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How ‘smart gun’ technology could change the future of gun control

Jan 7, 2013

Part of the plot of the new James Bond movie revolves around a special high-tech handgun Q creates for Bond that has a sensor in the grip that only allows it to be fired when it’s in Bond’s hands. At one point one of the villains gets his hands on the gun and tries to shoot our hero as he sits defenseless on the floor. Of course, the gun won’t shoot, and the villain promptly gets eaten by a couple Komodo dragons.

At his press conference after the Newtown massacre the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre insisted, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

But as James Bond illustrates here (isn’t Bond just full of life lessons) this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the good guy doesn’t have a gun. And in this case, a gun that won’t shoot in the hands of a bad guy is a pretty good defense.

The New York Times’ Nick Bilton points out today that this technology currently exists. “This is not Buck Rogers type of stuff,” says professor Robert Spitzer of SUNY Cortland.

After Newtown the national conversation about guns reached a particularly fevered vitriol about access—it became an all-or-nothing consideration about whether we should be allowed to have them. But what about just making them smarter? What about doing mandatory background checks on anyone who wants a gun and making it so that the only guns available will fire in the hands of certified “good guys”? Could we all agree on that?

Doesn’t sound like it.

Bilton notes that LaPierre has dismissed this idea—way back in 2002 LaPierre said, “Tragic victims couldn’t have been saved by trigger locks or magazine bans or ‘smart-gun’ technology.”

But the technology is here now-it’s not just in Bond movies. Again Bilton quotes Dr. Spitzer who says “The gun industry has no interest in making smart-guns. There is no incentive for them.” But you’d think they’d have an incentive if gun A) Gun customers started asking for them because they sound like a great idea or B) It was mandated because we all agreed that evolving gun technology into the future with smart-guns is a piece of gun control legislation we can all get behind.

So what do you think, gun owners? Are you on board with making all guns smart guns?

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