Smart guns

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2016

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about gun control in the United States recently. It seems like just about once a week there’s a news story about how a child accidentally shot someone, a student planned to or succeeded in shooting others or how certain groups are advocating for banning guns altogether.
This week there’s been talk of implementing smart guns. These weapons would be equipped with fingerprint scanners that would be used to unlock the device, ensuring only the owner has access.
It’s actually a great idea, on paper. But I foresee some problems that need to be overcome.
First, their effective use, for better or worse, is based on the person using it.
Second, having to scan a fingerprint before a gun can be used could be problematic. Guns, when used for protection, are most effective when they are easily accessed. Anyone who has ever used a fingerprint scanner to unlock a cellphone knows that, at times, it can take more than one attempt to successfully scan.
Just like with any security measure, there’s also the possibility that the scan can be hacked.
Another cause for concern comes from recent news reports stating the new technology will be tested by law enforcement officers. Due to the above concerns, especially the fingerprint scanner issues, it would be best to use another group of individuals as guinea pigs. Law enforcement officers shouldn’t be the ones to uncover flaws in this new technology. They should be armed with tried and true methods, not just for our protection, but for theirs as well.
And finally, even when a new effective method to provide another layer of gun safety is established, there will still be millions of old firearms out there without scanners, or whatever technology finally gains approval.
An effective manner to retrofit those firearms is possible, but would most likely be costly.

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