The Democrats are trying to go back to the gun control issue, but they have a "new" idea: smart guns! Never mind that their new idea doesn't exist despite various companies spending years trying to come up with one. Apparently, if James Bond has one in his latest movie, that's good enough for House Democrats. There are a lot of problems with this, but I'm going to lead with the low-hanging fruit:
Tierney said his Personalized Handgun Safety Act, H.R. 2005, would help prevent accidental deaths, like the case in New Jersey last month when a six-year old accidentally shot and killed a four-year-old child.
OK, so the theory is, this .22 caliber rifle would be modified to add some sort of biometric recognition device, and not actually fire when the 6-year-old pointed it at his sister and pulled the trigger.
We'll assume for the sake of argument that the new technology functions properly and that the person who bought the rifle was willing to pay for it -- considering that the technology probably doubles or triples the cost of a simple .22 caliber rifle. (If the legislation passes, they would be forced to pay for it, or else go without).
The rifle would still have fired, and the child would still be dead.
The rifle was a gift. The 6-year-old owned it. He was an authorized user -- whether or not that is a smart decision is another matter -- and thus allowed to fire the gun.
So what are the real problems here?
First, a 6-year-old child had unsupervised access to a firearm. It's one thing to train a child to shoot under adult supervision, quite another for them to be allowed access to a firearm unsupervised.
Second, both children were unsupervised, period. Even inside a house there are many dangerous things to young children. It's not a problem unique to firearms. Which brings me to the statistics:
The CDC reports that for 2010 (the latest year available), one single six-year old died from a gunshot. For all children younger than 10, there were 36 accidental gun deaths, and that is out of 41 million children. Perhaps most important, about two-thirds of these accidental gun deaths involving young children are not shots fired by other little kids but rather by adult males with criminal backgrounds...
Indeed, if you are going to worry about your child?s safety you should check into other, perhaps less obvious dangers lurking in the playmate's house: swimming pools, bathtubs, water buckets, bicycles, and chemicals and medications that can cause fatal poisoning. Drownings alone claimed 609 deaths; fires, 262 lives; poisonings, 54 lives. And don't forget to ask about the playmate's parents' car and their driving records if your child will ride with them: After all, motor-vehicle accidents killed 923 children younger than 10.
Firearms safety for young children is a solved problem. There will always be tragic accidents, but 36 deaths in one year out of 41 million children is incredibly low. The right course of action for this "problem" is to not let your children play with dangerous things.
That's not the only problem with this latest gun control proposal, though. Smart guns have been around in concept for decades. They have yet to be successfully implemented, because:
Firearms, particularly those intended for self-defense, are emergency tools that absolutely must function reliably when called upon.
Adding a biometric identification function that must succeed in order to allow the gun to fire is adding a failure mode, which could cost lives if the firearm does not function when it is needed
The basic technology to identify a user by grip characteristics doesn't exist; while there are prototypes, they are not reliable
Self-defense firearms are emergency tools that often stay in a drawer for years before being needed; adding a battery-powered device to the firearm is an invitation for a dead battery -- and a dead gun owner when their firearm fails at a crucial time
What happens if an authorized user holds the gun with their left hand, or with their hands dirty? If the gun doesn't fire, we have a dead gun owner again
Fundamentally, "smart" guns are assuming a stupid gun owner who needs to be protected from himself more than he needs the gun to protect himself from a criminal. The low rate of accidental gun injuries with existing firearms technology tells us that "smart" guns are a stupid idea, at least outside of Hollywood where the fights aren't scripted.
This entry was published Fri May 17 08:50:44 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger
and last updated 2013-05-17 08:50:44.0.