In Praise of Stupid Guns

Courtesy Armatix

By Patriotic HIT Pharmacist

Among the latest hustles and bogus gambits pursued by the gun control advocates is the so-called “smart gun” (which will be enclosed in quotes throughout because it is no such thing). It falls into the same semantic charade as the “assault weapon” which also does not exist because its fluid definition is arbitrary and capricious and depends on cosmetic features.

Since nomenclature does matter, our definition of a “smart gun” will be one that uses either mechanical and/or electrical mechanisms to prevent such an equipped firearm from being discharged, except by an authorized user. (It may also be termed as a “Firearm too technologically complex to be able to be used by whoever could otherwise save lives whenever and wherever it finds itself”, from DRGO’s Anti-Gun Glossary.)

So, let’s review some of the pitfalls of seeking to make firearms supposedly safer by the generous application of technology, physics, electronics and wishful thinking.

A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM

The proffered rationale for “smart guns” is, of course, that it will save the lives of children. Everyone with a moral compass agrees that is a laudable goal. However, a pragmatic analysis should ask just how many might be saved and at what cost? This is where the gun control advocates fail to evaluate the situation fairly and dispassionately. They only see the half-empty glass, tallying the carnage and never acknowledging the huge benefit of firearms in protecting life. If this were not the case, police officers would not carry them.

National Vital Statistics Reports (Volume 66, Number 6, November 27, 2017). Deaths: Final Data for 2015 records the number of children killed by firearms as 443 for those under the age of 15 in 2015. The next ages grouped are 15-24 years old (with death rates on par with other adult groups), which makes this cohort vastly dissimilar to younger victims.

So, there are 443 young victims annually in a population of 320 million in 2015. While every life cut short is tragic, it is a minuscule population to base drastic policy prescriptions upon.

Another reason proposed for the utility of “smart guns” is to protect police officers from gun grabs. Regrettably, police officers are sometimes killed by their own service pistols. However, these incidents are also very uncommon despite the unsavory necessity for police to go “hands on” with violent persons. Gun grabs are rare because police are well-trained in weapons retention and their use of special holsters frustrate such attempts. The gun is still dumb—instead, the officers and their holsters are smart. If it were not so, police unions would be screaming for the adoption of “smart guns”, when in reality they are exempt from being required to use them. Clearly, they do not see utility or safety in them.

THE TECHNOLOGY

There are two routes to achieve a “smart gun”, mechanical and electrical.

A mechanical “smart gun” would most likely use a trigger lock or chamber block that is released by a key or code entry.

Meanwhile, an electronic “smart gun” would likely involve encoded electromagnetic signals or biometric identification. Some familiar examples are based on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chips such as in our credit cards and our beloved pets. Likewise, devices such as rings, wrist-watches, or even sub-dermal implants could be proximity-linked and paired with a firearm to allow its operation. Just think of it like your iPhone pairing with your Subaru, so that you can have a conversation hands-free while driving. Ah, the wonders of technology . . .

The biometric version of an electronic “smart gun” might use finger print or voice recognition. The use of retinal scans or DNA identification is probably farther down the road, although I might expect it on my “Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40-Watt range” (hat tip to The Terminator).

THE TECHNOLOGY DISASTERS

So, let’s assume that either through unlikely market forces or actual legislation that “smart guns” will be tried in earnest. We will need a sober appraisal of the implementation issues.

First off, what are we going to do with the hundreds of millions of pre-existing “dumb guns” out there? As I have stated elsewhere, all my firearms were lost in a tragic boating accident. If they were somehow retrieved from the bottom of the ocean, would it even be possible to retrofit them to become “smart guns”? No, we are faced with either grandfathering all of them or declaring the “dumb guns” illegal and precipitating the Second American Civil War. These are not sane choices.

Much ink has also been spilled debating technical challenges that make “smart guns” appear about as reliable as my virus-laden Windows 7 laptop from a decade ago. We do love our technology—when it works! I hurl invective at Apple when my iPhone fails to pair via Bluetooth with my Subaru. The worst that happens is that I miss a call from work or my wife. However, my life is literally on the line when my Sig Sauer decides it wants nothing to do with my special firearm ID bracelet or surgically implanted chip. The stakes are high so pray your firmware is up to date.

I posit that, both in life and in engineering, the more complex something is the more potential failure points. Self-defense experts universally agree that a firearm needs to be reliable, first and foremost. Failure is not tolerated. So, the argument that batteries and capacitors can fail is still valid despite advances in materials and design improvements.

Biometrics seem the most sensitive to having a bad day—and then you have a really bad day! For instance, the finger print reader on a previous laptop was so unreliable that, even under ideal conditions, I was recognized as the authorized user only about half the time. Now imagine the ugly situation of a home invasion, tussling hand-to-hand with three thugs before breaking free to grab your trusty Mossberg shotgun. Your fingers are wet from sweat, blood, dirt, and—oh yes, one of the assailants bit off your finger tip! Your shotgun will not comply without that missing distal digit. So, no double-ought buckshot from your “boom stick” to save your family. Too bad, so sad, but at least the gun banners will feel good.

The cumulative complexity of these technologies is well-exampled in Three’s A Crowd, describing the winning entry in a New York City contest for “smart gun” design that incorporates fingerprint, key card and voice recognition!

 

Patriotic HIT Pharmacist’ is a relatively new firearms owner (thanks to the previous President). This Second Amendment zealot takes self-defense seriously, is trained and certified in health informatics, and dabbles in reloading.

This post was originally published at drgo.us and is reprinted here with permission. 

comments

  1. avatar Sam I Am says:

    The danger from “smart guns” isn’t the technology (or vaporware, if you like). It it the Jersey example: whenever a “smart gun” is make available for sale, anywhere in the US, all firearms sold in the state must be “smart guns”. That, friends, is “reasonable” restriction.

    1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

      That NJ law needs to be ammemded to mandate that all state and locsl law enforcement weapons be made “smart”.

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        +1…. I won’t accept the capability of any of those crap guns until the Secret Service, miltary, local law enforcement, and all the protective details of all the politicians in all of the US of A are using it….. then I may consider it for my bedside gun.

  2. avatar P-Dog says:

    We already have smart holsters and smart RFID safes. The need for a smart gun is not necessary.

    Also, if police agencies ever did feel the need to worry about a cop’s weapon used against them, that’s why magazine disconnects exist. Add a lanyard loop to the magazine basepad, and boom, a cop can pull hard on the loop, mag falls out, and trigger on his gun does nothing. All of those are simple mechanical fixes that are far cheaper and far more reliable.

    Smart guns are just another attempt at concern trolling from the disarmament enthusiast crowd. They don’t give a fig about kids getting access to guns — they just want to get rid of the guns period (well, for civilians anyhow).

  3. avatar FedUp says:

    And the ones with fingerprint scanners, what happens to those when you’re bleeding from the attack and really need to respond with decisive force immediately?

  4. avatar Aven says:

    If “smart” guns were mandated, there would be an immediate and lucrative market for hacks to whatever technology is used. It would be a very profitable business for crooks to take advantage of.

    If it was electronic, imagine the market the crooks would have to keep guns from working when they are about to be shot.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      DARPA would be selling ‘jamming’ devices to the DoD in minutes, which would mean that Jamming “blocker” devices would be on the market in minutes after that, AND CHINA, GOOGLE, INTUIT, ASSBOOK, LINKEDIN, SIRI. . . WOULD ALL HAVE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION ON YOUR FIREARMS AND YOUR WHEREABOUTS SECONDS AFTER THAT.

      Don’t say ‘they have it already’ because then we’ll just have to kill them all right now.
      /sarc probably

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        And then some silicon valley beta would come up with a “smart gun” thats immune to jamming, works everytime, doesnt require RFID or biomets, and is cheaper…. he would call it, not the “smart gun”, but simply the “gun”… wild right? /sarc/

  5. avatar Joe R. says:

    THE REAL DANGER WITH SMART GUNS IS:

    1) The people really pushing for them are communist MFrs wanting to strip you of all guns so that they can do globalistic tyranny with impunity;

    2) The people MAKING the technology are attempting to fill the fake need / void being pitched by the previously mentions MFrs.

    3) Even if the general premise was one of safety WHICH IT IS NOT, . . .
    THE FIRST ‘FAILURE’ OF THIS TECHNOLOGY WOULD NOT TRIGGER ANYTHING OTHER THAN A GREATER PUSH BY MORE MFrs TO BAN ALL GUNS.

    F em all.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Hear hear, Joe.

  6. avatar ironicatbest says:

    It probably wouldn’t take much electricity to run a smart gun, probably two leads in a potato would do it. You could carry the potato in your off hand, run the wires around the back of your neck, and down your arm, you’d be good to go. Once the barrel of the gun got hot enuff you could even fry the tator. It’s all good

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      I’m already told I appear to have a potato in my front pocket… I don’t want to carry an actual one.
      🤠

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        A potato or a julienne French fry?

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    Smart guns combine the biggest idiots who don’t know jack about firearms with the biggest idiots who don’t know jack about tech.

    Full semi-automatic + encryption back doors = smart guns.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  8. avatar New Continental Army says:

    A “smart gun” could literally start shooting on its own due to hacking, malfunctions, or by achieving its own intelligence and turning on its owners. This is a gun grabbers wet dream.

    1. avatar Gralnok says:

      It would be the first time a gun actually went off by itself. 😁

      1. avatar 16V says:

        It would be the first time a gun (that isn’t a Remington 700) actually went off by itself.

        Fixed it for you.

  9. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Unfortunately since NJ no longer counts as even a state to me.
    Its is its own country, along with Kalifornia.
    So the heck with its when the 1st gun crap is sold thing.
    I might buy a smart gun if and when the 1st large major city police force. Is forced to use one.
    Lets pick an arbitrary number of cops. Say 10K or more. NYPD or LA cops for example.
    If a cop isn’t killed by his gun failing to fire when needed. Lets give them a year. Im sure it will be sooner.
    Then you might see me NOT buy one.
    Besides a 22LR hardly qualifies as a duty weapon. Isnt that the last one that tried??
    Some German company was foisting a whopping 22LR on us??
    Anyway. The odds on anybody buying into a smart gun. Isnt very smart.

  10. avatar Gralnok says:

    None of the comments so far have detailed the fact that smart guns are actually, just guns with fickle safeties. There are YouTube videos of people disabling the systems and firing the guns with naught but strong magnets.

    Also, even if the gun has been programed for certain scenarios, like stated above, it still may not work right. Out of all the letters and words I’ve now tapped out onto my smartphone, just in this post alone, it failed to put down the right word or letter seven times.

    Given how fast and innacurate my finger is, I can easily see how a thumb or finger might miss the contact pad, adding precious seconds in a life threatening scenario. If some thug is trying to smash in your side window with a brick, you need your gun as fast as possible. Not to mention, what might happen if the batteries die or worse, explode.

    On the positive side, I will admit the gun does look futuristic and cool. Now, if only they made it in a real caliber and got rid of the techno garbage inside it.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      A strong magnet will get you instantly into many electronic safes, also open the vast majority of patrol-car shotgun/rifle locks.

      It’s truly amazing what you can get into with a neodymium hockey puck.

  11. avatar anonymous says:

    last night my wife and i almost fell off the couch when we saw the ‘latest’ in automotive safety. push a button and it assist the driver to drive straight, (as in passing between two other vehicles). if this is what the human race is becoming, i must be too old.

  12. avatar RevolverBoomBoom says:

    Redo the Vektor CP1, embed a compass or clock in the grip or have it tell you to buy more ammo every 100 bangs. Job done.

    Scum bag kids could hack BMW smart locks before the authorized mechanics eve got the service manuals in the mail but these will work.

  13. avatar billy-bob says:

    443 kids died from guns. How many kids died choking on grapes, marbles, or other things they crammed in their mouths? Bet the number was higher.

  14. avatar CTstooge says:

    I’m not ashamed to say it:
    My guns are dumb. I love my dumb guns.

  15. Smart guns are a fantastic idea. People in crappy states like California and New Jersey will be forced to buy them and the rest of American can laugh harder!

  16. avatar Gerald says:

    As a bit of a tinkerer and with a quick shopping spree on Adafruit and Amazon, I could render any radio based smart gun in the surrounding 100 feet inoperable at my will. Of course jamming of any kind is highly frowned upon by the FCC.

  17. avatar AlanInFL says:

    Can anyone tell what technology works 100% of the time?

  18. avatar Warlocc says:

    The concept of “smart guns” isn’t bad, and there are absolutely people they appeal to.

    Don’t be such luddites.

    The real problem is mandate laws, not the guns or the technology.

  19. avatar JW says:

    My favorite ‘smart’ gun

    http://calvinandhobbes.wikia.com/wiki/Computer

    Click on the image to see full cartoon

  20. avatar Gralnok says:

    I would like to amend my earlier post. I bought a Jennings J-22. It slamfired a round as I tried to get a round to chamber. The point being, if I want a good looking gun that doesn’t work right, I’d rather it be in as weak a caliber as possible so as to reduce possible harm when it inevitably malfunctions.

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