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Friday, May 6, 2016

Smart phones to smart guns?

I have an interesting story. Last night was Cinco de Mayo, a celebration I think that as an Englishman I can share with the Mexican nation as it involves a celebration of a victory over the French! I was enjoying an ice cold beer or several with my friends and neighbors, when someone suggested we should listen to the dulcet tones of Pink Floyd.

What a fine plan we all agreed, and as a full sound system in our garage is a little beyond our means, a 'smart' phone was located, along with a Bluetooth speaker, more usually found residing in my bathroom, where it thankfully does a great job of drowning out my attempts to re-create Pink Floyd. There then ensued much head scratching and annoyance as the assembled group made many fruitless attempts to made the 'smart' phone speak to a speaker, mere inches away, the same connection having been made last week.

After much bad language, cursing and frustration, a second 'smart' phone was located, and when finally my neighbors 13 year old son was sought and asked to see what he could do, Pink Floyd made a triumphant appearance in Maricopa.

Is there a point to my little story I hear you ask, well yes there is. 'Smart' guns have been making the rounds of the firearm industry for some years now. Many have tried to produce a practical weapon, that will protect people from accidental discharges, stolen guns etc. But are they as smart as people would have you believe, or are they TOO smart?

Taking my example above, a popular way to make a gun 'smart' is to have it communicate with a device held by the firearm's owner, maybe like a wrist watch. This communication is by Bluetooth, a great system used to connect devices like your phone to your car, or your headset. Another method is a fingerprint reader, used to identify authorized users, and allow the weapon to be used.

This would seem to throw up a number of issues. How many chargers do you have in your house already? It would seem that even the most basic system will require at least 1 more charger,also leading to a further issue of how do you charge your gun's system when it's in it's secure safe?

So assuming you have charged you gun, and are wearing your Bluetooth enabled 'smart watch', and you have cause to have to defend yourself. leaving aside fingerprint readers, which is a while new discussion, you draw your weapon speedily and safely, and it becomes clear you need to actually discharge your gun, you pull the trigger, having followed everything you were taught in your CCW class and your pistol classes, and low and behold nothing happens! Your Bluetooth device has locked onto another source, and suddenly, you are looking ar the wrong end of a assailant, who you have rightfully pulled a firearm on to defend yourself, that you now have no defense against!!

Not withstanding the above, if a firearm is stolen, does anyone believe that given time, and a little know how, electronic systems that are being described cannot to worked around, making the argument about making stolen guns worthless a little less easy to believe. As for safety (and this is where it gets controversial!) nothing is 100% safe. If you want to stop car accidents and deaths the only way to guarantee that is to wrap every car in expanding foam, and sealing the doors to prevent entry. Perfect solution, but now, you have something that that is useless to you in the role you bought it to perform.

Put simply, a car, gun, knife or motorcycle is as safe as the the people who control it. Properly trained people, who care and who act properly, will remain safe, those who dismiss risk and are haphazard about safety will continue to be hurt, and will hurt others, whether with a Glock or a Ford.

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