Smart guns, stupid reporters


January 11, 2013, 09:45 PM
I enter this item from the NYTimes in the Stupidest Gun Story sweepstakes, which has some pretty fierce competition. It’s titled “Smart Guns Can’t Kill in the Wrong Hands.”

Among other implied claims, it asks, “ Why can we open our front doors with our iPhones and have cars that drive themselves, but we can’t make a gun that doesn’t fire unless its registered owner is using it?” Set aside the fact that you have to have some pretty sophisticated technology beyond a smartphone to open your front door (and you would definitely want a key backup). And set aside the fact that the number of cars currently driving themselves hovers around zero.

Let us contemplate the simple, observable fact that even a technology as long-established as the bar-code reader – there are millions upon millions of them out there – is still so iffy that anybody in line at a supermarket expects that the clerk will have to pause while ringing up orders once or twice to key in a product code because the reader just won’t scan the little black lines. But never mind! There’s this new technology which could be on a few hundred guns, that will work for sure. You bet your life on it. When some thugs come battering down your door, just wrap your fingers around the gun and it will work. If it doesn’t, try jiggling it. Or press the reboot button, enter your password, and wait while it cycles around.

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January 11, 2013, 09:55 PM
There are several problems with these systems, which anyone in IT can attest to...

1) Implementation of all guns would be expensive.
2) It can always be hacked or disabled.
3) It can have false negatives on the owner, resulting in the owner not being able to use it. Especially if biometrics change (which they can, i.e. warts on your finger, cuts, etc).
4) If someone not registered for that firearm needs it (i.e. spouse, child, friend), it cannot be used.
5) Criminals can just create guns without these, if they don't buy hacked, disabled, or grandfathered weapons.
6) Legal issues could arise if someone does hack your gun and use it, because supposedly you are the only one who could use it.
7) This could be a nightmare for units that issue weapons.

I've worked with biometric devices before. I've seen biometric gun safes. I have a push button safe. I've seen fingerprint readers for my computer. I don't have one. I do not trust biometric to let me access things when I want/need them, and I would not trust it on my gun.

I can just imagine at the range, "hey, you should change your grip."
"Bah! I know that grip is better, but I have 14 handguns and I don't want to have to redo my biometrics on all of them!"
"Hey George, don't you have twenty rifles too?"

January 11, 2013, 09:56 PM
Ah, biometrics, the deus ex machina that'll solve all our problems!

Except consumer-grade biometrics are notoriously unreliable. I'd like to see how a consumer-grade biometric gun system works when the batteries run low or you get a little blood on your hands, or you need to use your weak-hand, or need to hand off the gun to someone else in the household during an attack because you're disabled.

Also this ignores the additional cost of such magical technology which is sure to add at least several hundred dollars, which also disproportionately affects the low-income.


January 12, 2013, 06:33 AM
It is just not consumer-grade biometrics that suck. I've not seen a commercial system in use that I would be willing to trust if time was critical.

Nathaniel Firethorn
January 12, 2013, 08:51 AM

- NF

January 12, 2013, 09:44 AM
I've also seen what recoil forces do to cheap consumer grade electronics (breaks soldier joints and so forth). We all know what the failure rate is like with simple things like flashlights, red-dot scopes, etc. now imagine the failure rate with something magnitudes more complex like biometric readers.

January 12, 2013, 10:14 AM
Great....grab your gun to defend your family only to find the battery died or was defective....

sent from the toilet via tapatalk 2.

January 12, 2013, 12:24 PM
Great....grab your gun to defend your family only to find the battery died or was defective....

"Honey, someone's breaking in. We need the battery from the remote so we can use our gun."
"But Mythbusters AND Antiques Roadshow are both on, I need the remote!"

Romeo 33 Delta
January 12, 2013, 01:25 PM
This is your auto-pilot speaking. This aircraft is now being operated by an automated flight system which will handle the take-off, climb to cruising altitude, flight to destination and landing. Sit back and enjoy your flight. Do not worry. Nothing can go wrong ... go wrong ... go wrong ... go wrong ....

Nuff said!

January 12, 2013, 01:31 PM
People are unable to defeat electronics, completely foolproof.

January 12, 2013, 02:16 PM
Why don't we just mount guns on those wonderful security cameras we surround ourselves with to feel safe?
The Self-Aware Colony ( :D


January 12, 2013, 04:51 PM
I think it's great to see the anti's spinning thier wheels on stupid stuff like this that can't possibly happen. Smart guns, traceable ammo, confiscations, etc. Now they are whinning about 3D printers that "could" make a gun. Great, waste more time on that!
Please spend your time, money and energy on this stuff. Then act real surprised when it fails to be enforced. We will still have our "dumb" guns and dumb ammo.

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