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Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates 584

Posted by timothy
from the force-breeds-resistance dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes "When two gun stores attempted to sell the nation's first integrated smart gun, the iP1, gun advocacy groups were charged in media reports with organizing protests that lead to the stores pulling the guns from their shelves or reneging on their promise to sell them in the first place. But, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation say they do not oppose smart gun technology, which they call "authorized user recognition" firearms. "We do oppose any government mandate of this technology, however. The marketplace should decide," Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for the NSSF, wrote in an email reply to Computerworld. However, the argument for others goes that if stores begin selling smart guns, then legislators will draft laws requiring the technology."
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Gun Rights Groups Say They Don't Oppose Smart Guns, Just Mandates

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  • Police (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:44AM (#47046805)

    Once the police are happy enough with the technology to use it exclusively, then a mandate is appropriate.

    I'm not holding my breath.

  • by guacamole (24270) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:45AM (#47046817)

    No I don't. What do you propose? That all cars should also be "smart cars" which will not start without owners fingerprint for the sake of safety?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:49AM (#47046859)

    You, too, might be upset if the government legislated that all pacemakers run on a derivative of the Win9x kernel.

    Sure, if you want to buy a pacemaker running Win9x then I don't care because that doesn't interfere with my choice. However, when you start telling *me* my safety critical device has to have an unreliable technology incorporated into it, then damn right you are going to encounter my indignant resistance.

  • by plover (150551) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:49AM (#47046863) Homepage Journal

    If I were to buy a handgun for personal protection, I'd like to have the authorized user recognition technology so that the weapon couldn't be turned against me in a difficult situation. But I'd also not like it mandated. I might want a custom gun, I might want something that works with gloves, I might want something more reliable than a funky computer, I might want a non-crippled device for any number of reasons.

    But I want to make that choice for myself, weighing each instance.

    (Please note: I have never owned any guns, I am not a member of the NRA, I just happen to agree with them in this instance.)

  • by ShaunC (203807) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:50AM (#47046881)

    However, the argument for others goes that if stores begin selling smart guns, then legislators will draft laws requiring the technology.

    Let them pass the laws. A few days later, when headlines erupt about stolen "smart" guns being used in murders, or some cop getting killed because his "smart" gun wouldn't fire, the laws will go away soon enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:51AM (#47046885)

    My 1911 is perfectly safe when used in accordance with good firearms safety practices.

    This is no different that a car or a chainsaw or pool. Things of all sorts are dangerous in the hands of stupid people.

    How this is news to you is what I cannot understand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:52AM (#47046895)

    Funny how the most virulently anti-gun people tend to be the ones who know the least about 'em.

    The unknown is skeery.

  • by adric22 (413850) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:54AM (#47046929) Homepage

    And I have no problem with these smart guns for anyone who wants to buy one. In fact, I could see advantages for these guns under certain circumstances if I was in situations where there was a risk my gun would be taken away from me in a struggle. However, personally I would not want one of these. The main reason being that it is another point of possible failure or breakdown that could keep my gun from firing in the event I need to use it. When people need to use a gun in self-defense they usually have less than a second to make that decision and pull the trigger. THere is no time to be fiddling with some gizmo or something that might prevent the gun from firing.

  • by Tyndmyr (811713) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:54AM (#47046935)
    Hitting pedestrians is pretty much this, yes. However, like with firearms, the vast majority of people have little interest in killing random folks.
  • Proposal - (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:56AM (#47046957)

    A federal law stating - that the civilian authorities of any given city or state, be subject to the same firearm restrictions, as the civilians themselves. Yes, including the SWAT, and special response teams. Magazine limits, smart guns, etc. After all, if it is OK, for the average citizen to be subject to proposed restrictions, the the police forces should be governed by the same restrictions.

  • by Noishkel (3464121) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:57AM (#47046975)

    Don't forget New Jersey passed it's mandate before the technology had even been invented as a functional device. When it was passed it was merely a concept. Beyond that we don't even know how well the technology behind that Armatrex pistol is going to work out. The pistol in question itself is COMPLETELY ill suited for personal defense purposes. Being .22 LR, a round known for piss poor performance and reliably.

    You could easily consider this as just kind of a test bed for future proper defensive arms. And we don't really know just how many ways this equipment might be up having points of failure. I personally imagine that it will be a good decade before any gun maker will consider offering this technology in a significant portion of their wares. We, as people of the gun, prefer things that we know will WORK. Reliability. Is. Critical. Case in point the 1911 is one of the biggest selling handguns on the market. A design invented in... 1911. Over a century old.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:58AM (#47046985)

    You already have this special secure token that lets you start your vehicle, and by willingly handing that token over to another person you are assumed to have taken some degree of legal responsibility for what they do with said vehicle.

    It's called a key.

  • Look at your post. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:03PM (#47047047)

    if gun fondlers ...

    And I'm sure that you believe yourself to be a rational person.

    Yet you could not stop yourself from including denigrating language in a post complaining about the behaviour of others.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:08PM (#47047097) Homepage Journal

    However, the argument for others goes that if stores begin selling smart guns, then legislators will draft laws requiring the technology.

    Let them pass the laws. A few days later, when headlines erupt about stolen "smart" guns being used in murders, or some cop getting killed because his "smart" gun wouldn't fire, the laws will go away soon enough.

    Everything I've seen on the topic, legislation included, always says that LEO guns will default to fire rather than safe, whereas civilian weapons would be required to default to safe.

    Which is a big part of the reason why a lot of folks are against the idea of a "smart" gun mandate.

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:13PM (#47047151) Homepage Journal

    Did anyone really think that pro-gun groups would oppose manufacturers giving people the option of buying guns with additional safety devices?

    What's really going on is that pro-gun groups are pretty certain (with good reason!) that these smart guns don't work reliably, and likely never will. Plus there's some concern about backdoors that might allow the guns to be deliberately disabled, which could enable smart gun mandates to easily turn into forcible disarmament.

    But, given a smart gun that actually works, is very, very close to 100% reliable (meaning it almost never fails to recognize its authorized user, mostly), and isn't subject to control by third parties, I'm sure there would be a great market for them. I'd definitely buy one. I train a little from time to time in techniques for protecting my gun from being taken from me, and while I have considerable confidence in my ability to retain control of my gun, I'd love to have an additional technological backstop.

    But it's very unlikely they'll ever be sufficiently reliable. So my response has been from the beginning: Let me know when all of the police forces have adopted them and love them, since cops are at considerable risk of being shot with their own guns. When police are confident that the reliability is high enough they want to carry them, then I'll be interested in looking at the possibility myself.

    Mandates, however, make no sense. Build good enough technology and people will buy them. If that's not possible, then mandates are obviously going to meet with stiff resistance.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:17PM (#47047201) Homepage

    They are not "required".

    They are required to be part of a civilized insurance policy.

    That's a subtle difference that you're glossing over there.

    Companies are "forced" to pay for your triple bypass or lung cancer treatment too.

  • by pr0fessor (1940368) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:20PM (#47047251)

    I'm not a gun owner either and not a member of any gun related organizations.

    I agree the technology sounds useful but mandating a technology that is unproven and not likely to have an impact... I have no idea what the statistics for are for a person being shot by an assailant with their own gun are but I'm sure it's really low. Gun locks are not intended to keep a burglar from using your own gun against you, they are intended to keep accidental discharges from happening and unauthorized users like kids from playing with them.

    As for theft, gunlocks or any other system can be circumvented.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:21PM (#47047265)

    The rest are shooting at human silhouettes, basically fantasizing about shooting people. It's really sick.

    And here, I see another person who is fantasizing that other people want to be murderers. It's really sick.

    If you can't draw a moral distinction between murder and self defense, then I sure you never vote and absolutely never serve on a jury.

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:28PM (#47047353)

    They are required to be part of a civilized insurance policy.

    Yes, it's mandatory that a single male in the USA is REQUIRED to carry insurance that will pay for contraceptives.

    So, what's "civilized" about requiring people who can't use the Pill to pay for insurance providing subsidized access to the Pill?

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:30PM (#47047371) Homepage Journal

    The rape threats, the murder threats, the wildly violent language...

    What's interesting to me is that in online conversations about gun control, it's generally the anti-gun people who use such language. Not always, of course, but the overwhelming majority of violent language comes from those who want to restrict rights.

    What's even more common from anti-gun people, of course, is ridicule, particularly of forms that imply sexual attachment to guns, or that guns are a mechanism for compensating for sexual deficiency, as though that has any relevance whatsoever. I suppose it's a way to deride the opposing position when you don't have any real arguments to make.

    if gun fondlers

    Yeah. Like that, though you at least veiled it a bit more than most.

    need to be culled from the herd

    And I see you did take the next step, proposing violence. Though, again, a bit more veiled than most. My experience of similar discussions makes me sure that if we debated a bit you'd eventually slide into clear calls for violent murder of gun owners, or at least someone else espousing your position would -- and odds are that none of the gun owners in the discussion would do anything like that.

    Thank you for making my point so clearly.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:31PM (#47047377)

    if the gun literally didn't work half the days out of the year, you would be saving 250 lives at the cost of 25, before you count accidents

    Though you're (deliberately, of course) not counting the thousands and thousands of cases each year where defensive brandishment stops an attack. That number hugely exceeds the number of deaths by any method. I'd be more than happy to fetch out a handgun in such a situation, but would not be happy to find that it can't ultimately work because I've got gloves on, or my fingertips are dirty, or a battery is low, or it's too cold out, or I forgot my magic bracelet. Or it happens to be my wife's gun, since her's was handier than mine.

  • by digsbo (1292334) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:35PM (#47047431)
    Few mature libertarians argue that free markets are perfect. Free markets exchange one set of problems caused by government and regulation for another set of problems that people can choose to deal with (or not) through personal responsibility and voluntary cooperation. Human problems exist in both cases, but libertarians tend to prefer personal choice as a response. Painting libertarians as utopians is probably only accurate as far as the college campus goes.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:41PM (#47047515)

    I find it rather surprising, but generally it is a position based almost entirely on fear, and not on fact. They may well be people who are generally rational in their life, but when it comes to this issue fear and propaganda motivate their position, not facts and logic. They want guns banned because they are scared of them, not because they've done any research and concluded it would make things safer.

    You can clearly see it in the grandparent post. Not only the name calling, but the complete detachment from the reality of things. The fact that he believes that a small group of crazies are synonymous with the greater gun owning population. Same deal with how people will generalize the nut jobs at the Cliven Bundy ranch to be the greater gun owning populace.

    None stop to think that around 40-50% of all households own a gun in the US, meaning that you know someone who owns a gun, even if you don't know it, and that if that behaviour and thought were the norm for gun owners it would be rampant rather than aberrant.

    They are the same as people who will point the finger at religious or environmental extremists and declare that all people of that religion or viewpoint must be extremists and scary.

    It is sad, because an informed debate on gun control could be very useful, but it is really hard to have when so much of the "control" side is actually wanting a ban and the reason they want it is fear, not logic. They don't do any research, except maybe to try and look up numbers that support their view. They don't want information, since emotion is the driving factor.

    Hence, name calling, scare rhetoric, and so on.

  • Re:Proposal - (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcochran (309950) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:41PM (#47047517)

    Didn't pay a whole lotta attention to the constitution and the culture at the time. I'll tell you in nice simple words.

    At the time the constitution was written and the 2nd amendment passed, that allowed the common citizen to have the exact same weaponry as the military of the era.
    Gun? Sure thing.
    Cannon? Yup. That too.
    Warship? If you can afford it, go for it.

    Hmm... Sounds like the police having the same restrictions as random people, including criminals to me. You might want to study up on history again.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki&cox,net> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:43PM (#47047533)

    This is a bizarre argument that is extra-constitutional.

    The exact text of the 2nd amendment is,

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

    What's funny is that the constitution has some pretty clear rules about what to do in cases of insurrection and treason.

    Hint: The event that lead to the drafting of the constitution WAS insurrection against the US Government that was founded under the Articles of Confederation.

    The idea that a person might have to be shown to be mentally competent and capable of owning and being responsible for a firearm isn't radical. It isn't even controversial outside of the gun nut circles. Even among mainstream GUN OWNERS, it's non-controversial.

    Yet, it's these damned gun fetishists who are driving the gun policy and gun debate in this country. That's the problem. It's not the vast majority of people who own guns and are responsible, it's this lopsided minority that are willing to take up arms against federal officers to protect a guy who's freeloading off of federal lands or people who are extremely armed and vocal about their guns.

  • Re:Police (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:49PM (#47047591)

    That just means that the technology is practical for everyday use. That doesn't mean a mandate is appropriate, however. Given why the guns are even allowed in the first place, and considering recent cybersecurity issues, requiring government-mandated software be installed on all guns seems like a bad idea to me.

  • Re:Police (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:57PM (#47047711)

    So far nearly every attempt to mandate 'smart gun' tech has specifically excluded police and other government personnel. Only 'mere' citizens would be forced to purchase and use firearms with this tech.

    Mandating it for police (and in a way _especially_ for 'other' government agency use) and requiring the _exact_ same tech as the civilian market, not some special less restricted variant would go a long way to reducing the opposition. Also making damn sure there's no "law enforcement override" back door as has been floated for cars.

    IMO only the military and maybe the on duty protection details of the Secret Service should be excluded from the mandate before civilian number one is imposed on. All the various agencies' militarized SWAT-like teams get smart guns and nothing but smart guns before Joe or Jane Citizen has to.

  • by MillerHighLife21 (876240) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @01:36PM (#47048135) Homepage

    An unfired gun is the best defensive weapon that exists. The threat of death is the defensive deterrent. Actually firing is the last resort.

    If a gang of 10 people are advancing on somebody and the target pulls a gun, all 10 people stop advancing or run away. If you have a taser or stun gun, you're a non-lethal threat to one of them...and you get one shot. Pepper spray is largely in the same boat (plus you have to account for wind). In both scenarios, you have to wonder if the battery has run out or the spray has expired depending on how long you've carried it.

    Bullets last pretty much forever. The device is mechanical and has no dependence on a battery. As a defensive weapon it provides the greatest threat to an attacker and the highest degree of reliability to the carrier for those reasons. The second you start shooting it becomes every man for himself.

    Up until you shoot, simply brandishing the weapon is an active deterrent without any need to fire. Brandishing a gun is actually considered assault for that reason. People often forget that when talking about concealed carry. It's as if people imagine that the idea is to tote it around so you can relish the opportunity to shoot somebody. I know many people who are not willing to pull the trigger that will carry an unloaded gun just so that they can pull it out in an emergency to diffuse the situation if they need to.

    Additionally, when somebody takes a gun to commit a crime or kill somebody, they have every intention of pulling the trigger and are guaranteed to be armed. When somebody is attacked there is a much lower chance of those people being armed and/or able to retaliate so of course those statistics will be skewed.

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