes up. That aside, though, part of the motivation for this comes from the all-too-common tales of kids who get at their parents guns and accidentally (or purposefully) shoot someone. To solve this, though, we don't need smart guns, we need smart gun owners. (Disclaimer: I'm not a gun owner*, but I've heard the following from gun owners who seem to be smart about their guns.)

    1) Never treat guns as toys. They aren't toys,

    • by PPH (736903)
      6) Teach your kid to leave the area if someone else pulls out a gun and starts playing around with it.
    • by somepunk (720296)

      To solve this, though, we don't need smart guns, we need smart gun owners.

      Good luck with that. While your impractal solution fails to be implemented, the rest of us would prefer to have one in place that saves lives.

      We can agree that the problem is people. That doesn't mean that the workable solution involves fixing those people.

  • by Smerta (1855348) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:00PM (#46980441)

    I was recruited by a company working in this area, to help them fix their electronics & firmware. Seemed like the classic case of a product that started as a prototype by one guy in the company as a side-project or skunkworks, then management saw a bandwagon they should jump on.

    The quality of the engineering was horrible. Most of my work is in safety-critical or life-critical applications, and I've seen it all, from poor to excellent, but this was appalling. Needless to say, I ran! (Yes, I see the jokes coming a mile away). But seriously, I was worried about getting sued if somebody got injured, and even worse, I was worried about somebody getting injured or killed by defective electronics or firmware. This isn't the kind of industry I work in anyway, but I thought I'd give it a look out of curiosity, and man was I shocked.

    I know this is anecdotal, YMMV, blah blah blah... just thought I'd provide a little "real world" insight based on my (admittedly very limited) experience and exposure.

  • Sure nobody can jam a pretty weak signal. Once you have electronics especially with an RF pickup nobody with openly or worse clandestinely require that it safety itself when it see some broadcast. Openly I can see it be something like will not fire within 400 yards of a school think of the children BS. Nobody will figure out what the broadcast is. If you really want this it needs to be open hardware/software so it can be fully vetted, considering some of the silicon level back doors people have come up w

  • by stewsters (1406737) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:05PM (#46980499)
    Instead of calling them "smart guns" we should call it "biometric safety" or something like that. It is a more accurate definition.

    A smart gun sounds like one that will somehow be self aiming or stabilizing.
  • by AC-x (735297) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:07PM (#46980515)

    Chief among those worries: the safety mechanism will fail when it's needed most. If you're relying on a weapon for defense, the last thing you want is another avenue for failure

    Fail when it's needed most? Isn't the *actual safety mechanism* needed the most when a child has the gun (300 people in the US shot and killed by children under 6), or another family member pulls the trigger on someone in an angry rage, or even themselves (guns kept in a home increase the suicide rate for all family members and 75% of teenage gun suicides are with other's weapons stored in family homes).

    How many of these preventable deaths stopped per one person whose smart gun doesn't fire in self defence makes it worthwhile?

    You could even say the same thing about keeping a gun unloaded and locked in a safe, what's the point of doing that if your gun isn't going to be under your pillow "when you need it the most" ?

    source for gun statistics [smartgunlaws.org]

  • It's nothing more than a theoretical discussion, anyhow, but putting aside all of the various arguments for and against gun ownership, if the primary concern here is whether a "smart gun" is a compromise between safety of the gun owner over safety of everyone else, I would prefer if a gun owner had two smart guns over one conventional gun.

    I don't think the technology is there yet anyhow, but if it could guarantee a gun could only ever be fired by a legally registered gun owner, then I think that's a good th

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