Thanks to technological innovations, firearms have come a long way since black powder muskets. In most cases, gun control proponents argue that these technological advances have made firearms more dangerous, using the current effectiveness of firearms such as semi-automatic rifles as evidence that firearms have become too powerful for the public to own.
However, there is one technological advance regarding firearms that most gun control proponents support whole-heartedly—smart gun technology. In this article, we’ll take a look at what smart gun technology is, its pros and cons, and whether or not it really is the answer to stopping gun violence.
What is Smart Gun Technology?
Smart gun technology is designed to prevent a firearm from being used by anyone but the firearm’s owner. There are a variety of different ways that this is accomplished, but one of the most popular methods is to install fingerprint sensors within the firearm’s grip. If anyone besides the person whose fingerprints the firearm is programmed to recognize tries to use the firearm it will not discharge.
In this way, smart gun technology is designed to prevent firearms from being accidentally discharged by children as well as prevent them from being used by a criminal who steals the firearm.
The Pros and Cons of Smart Gun Technology
Supporters of smart gun technology argue that requiring all firearms to be equipped with the technology would reduce gun deaths. While smart gun technology certainly has the potential to reduce some accidental and intentional gun deaths, this is not an entirely accurate assessment.
For one, even if all firearms were equipped with fingerprint sensors, nothing is stopping a would-be shooter from buying a firearm and programming it to their fingerprints just like anyone else. If there’s one thing that recent shootings have taught us it’s that most shooters would have been able to legally purchase a firearm if they wanted to, regardless of whether or not the firearm they used was in-fact their own. As for stopping accidental discharges of a firearm by small children, proper firearm storage is a much simpler solution.
There are also a few significant drawbacks of smart gun technology that need to be considered. For one, the technology is still not 100% reliable, meaning that a firearm equipped with smart gun technology could very well fail to discharge at a time when your life depends on it. Better technology may eventually be the answer to this dilemma, but, for now, one should hesitate to stake their life on the technology performing as it’s designed.
Another huge drawback is that a firearm equipped with fingerprint sensors can only be used by one person. If you want to let your buddy try out your gun at the range, teach your children how to shoot, or rely on a single firearm that can be used by anyone in your household during an emergency situation, smart gun technology becomes a significant obstacle. You also won’t be able to fire your gun if you are wearing gloves, or if your fingers are too sweaty, wet, or covered in blood.
The final drawback of smart gun technology is its expense. Building fingerprint-reading technology into a gun’s grip isn’t cheap, and it’ll raise the price tag of a firearm by a significant amount. If smart gun technology became a requirement, this could present a serious barrier to entry for people who may already struggle to afford a firearm as-is.
At American Gun News, we aren’t inherently opposed to smart gun technology. The technology does offer some promise for making firearms safer, and if a person wants to purchase a firearm equipped with smart gun technology then they should have every right to do so. What we are opposed to, though, is making smart gun technology a requirement for all new firearms. The drawbacks of the technology are simply too considerable to force it upon all gun owners.
This technology may very well be part of the answer for curbing gun deaths, and it’s certainly a more reasonable solution than making firearms illegal as most gun control proponents call for.
However, smart gun technology is not the magical answer to gun violence that some claim it to be. So long as the technology remains an option rather than becoming a requirement, it could be beneficial, but supporters of the Second Amendment should stand very strongly against making this flawed technology a requirement for firearm ownership.
~ American Gun News