Smart guns are with us. Perhaps it was inevitable, perhaps it is a perverse joke but yes, a smart gun has finally arrived (after many years of development).
The first reaction is a sort of smile, twisted, despairing. The second is a sigh – has it really come to this?
Smart guns sum up what is wrong in the world. We see a (perceived) problem and we throw money and technology at it. By the way, the guys in Israel did not teach goldfish to drive. Goldfish swim to where they think food is.
The argument for smart guns is, on the face of it, pretty solid. The founder of one of the companies in the game had read one too many stories about kids finding guns and accidentally shooting someone. The ‘smart’ bit of the gun is linked to one user and will not fire for anyone else. So, it protects kids, police, maniacs and jail guards.
To use it, a user needs an app on his smartphone, a fingerprint reader and a PIN pad. So, that’s OK, when you need it in a hurry as the bad guy is about to bash your family member around the head and make off with the TV, you only have to find your phone, open your phone, find the app, open the app, touch your finger to the reader and enter your PIN number before shooting the guy.
Piece of cake. Work of a, well, minute or so. And so easy to remember under mortal stress.
The other good news (sorry, irony has set in big time) is that there is a fear that smart guns could be mandated by government.
Cop film are about to become really boring if that is true. Plus, police lives balance on a micro-second decision, not a multi-second process of unlocking stuff, presumably while giving chase to some dangerous perp.
The other great news is that, like anything connected to anything else, smart guns can be hacked. The only example so far, granted, is back in 2014, when a gun was hacked and fired in Germany.
Now, the sophistication of hackers will make mincemeat of any attempt at security when it comes to smart guns. International terrorists or state sponsored hit men and women will not need to smuggle guns across borders, just hack one when you arrive.
And, of course, you don’t need international terrorists or crime syndicates, just a 12 year old.
“Damnit, I can’t get the gun to sync with my phone.”
“Here, give it to me, Dad. I’ll do it. Ooh, look, you can have multiple users. Cool. There we are, all fixed.”
The thinking behind smart guns, as with many other ‘technological breakthroughs’ nowadays, is flawed.
If you want to avoid your kids accidentally shooting people, lock the gun away. If you want to protect the police or other law enforcement agencies, do not make it more complicated to use a weapon if needed.
If you want to keep guns as safe as possible, please do not connect them to the internet. Please.
As we know, with smart guns or anything else that is dangerous, it is the person responsible that is the real danger.
So start there if you want a solution.