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Using Technology To Make Guns Safer 1013

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Farhad Manjoo writes that there are a number of technologies that gunmakers could add to their products that might prevent hundreds or thousands of deaths per year. One area of active research is known as the 'smart gun' — a trigger-identification system that prevents a gun from being fired by anyone other than its authorized user. Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology created a working prototype of a gun that determines whether or not to fire based on a user's 'grip pattern.' Gunmakers have been slow to add other safety technologies as well, including indicators that show whether a gun is loaded, and 'magazine safeties' that prevent weapons from being fired when their ammunition magazine is removed (PDF). That could save 400 lives a year. So why aren't gunmakers making safer guns? Because guns are exempt from most of the consumer safety laws that have improved the rest of American life. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, charged with looking over thousands of different kinds of products, is explicitly prohibited from regulating firearms. In 2005, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which immunizes gun makers against lawsuits resulting from 'misuse' of the products. If they can't be sued and can't be regulated, gunmakers have no incentive to make smarter guns." Note that gun safety features (not universally loved) like loaded-chamber indicators, grip safeties, and magazine disconnects are constantly evolving and have been available in some form and in various combinations for many decades, so gun makers seem to have some incentive to produce and improve them, and that the PLCAA does not prevent consumer safety lawsuits, but does shield gun makers from suits based on criminal conduct by gun buyers (though imperfectly).
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Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

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  • Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sarysa ( 1089739 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:32AM (#42347255)
    The author mostly had me with the first half of the article, then went overboard praising the Product Safety Commission and even worse, safety-related lawsuits. I'm glad guns are exempt -- many if not most product safety lawsuits are shining examples of why we need tort reform.
  • PLCAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:33AM (#42347269)

    is one of those obvious legalities that you would think you shouldnt have to have.

    It's like the family that sued Cessna after their father, with insufficient training, crashed and died. (I guess its not his fault he didnt know how to fly)
    Or the people who sue the bar for the drunk who rams their car. (i guess its not his fault he was too drunk to drive)
    Or the guy who cut off his finger on a table saw, and sued Sears for not including the tech that automagically stops the saw. (I guess its not his fault he put hs finger on a frigging saw blade)

    The MFR simply makes the product.
    The owner still carries full weight and responsibility for proper use and misuse.
    Shouldnt have to have a law to state that.

  • Gun Safes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:34AM (#42347299)

    We're basically talking about adding technology to made guns NOT WORK, which means you are just adding another potential layer of failure to prevent the weapon from working. You want to know what solves most of those problems?, gun safes, which won't add a single potential failure layer to the overall picture.

    Note: magazine safeties prevent you from clearing the firearm, which means you can't guarantee it's not loaded.

  • Gun safety (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:39AM (#42347347)

    It's a gun. Made for shooting bullets to kill. Guns and safe just doesn't go hand in hand . Ever! It is only people that like guns that think they are safe. Until a vice-president shoots you in the face.

  • Buyers are picky. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brandorf ( 586083 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:41AM (#42347387) Homepage
    Many gun owners seem to be particular about the amount and type of safety mechanisms they will accept on a gun. One good example is the key lock system that you see on Taurus and S&W Revolvers. It's just a small mechanism w/ special key that renders the gun inoperable if locked, and it is completely optional, however it's not difficult to see cases of individuals refusing to buy one for that reason alone, or looking to get a "pre-lock" version of the weapon.
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:42AM (#42347395) Homepage Journal

    These guns aren't for the army, their for the typical idiot consumer.
    I remember this old story on the news that a 3 year old picked up a gun, not knowing what it was, and shot his(?) mother when she tried to take it back.
    This would prevent stories like that.

    Not allowing people who let others get at guns raise children would also prevent stories like that.

    In some other countries, the firing mechanism must be stored seperately from the gun at all times, except when the weapon is being used.
    And definitely not loaded.

    And also, the barrier to losing custody of your children is way lower. The way A.Z. was brought up would have been impossible in places with strong child protection laws.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:44AM (#42347425)

    I remember this old story on the news that a 3 year old picked up a gun, not knowing what it was, and shot his(?) mother when she tried to take it back. This would prevent stories like that.

    So would locking guns in a gun cabinet when not in use, as you're obligated to do.

    I know NOTHING about guns, being a Brit, but just from watching FPSRussia on YouTube I can tell you that you don't point a loaded gun at people EVER, you keep the safety catch on at all times except just before you fire, and after firing you check the chamber (receiver?) for a round before you do anything else, just in case you miscounted how many shots you fired. I'm sure there are plenty of other guidelines that morons don't follow, but these are obvious from watching a redneck shoot cans in his back yard.

    Unless you have a seizure, or someone else does something moronic (running in front of you, trying to wrestle the gun from you) I can't see any other reason for accidental deaths / injuries involving guns than user error. Please, do give me other examples if I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

  • Re:Safe guns (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:52AM (#42347523)

    as someone who has spent 8 years in the army, the military is fanatical about firearms safety

    ammo is always kept separate from weapons. miles away in locked and guarded bunkers
    weapons are always locked in the arms room and inventoried any time the room is opened. by serial number
    heavy weapons like 50 caliber machine guns have their firing pins kept separate from the rest of the weapon

    at the firing range you only get ammo when its time to fire
    all weapons, even unloaded ones are considered loaded past a certain point close to the firing line
    all weapons always face down range. you never point a weapon at a person


  • by bickerdyke ( 670000 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:56AM (#42347575)

    Two reasons:

    1) How can you make something "safe" that has the explicit purpose of being fatal
    2) therefore a gun NOT firing when needed is seen as a DECLINE in safety.

  • by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:04AM (#42347679)

    So would locking guns in a gun cabinet when not in use, as you're obligated to do.

    But that relies on owner action.

    These technologies are designed to remove owner action from the safety equation. It doesn't matter if the owner is responsible or not, since the technology doesn't care.

    Any system that relies on personal-responsibility is unsafe, since individuals aren't reliable.

    Any well designed system doesn't allow for individual actions to break the system.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:05AM (#42347695) Homepage Journal

    In some other countries, the firing mechanism must be stored seperately from the gun at all times, except when the weapon is being used.
    And definitely not loaded.

    Requiring that it be locked away securely accomplishes the same goal (keeping it out of the hands of children) without making it useless for self-defense. I am not interested in living in a country which makes it illegal to defend yourself.

  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:13AM (#42347799) Journal

    First off, the limit you reference about shotguns I think only applies to bird hunting or something. At least, I used a pump-action Mossberg that held 5 in the tube.

    But on to my real question... this is a technology-oriented community... yet we seem very quick to crap all over the role that technology could play here.

    Would an RFID-based system, in which you identify yourself to the gun using public key cryptography, be such a terrible thing? Assuming the mechanism can be made reliable (and with enough work, why can't it be made reliable enough?), to me it seems like it wouldn't be a bad idea to limit the number of people who can fire the weapon. E.g., you and your spouse both have key fobs that allow you to fire the gun, but without the fob, no one else can fire it.

    If the fob is the problem - hear me out - why not have the RFID chip implanted in your wrist? Imagine it - you pick up your gun, and you can fire it, but if someone else picks it up, they can't. To me, that actually sounds pretty cool and futuristic. It would eliminate the need for a lot of fight scenes in sci-fi movies, though.

    I know, not everyone wants something implanted in their wrist (although in this community I'd expect more than the average number to be willing). Well, maybe this is something only required for semi-automatic pistols, etc.... if you want a revolver, no RFID interlock required.

    There are all sorts of interesting solutions we could come up with. Police departments could use a department key, so that any officer could fire any other officer's weapon, but a criminal in a struggle wouldn't be able to fire the officer's weapon.

    Of course, we all know there are flaws with RFID. Could someone, with enough time and effort, clone a key fob? Probably. With enough time and effort, any sort of system we could devise will be defeated. Maybe someone will set off an EMP and render all our smart guns useless. The better question is, what is the increase in effectiveness we gain by doing this?

    We seem very willing to invent scenarios in which safety mechanisms would cause problems... e.g., "me and my friend were working in the garage when someone came up and shot me! I told my friend to get my gun and shoot back, but he couldn't because of the RFID interlock!" and use this as a justification to ignore the potential of technology in this area. But are these really realistic scenarios? Or are we trying to justify what we already want to believe based on anecdotes...

    Obviously this is not a total solution by any means. It does nothing to address the large number of firearms already in circulation. Some people suggest buy-back programs (although I'm a bit skeptical of those, since it seems like the people who are least likely to use a gun are going to be the most likely to trade it in for cash, and good luck trying to get the government to spend any money on a new program right now)... maybe gun manufacturers could offer a trade-in program, where people can upgrade to smart guns.

    To sum up, I think there are viable things that can be done, but for some reason, a lot of us like to invent reasons, no matter how far-fetched, for us to conclude that nothing can be done.

  • Re:Safe guns (Score:5, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:14AM (#42347805) Homepage Journal
    I'd also like to point out something that should be obvious even to a gamer who has never touched a real gun: not all gun manufacturers are in the USA. Why haven't European firearm manufacturers innovated these improvements? A grip safety might be an improvement on the Glock Safe Action. Legislating these changes in the USA is just another government power grab, because they know (and don't care) that the technology is not ready, so the end result is that law-abiding citizens will be kept from obtaining arms.
  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:16AM (#42347833) Homepage Journal

    Accidental deaths occur in the US because people are morons. We have teenagers who find their dad's gun and wave it around trying to look cool, with their finger on the trigger. Never point a gun at something you don't intend to shoot; keep your finger off the trigger until you intend to fire (resting it next to the trigger, not contacting, allows you to fire nearly as fast but prevents a twitch or bump from tugging your finger on the trigger). Waving your gun around at people with your finger on the trigger puts a lot of momentum in a heavy chunk of metal, which eventually leads to that heavy chunk slipping slightly, possibly toward your finger as your hand changes direction (see: waving the gun around), causing the trigger to pull, putting a bullet in your mate's head.

    There's the "Hey watch this" crowd who don't know how shit works. Load a magazine, pull the slide to cock the gun, so totally cool I got my dad's gun huh? Drop the clip out so it's now unloaded, put the gun in your mouth, pull the trigger, die. See, when you cock the gun, a bolt or a door moves out of the way and a spring in the magazine pushes the stack of bullets upwards. This leaves a vacated cavity in which a bullet moves into, which is then closed. Now you drop the clip, the bullet remains in the chamber, and you shoot yourself.

    Find a gun, assume it's not loaded, point it at your friend and pull the trigger. Because you didn't load it, so it must not be loaded. Guns aren't supposed to be kept unloaded because they can accidentally fire (that's impossible with i.e. a Glock, which has the hammer half-cocked so it can't detonate a bullet's primer, plus a bar in the way of the hammer, plus a retracted firing pin, plus a door between the hammer and the cartridge, all of which shifts out of the way and into place when you pull the trigger); they're supposed to be kept unloaded because morons find your gun and assume it's not loaded.

    People load a gun, cock it, and then stick it in their pocket or in their belt or something instead of an appropriate holster. Juggling it around that way eventually sets it off.

    People fail to realize that almost every firearm they're likely to find in the US is both automatic and repeating. They pull the trigger. It fires. They don't remember cocking it. Somebody gets shot.

    Americans are bigger pussies than Brits, and will get a gun just before some event--say the husband is going away for a two day trip, or they just moved to a black neighborhood and they're white. Yes this is how Americans think--black people mean crime, I get that lecture from my dumb parents every time I move to a black neighborhood. Someone comes home late at night, people freak out, grab the gun, go investigating, and shoot their kid who came home at 1 in the morning because he didn't turn the lights on and had a baseball cap so they couldn't see his face. Seriously, just 'cause someone's in your house and you can't identify them, that's terrifying to an American, so we shoot them. And you thought the British would stop their tough-guy talk and wet themselves the second they sense danger, huh? Americans fire off every round in the gun while screaming and crying, then continue to scream and cry and talk about how scared they are.

    Guns don't kill people. Murderers and idiots kill people. A gun does not pick itself up, make a dorky face, shout "hey watch this!", and then point itself at the nearest person's head and pull its own trigger. Everyone wants an SUV because they know they'll hit about 50 cars, bicycles, and telephone poles a year and they want some kind of tank to protect them. Naturally, we kill each other here quite regularly by driving vehicles at 80mph past elementary schools while kids are trying to cross the streets. That's when we're not trying to impress our friends by drinking Purell Hand Sanitizer, eating broken glass, swallowing marbles, trying to ingest more drugs in one sitting than the next guy (I TOLD U I WUZ HARDCORE), burning our arms with car cigarette lighters,setting our pants on fire trying to ignite our farts, and whatever the hell else we can come up with.

  • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:20AM (#42347897) Journal

    In fact, if you do even one day of actual defense training, one of the exercises you do is shooting with a two-handed grip in the "A" stance, then shooting left handed "side stance" and then right handed "side stance".

    This simple exercise would be impossible with some kind of electronic garbage that prevents firing based on grip signature. Also, I'd rather not have to worry about if the batteries are dead if I need the gun.

    Here's what we need: a 1911-style grip safety, and a Walther PPK-style indicator pin that pops out close to the rear sight if a round is in the chamber. Those two things are remarkably effective, and cost practically nothing. Oh, and they've been around for decades.

  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:24AM (#42347951) Journal

    That's why you keep firearms simple - complex things break.

    I find this to be an interesting sentiment coming from a technology oriented community like Slashdot.

    Of course complexity can increase error-proneness. But if this logic is always true, why aren't we still driving Model Ts? Maybe it really is up for debate, but it seems to me that cars have became vastly more complex over the decades, but reliability is on the rise, and cost of maintenance has gone down.

    Planes - planes are vastly more complex than in the past, but very reliable. And peoples' lives literally hang in the balance.

    My point is, we can in fact make complex AND reliable things when we want to, and when we spend the time and resources required. Why are guns exempt from this?

    FWIW, I know how to use (some) guns, and I agree with you... "grip recognition" sounds like something that at best, will work 99% of the time, which isn't enough. But surely we can do better than that.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:28AM (#42348007) Homepage Journal

    "you don't point a gun at people EVER"

    Fixed that for you. Always assume a gun is loaded - even if you have absolute, undeniable proof that it isn't. It's the kind of crap they teach before kindergarten in rural areas.

    Well, I personally wouldn't call firearm safety education "crap," but you're right that it is taught to children at a very young age in rural America (where I happen to hail from).

    I remember being taught the 4 Cardinal Laws of firearm safety as young as six:
    - treat every gun as if it's loaded
    - never point a gun at something you don't intend to destroy
    - always identify your target and what's behind it before firing
    - keep your finger off the trigger until your target is fully sighted

    Unbeknownst to me at the time, these are actually the same rules developed and taught by shooting legend Jeff Cooper. Since reading his Wikipedia page, [] I've come to believe intimate knowledge of the methods and ideas developed by Cooper should be mandatory prior to allowing a firearm to be purchased.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:39AM (#42348151) Homepage Journal

    ...that should come out of the Connecticut school shooting tragedy should be this:

    If anyone is planning to begin legal proceedings to have a family member involuntarily committed for mental health issues, then they must remove all weapons out of their home first.

    That sounds even more than average stupid. If this was passed, the result would be that fewer would try to get their family members committed, and the white elephant hidden even more than it is now.

    Make it easier for people to get help (and I mean help), not harder. And work for conditions less conducive to people developing mental health problems in the first place. Undo Reagan's damage. It's late, but not too late.

  • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:41AM (#42348177)

    Even so, I wish that research into reliable non-lethal disabling weapons would increase tenfold.

    We could give reliable stun guns to every teacher, and train them, without fear that students would get killed due to negligence.

    We could enact gun control legislation without reducing personal defense. This in turn could cause more criminals to choose the available non-lethal weapons when committing crimes.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:41AM (#42348181) Homepage Journal

    If you take longer inserting the bolt than unlocking the gun cabinet, you're not familiar enough with your weapon that you should be allowed to keep it.

    Which part of the 1911 should I remove that I will be able to reinstall quicker than unlocking the box it's in []? Inquiring minds want to know.

    And I'd gladly live in a country where it's illegal to defend myself by lethal means if it also meant the possibility of having to defend oneself with lethal means wasn't something a normal person would have to worry about.

    Me too, but banning firearms won't solve that problem.

    It's little wonder that so many Americans go apeshit with all the insane worries they have which others don't.

    I agree.

  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:49AM (#42348281) Homepage

    The loudest sound in the world:

    ``Hearing `click', when you expected to hear `bang'.''

  • Re:Bias (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:03PM (#42348435) Journal
    Really? What happened to those bedrock conservative principles of accountability and responsibility?

    What happened to them? Simple - You completely misunderstood them.

    I bear complete responsibility for my actions. If I choose to smoke, if I choose to drive recklessly, if I chose to play Russian Roulette with a semiautomatic - Then I bear the responsibility for the outcome. Not Marlboro, not Ford, not Ruger. Not the corner paki, not the car dealership, not Walmart. Me.

    Pity, really that such a concept so eludes the "progressives" that someone would actually, legitimately mistake not finger-pointing at the manufacture as giving up the idea of "responsibility".
  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:11PM (#42348559) Homepage

    Firearms are mechanically simple. You can't add electronics to a simple mechanical device and make it more reliable. Electronics are less reliable than simple mechanical things, so any such change is a step backward.

    Cars and planes are complicated mechanical and electrical devices. You can simplify the circuits and/or mechanical design by replacing some parts with computer control. But just the engine alone in either is well over an order of magnitude more complicated than a gun firing mechanism.

    Good try on the car analogy though, somebody had to do it.

  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:15PM (#42348613) Homepage Journal

    No, a semi-automatic weapon is an automatic weapon. There is also fully-automatic. Depending on who you ask (different regulatory boards, manufacturers, the military, in different countries), the definition floats around a bit--in America the standard term for "automatic" specifically requires that gas from firing the rifle eject the bullet, and largely that it also reload the chamber and fire again. Of course in America we legally term these "Machine Guns" as well, as a separate term--"machine gun" means "Fully Automatic". Weird.

    Some countries in Europe term semi-autos as "automatic". A bolt-action shotgun is not automatic, but repeating. A double-action revolver is both repeating and (semi)-automatic. An Uzi is fully-automatic. Depending on who you ask, in what agency, and in what country, someone will tell you a revolver is automatic. Depending on who you ask, someone will tell you a fully-auto pistol would be vastly inferior to a semi-auto.

    And those aren't uninformed stereotypes, those are real events. This is how teenagers get shot with guns. They shoot each other or their parents are morons. Brother Brittypants was unclear as to how anyone manages to "accidentally" get shot--the answer is by being morons. People who handle guns properly do not accidentally shoot themselves unless someone's dog bites them in the ass while they're reloading; that only leaves the stupid, of which America is full.

    Plenty of the stupid buy guns "for defense" and don't bother to learn to use them. It happens. I don't know why. My parents got guns without going through any kind of training course to use them--dad was military, mom has never handled a gun in her life but now owns two Rugers registered in her name with zero training. She wanted them so she can defend herself against home intruders. I have watched both these morons point them around the house with their fingers right on the triggers, not realizing bullets will go through interior walls and egress windows, claiming they're not loaded so it's okay to wave them around like that. Developing terrible habits.

    The last time I picked up a gun, I got yelled at because it was loaded and it was a real pistol... I was trying to elevate it from its position on the end of a table, about 3 feet away from direct reach of an 11 year old who thought guns were awesome and liked to point empty (real, by the way--his parents gave him real, unloaded firearms as toys) guns at people and pull the trigger and make pew-pew sounds while they went click click click.

    These are the people that you find around "accidental shootings." This is how they happen.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:16PM (#42348627)

    Keeping guns around mentally unhealthy folks is negligence. No different than storing a loaded gun in the baby's crib.

    I agree we need to undo the damage that was done to this nations mental health system, but allowing incompetents or those a danger to themselves or others access to weapons is negligence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:18PM (#42348647)
    #1 should be banned because it's intended to kill people. #2 should be banned because it teaches our kids that guns are toys, and then they take that lesson into their adulthood and defend their rights to own toys even when faced with the deaths of several children.
  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:24PM (#42348753)

    The odds of you needing the last shot are damn near 0 in exchange for a simple safety measure many handguns already have.

    How many firefights have you been in exactly? and if that number exceeds 0 why have you not moved?

    Before you try flaming me as some gun-grabber, I do in fact own guns.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:30PM (#42348839) Homepage Journal

    The fact is, most of our most dangerous cities are the very cities with the strictest gun control laws.

    The argument is which way the arrow of causality points, if there is one.

  • by rhsanborn ( 773855 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:42PM (#42349019)
    Similarly, there are many documented cases of air bags killing people. We still use them though, because they save way more people than they kill.
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:55PM (#42349203) Homepage Journal

    "We don't even have a national way to find out if you have ever been committed."


    I'm a veteran. Anyone with an interest, and my SSN can easily verify that. I don't know how much more info such an interested party can get, but he can easily verify that I am an honorably discharged veteran.

    Convicts? Ditto. In fact, all you need is to be arrested these days, and that arrest record follows you forever, unless you can convince a judge to have it expunged.

    Most especially, sex offenders. Get run in for pissing on some shrubbery, you're automatically a sex offender, and you've got to register with whatever county you live in, forevermore.

    Mentally incompetent people? Spend a weekend at the local looney bin, get turned loose because you don't have insurance to pay for treatment, and there is no record. You can walk straight from the nuthouse to the gun shop, and fill out the paperwork to get a gun.

  • by PoolOfThought ( 1492445 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:59PM (#42349257)
    I know how my boss would feels if I took code that completed its task 99.99 percent of the time (.01% failure) and modified it so that it now completed it's actual task only 99.97% percent of the time (.03% failure). He'd want to know WHY in the hell I made a change that causes failure to occur 3x more often.

    If the device was a pacemaker then that's 3x the deaths due to failure. Why would people buy that product if it was 3x more likely to fail?
  • by YoungHack ( 36385 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @01:08PM (#42349399)

    Here's why I don't like magazine disconnects. They interfere with the safe consistent operation of the gun in other situations. For example, the Ruger Mark III pistol has a magazine disconnect. You have to "dry fire" the gun in several steps while cleaning. That means, rather than remove all magazines and ammunition from your work environment while cleaning, you need to keep a magazine (unloaded yes) to insert and remove at various points in the assembly and disassembly. It makes the whole process significantly more complex.

    It also means that you can't easily practice with that gun without ammunition. Although the gun is safe to dry fire, when you cock the hammer, the slide will lock back. Without the magazine disconnect, you would simply pull the slide back and let go an you'd be ready to dry fire. Dry fire activities are valuable, but they're also a place where people make mistakes. So it'd be better all around if you could remove all ammunition and magazines from your environment when doing it. Adding complexity to the process makes it more likely you'll commit an error.

    I prefer the simpler more consistent operation of guns without a magazine disconnect. But my very first lesson to new shooters is also that a gun with an empty magazine can still be loaded (and I use a dummy round for that lesson).

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @01:20PM (#42349551) Homepage Journal
    As long as it is a choice and not mandatory.

    I prefer t have my guns remain analog...

    I don't want to have some kind of freakin' gun ID malfunction if someone has broken into my house, and I need to shoot them.

    You know...guns actually are pretty safe. You rarely hear of one jumping off the shelf on its own and shooting someone.

    Maybe more gun safety is to be taught? Why not have that as an elective class in schools? Gun education?

  • by Goetterdaemmerung ( 140496 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:21PM (#42350353)

    Why and when do you have to dry fire to clean? Why does the gun have to be assembled to do that? If not why are you not depressing the catch with another tool?

    The Ruger Mark III requires a magazine inserted and the trigger to be pulled to disassemble the pistol as per their published instructions.

    "Insert the empty magazine into the magazine well until it "clicks" and is fully in place.
    Disengage the internal lock, if necessary. (See p. 13.) Place the safety in the
    "off" (F) position. Point the pistol in a safe direction and pull the trigger to
    be sure the hammer has fallen. The hammer must be uncocked before the
    pistol can be disassembled. Remove the empty magazine."

    Page 22:

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:36PM (#42350575)

    "NEVER, EVER just brandish or wave a gun at someone. If you pull a gun out, you absolutely, positively must pull the trigger."

    This is oversimplified to the point of being harmful. You shouldn't pull a gun out unless you intend to use it- but if the threat ends, e.g., criminal turns tail and flees, do NOT shoot the target in the back.

  • Re:Safe guns (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:25PM (#42352677) Journal

    USA is the single biggest gun market. Even those European firearm manufacturers, they sell most of their guns in the USA. So if there is a US law mandating those things, they will happen - and most likely will apply to other markets as well.

  • by Samalie ( 1016193 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:34PM (#42353315)

    Because some idiots can't be responsible, then those of us who can must suffer having our rights reduced?


    Look, I'm a gun nut myself. I grew up around guns, I know guns, I have guns, I use guns.

    Shit, I'm even smart enough to know that "freedom isn't free" - that our freedoms have been paid throughout history in blood.

    But shit...massacre after massacre...children, families, lives ruined...84 gun-related deaths a day. How much blood must be shed? How many innocent people have to die before we realize that our willingness to kill each other is the fucking problem?

    You said above you have no problem with an intruder dying. Honestly...think about this for a second. You come home, find someone robbing your home, and shoot the fucker. He's a 15 year old unarmed kid stealing shit. Or a 40-year-old unarmed asshole robbing your place. Yeah, he made some shitty choices obviously, but does he deserve to die? Are you really prepared to live with that choice? What about cases like Zimmerman - regardless of the circumstances and the actual facts surrounding it, he killed an unarmed teenager.

    I don't hate guns at all. As I said somewhere in this thread, if its him or me (or my family) about to die, I'll pull the trigger. I'll protect my family, and I'll kill or be killed to see them safe from harm. But honestly, if you see this as anything but a last resort, then you're a part of the problem, not the solution.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.