PM says: "Smart guns - dumb idea!"


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Preacherman
November 10, 2004, 03:46 PM
In the light of the latest NJIT grant to develop a "smart gun" (see this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=109727) for details), I thought it worthwhile to resurrect this 2003 article.

From Popular Mechanics (http://popularmechanics.com/outdoors/firearms/2003/7/smart_guns/):

'Smart' Guns: Dumb Idea!

BY CLIFF GROMER


http://popularmechanics.com/outdoors/firearms/2003/7/smart_guns/images/tb_gunlead-lg.jpg


At first blush it seems like a great idea. A gun that can determine if the person holding it is an authorized user. A smart gun that will fire only if it recognizes the shooter's thumbprint. Pretty neat. Homeowners would want it because it eliminates the danger of their kids or anyone else using it. The cops surely would want it, as it eliminates the danger of a bad guy getting ahold of their weapon and turning the tables. Then there's the problem of teenage suicides--most prevalent where there is easy access to guns, such as the homes of law officers. What's not to like?

New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey seems to like the idea. He signed bill S.573/890, which will ban the sale of dumb handguns--namely, all handguns that are currently available. The law goes into effect three years after "at least one manufacturer has delivered at least one production model of a personalized handgun to a registered or licensed wholesale or retail dealer in New Jersey or any other state." Exceptions to this sweeping legislation would be for antique and competition models. The law doesn't make for a total ban on handgun sales, but it comes pretty close. The law has a good chance of being a model for similar restrictions in other states.

But what about the benefits? What about all those kids who get killed as the result of firearms? The latest information available from the New Jersey Department of Health on this is for the years 1998 and 1999. The total number of children killed in firearms accidents? Zero. Even so, there are kids who are killed by guns, such as the 18-year-old ne'er-do-well who was shot while attempting to rob a liquor store. He was entered in the "child" category.

Well, at least the police would benefit from the new law. Or would they? The cops, as it turns out, want no part of the smart-gun law, and they raised such a fuss that the law was amended to exclude the guns used for official use by federal, state and local law enforcement officers and members of the armed forces and the National Guard serving in New Jersey. The reason was simple. The law enforcement folks didn't want to put their lives on the line for new, unproven technology. It seems that when you marry a firearm and a computer, the result is something that's less than 100 percent reliable. A handgun, with its shocks, vibrations and corrosive emissions, is not the best environment for a piece of sophisticated electronic hardware. In a life-or-death confrontation with a bad guy, a cop doesn't have the option of saying, "Timeout, I have to reboot." It's interesting that the group that smart guns were targeted for--law enforcement officers--is the one rejecting the concept.

Just how reliable is current smart-gun technology? According to research conducted by Sandia National Laboratories, user identification has to be accomplished within a quarter-second to be effective in a life-threatening situation. Sandia says there are no known available technologies that police would find acceptable.

During the Clinton administration, the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice figured to spur smart-gun development by subsidizing a major firearms manufacturer tasked with inventing a workable system. Colt's Manufacturing Co. took on the project, which was sweetened by hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Justice Department. A workable system has yet to be found.

According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which used government grants to study personalized handgun technology, fingerprint recognition systems work only 80 percent of the time. But the New Jersey law goes into effect regardless of whether the guns are 100 percent--or 80 percent--reliable.

Cops protecting the New Jersey governor won't accept an 80 percent reliability factor. But the governor, by supporting this law, is saying that 80 percent is good enough for the homeowner trying to protect his family from an armed intruder. What's wrong with this picture?

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Harry Tuttle
November 10, 2004, 05:14 PM
http://www.angelfire.com/comics/pinton/gun.html

:evil: :evil:

Standing Wolf
November 10, 2004, 05:53 PM
Not in my gun safe or holster!

ZeroX
November 10, 2004, 06:05 PM
Heart @ Popular Mechanics

Cacique500
November 10, 2004, 06:07 PM
LMAO - nice cartoon Harry!! :D

Hardtarget
November 10, 2004, 10:59 PM
All along my position has been the police and bodyguards of electiced officials should use the "smart gun" technology for a full year...just to show us commoners how good the system is. Maybe some of the people in NJ should make some noise and force the issue...no thats right, sheep don't make that much noise.
Mark.

Phil Ca
November 11, 2004, 03:43 AM
Anybody that voluntarily buys one of those firearms and actually carries one deserves what ever happens to them! Even the magnetic ring device that Mas Ayoob was touting some years ago was not the answer.

Now if we could get politicians to wear ankle bracelets with tracking devices in them...........!

Brick
November 11, 2004, 05:06 AM
When I first heard about this techno-technology, Howstuffworks.com had it up.

In a life-or-death confrontation with a bad guy, a cop doesn't have the option of saying, "Timeout, I have to reboot."

As soon as I read that line, that was it.

Nope.

If it don't work for cops, it can't work for us either.

A proven time-tested method begins at youth, with the dad showing the kid how a .22 bolt action works, how ammo works, etc and how and when to fire it. :barf:

Guy B. Meredith
November 11, 2004, 04:01 PM
1 Battery + 3 Wires = Dumb Gun

possenti
November 11, 2004, 08:54 PM
I saw this idea resurface on the History Channel the other day - "Tales of the Gun" I think. They were showing a S&W experimental model that operated with the electro-magnetic ring.

It occurred to me then that it's just a matter of time before criminals come up with some type of "jamming system" that would interrupt the signal between the cop's ring and the gun's reciever, rendering it useless.

Any other type of electro-wizardry that the gun makers come up with will eventually be defeated by criminal-counter measures. There are way too many variables when trying to incorporate electronics into guns that MUST be 100% reliable 100% of the time.

As for "safety", nothing can be made idiot-proof. Someone always comes along and just invents a better idiot.

geekWithA.45
November 11, 2004, 09:42 PM
If it can be made to go bang at all, it can be made to go bang at the wrong time, while pointed at the wrong person, or being handled by the wrong person.

If it can be prevented from going bang, it will eventually be prevented from going bang at the wrong time, while being handled by the right person, and being pointed at the right person.

Kenneth Lew
November 11, 2004, 11:51 PM
New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey seems to like the idea. He signed bill S.573/890, which will ban the sale of dumb handguns--namely, all handguns that are currently available. The law goes into effect three years after "at least one manufacturer has delivered at least one production model of a personalized handgun to a registered or licensed wholesale or retail dealer in New Jersey or any other state." Exceptions to this sweeping legislation would be for antique and competition models. The law doesn't make for a total ban on handgun sales, but it comes pretty close. The law has a good chance of being a model for similar restrictions in other states.

Whoever is the first to set up production will be the one that we should boycott and pressure the wholesalers/retailers not to sell their line.

RavenVT100
November 12, 2004, 12:03 AM
Maybe some of the people in NJ should make some noise and force the issue...no thats right, sheep don't make that much noise.

Speak for yourself. None of the people in New Jersey who shoot, who I have met, will be a party to this. None of us will trust our lives to unproven technology. And none of us will support a manufacturer who wants to get rich off of a piece of junk that's about get forced down our throats.

Where did you get the idea that the NJ gun crowd would actually support a measure like this? We aren't exactly the majority around here, you know.

motoman
November 12, 2004, 12:33 AM
a dumb Handgun again! These are gonna get valuable!

38SnubFan
November 12, 2004, 01:13 AM
If these so-called "smart" guns ever make it to mass production, I'd probably be crazy enough to buy one. Not that I would ever carry it. And I'd probably never load it. But it would be one of those cool collectors items to have. That way when I'm old I can show my grandchildren one of the dumbest inventions my generation has ever had the gall to conceive, let alone produce. :cuss:

-38

Tharg
November 12, 2004, 01:42 AM
Hey now - while i don't agree w/ the endaround law.... of the disposed gov.

I think if they COULD perfect it.... that it would be awesome to have something like that for house defense and such.

think about it - they already sell safes w/ fingerprint quick unlock tech etc... the better for it to be on the gun to cut down the "gotta get to safe, get in safe, etc" routine....

Yes yes - i know the limitations NOW - point is... we've come from a VERY long line of limitations.... and still not ALL guns that operate on the same principles of other guns are 100% reliable either.... and some are very close - and most these days are well into the "acceptable" range.

I don't discount the tech... i personally eagerly await it - nothing like being in yer own house (again) and wondering how to best hide one's pistols so they are usefull to you - but harder to find for the disgruntled teen - OR to lock em all up again - thus making them next to useless =(

grrrr i hate conundrums.....

heh

J/Tharg!

Brick
November 12, 2004, 02:15 AM
Any other type of electro-wizardry that the gun makers come up with will eventually be defeated by criminal-counter measures. There are way too many variables when trying to incorporate electronics into guns that MUST be 100% reliable 100% of the time.

Exactly. Perfection doesn't work on Enhancable Area Reluctant To Help. :D :D

heh

None of us will trust our lives to unproven technology.

Correct...But when guns were first invented, along with all their sub-classes (revolvers, semis...) they were unproven technology........

Feanaro
November 12, 2004, 02:52 AM
As someone who likes computers and who fiddles with them sometimes, I can say that I wouldn't touch one of these with a eighty foot pole. Most computer errors are user induced... but computers are easy to induce errors in. At least when you start out. But there is no room for errors when you have to Kill Or Be Killed. More parts, more chance for Murphy to break them. You do get the advantage of being the only person to use the weapon though. But nothing is perfect, is it?

Φ

Brick
November 12, 2004, 03:48 AM
More parts, more chance for Murphy to break them. You do get the advantage of being the only person to use the weapon though.

Amen to the more parts thing. (I wanna be an auto tech, they told us that)

Ok. How can the weapon attain perfect, rapid, instanous user identification in the heat of battle? :what:

Second thing.

Average Joe: "well, that would only work with one person, right?"
Tech brute: "No, you can add as many as 16 different identities."
Average Joe: "Well, what happens if I get knocked out of action and Joe Cop lost his gun and has to use mine...only to notice... :what: :what: then the Joe Bad Guy => http://www.ambackforum.com/images/smiles/sterb250.gif"
Tech Brute: http://www.ambackforum.com/images/smiles/icon_neutral.gif

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