Are you having a boring day and want to get everyone you know worked up in a hurry?  Or maybe you want to cause a fight at the company picnic? Just talk about gun control. All over social media, and even in real life too, there are numerous arguments about guns and what to do about them. It goes without saying that there has been an enormous amount of violence lately all over the news. Whether it be some psycho shooting up a school, or some religious zealot blowing people away in their break room at work, people are dying at the hands of guns, way more than ever before. Rightfully so, a lot of people are concerned.

So what to do about it? Outlaw guns? Not going to happen. Why even talk about it? America loves its guns, and the NRA is powerful.

We could always do more strict background checks. Well, as long as criminals exist, that isn’t going to do much about anything. Citizens are going to get guns, no matter what the government tries to do about it; supply and demand.

What about smart guns then? What about a weapon that can only be fired by the person that bought it? In theory if you combine a smart gun with good solid background checks it could do a lot to save lives.

Smart Guns Debated

There is a bit of a problem though. No one can agree if they are a good thing or not.  The individuals that want smart guns tend to be ultra liberals that would never buy a gun in any circumstance, and those that actually own guns or want to buy them don’t want any piece of a smart gun at all.

The average person just knows of smart guns from the James Bond movie named Skyfall, in which he gets a  weapon made to prevent anyone but him from firing it.  I mean how cool would that be, right? But isn’t that just something out of a movie?

Well, it could happen.  Makers and proponents of Smart Guns are using biometrics and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to make sure that only an authorized user can fire the weapon. How does this stop someone from going on a killing spree? Well, we aren’t sure, but like many other things, it seems this will be figured out later.

Proponents of gun control  have been pushing smart gun technology as part of the solution to  gun deaths.  Obama got into the act in January when he made a speech encouraging research on smart guns.

 Of course the NRA doesn’t want any part of this idea. They say that smart guns represent a potential violation of their second amendment rights. They also worry that everyone that owns a gun will be forced to have smart guns, and say they could fail at a critical time, which I guess is when you want to shoot someone. They also say that most guns are legally obtained in the first place, so what is a smart gun supposed to do to stop someone anyway?  

Those who don’t dig guns say that smart guns are needed to lessen accidental shootings that often happen in the home, to help stop school shootings, and to keep psychos from stealing cops guns and using it on them.

How Smart are Smart Guns?

How smart are smart guns? Well that depends on who you ask.

Smart guns are equipped with RFID technology, which means they can’t fire unless they are close to the RFID tag that is assigned to it.  How does this work in practice? Well, you can attach an RFID tag to just about anything. They are already being used in in automobiles, pharmaceuticals, and livestock. among many other things. Of course there are concerns with this type of thing. What if someone just hacks your tag and disables your gun?

So how would this work in the real world? One brand of smart gun operates by having the shooter wear a watch which has an active RFID tag. In order to activate the gun, you have to enter a code into the watch. While this may sound cool in theory, if you are being attacked by a mugger in an alley, typing a code into your watch so you could use your gun is probably not going to work out all that great. Other methods require the potential shooter to be wearing a ring, in which the active RFID tag would reside.

Of course there are other options other than RFID. These are smart guns after all, so they need to step up their games in a big way.  A company called Intelligun  uses fingerprints to make sure you, and only you, are going to get to shoot a guy in the face with your gun. They claim a failure rate of just 1 in 10,0000.  These things can be hacked too though. Hackers can put finger casts on with the gun owners print. Why would anyone bother? Well, if you wanted to frame someone for murder, using their own fingerprinted smart gun would be the best way to go.

There are other models that use something called dynamic biometrics, which basically has to do with the amount of pressure that you put on the trigger when you pull on it. Smart huh? Well maybe, who knows?  Because you are just dealing with pressure here, the user can still still use this gun while wearing gloves which is good news for all you armed burglars out there.

Well, it is a pretty easy joke to make but are smart guns smart, or are they dumb? That really all depends on what side of the fence you stand on. Are guns something that we need as citizens to protect ourselves? Or are the individuals that own guns the ones that we need protection from?

There is no doubt that with the current technology, smart guns will make it more difficult for the person in control of a gun to blow someone’s head off. For some that is a good thing, and to others, not so much.