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NYPD Developing Portable Body Scanner For Detecting Guns 575

Zothecula writes "You have to feel sorry for the police officers who are required to frisk people for guns or knives — after all, if someone who doesn't want to be arrested is carrying a lethal weapon, the last thing most of us would want to do is get close enough to that person to touch them. That's why the New York Police Department teamed up with the United States Department of Defense three years ago, and began developing a portable scanner that can remotely detect the presence of a gun on a person's body. The NYPD announced the project this week."
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NYPD Developing Portable Body Scanner For Detecting Guns

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  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:58PM (#38750154) Homepage Journal

    I have four knives on me right now. This is what I carry with me on a daily basis give or take. Three of them are Leatherman brand, but none are the traditional multi-pliar, I find having the tools spread across multiple devices better as a tech for various reasons.

    I first fired a shotgun at the age of five. At six my dad handed one to carry with me when we were out quail hunting.

    New York, like Chicago, Great Britian, and many other places too much fear in the tool and not enough effort into education, trust and tollerance.

    The reason I could carry a shotgun at the age of six is my dad took me out at the age of four, shot some rabbits and explained death and danger to me. He taught me to respect the tools that guns are. When I was seven he gave me a pocket knife and expected me to carry it as it is one of the most ancient, practical and useful tools known. I got in trouble if I didn't have it on me when he asked. I often didn't have it on me because the school system had the same mentality as NYPD and I knew better than to got with my dads logic, which I considered supperior.

    In an urban setting, guns are like fire extinquishers. They're something you hope you never need, but you should have one around anyways. In a rural setting they're a meal ticket, something to protect your livestock with, and occasionally a form of entertainment - when used responsibly.

    When everyones armed the random individual who wishes to victimize others has less power to do so. Things like this scanner empowers criminals as it prevents otherwise law abiding citizens from carrying their tools of protection.

  • by danbuter ( 2019760 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @01:58PM (#38750168)
    I'm sure they won't abuse these items by just randomly scanning pedestrians. After all, they uphold the law!
  • by ElmoGonzo ( 627753 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:01PM (#38750220)
    All that matters is that people on the street THINK that every cop has one that does work.
  • Re:My oh my ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:04PM (#38750278)
    What an appropriate place to say this. What happens when the police get a false positive?

    But seriously.
  • by Azuaron ( 1480137 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:06PM (#38750302)

    They're not talking about scanning random people on the street and taking their guns. They're talking about scanning arrestees instead of frisking them. If you're getting frisked, we're no longer talking about "law abiding citizens".

    Granted, they certainly could use this device to scan random people. But that's an unconstitutional search which the Supreme Court would slap the Hell out of. Remember: fear the people, not the tool.

  • by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:10PM (#38750340)

    There is no legitimate reason for a normal person to carry a gun in New York.

  • by GungaDan ( 195739 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:11PM (#38750356) Homepage

    If they're only talking about scanning people they arrest, why do they want the capability to scan from over 80 feet away?

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:11PM (#38750360) Homepage Journal

    Oh, surprise. A gun owner who jumps to the wrong conclusion as an excuse to go on about guns. Naturally using anecdotes to show how safe they are.

    I'm shocked I tell you, shocked.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:11PM (#38750368) Homepage Journal

    Have you been paying attention to what's going on with the TSA? They're expanding like a cancer and the constitution doesn't seem to matter. [] The Second American Revolution will be started in response to the TSA and the fact they allowed to operate without restraint. They're moving onto public streets in some places.

    Random scans are coming if they don't get shut down.

  • by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:14PM (#38750414)

    And give a blurry image of it.

    Or any other object that blocks the normal IR radiation from the body.

    "Your honor, we had probable cause to search the individual because we thought that vague rectangular outline in his pocket was a gun. Our bad. It was a cell phone with a metal case. But, we did find the joint in his backpack during the search that we only did to ensure our own safety."

  • by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:17PM (#38750466)

    Granted, they certainly could use this device to scan random people. But that's an unconstitutional search which the Supreme Court would slap the Hell out of.

    My milk came out of my nose. Mod funny +5.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:18PM (#38750502) Homepage Journal

    Please, place a huge sign on your front door that says "No guns here, and they're not welcome."

    Guns are by no means the most dangerous thing I'm around on a regular basis. I would qualify that 2005 Saturn out in the parking lot as a much bigger danger to me than my rifles and pistols, I'm much more likely to die from it. I also work around high voltages on a regular basis, and I'm not talking 115 AC.

    My guns and knives may not the be the safest things I own, but they're far from the most dangerous thing I'm around regularly. When it comes to my other tools I'm more afraid of my circular saw than I am my guns.

  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:20PM (#38750544)

    They're not talking about scanning random people on the street and taking their guns.

    Meh.. give it a couple years.

  • on the other hand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:23PM (#38750586) Homepage
    "you have to feel sorry for the police officers who are required to frisk people for guns or knives"

    No, i dont. thats their job. I have to feel sorry for an author so desparate to spin the idea of shredding my constitutional freedoms that hes resorting to an empathetic appeal to "my fellow man."
    nothing stops gangs and crime like a job. this perpetual incarceration model where once released a felon is bankrupt, banned from food stamps, and legally unemployable is whats virtually guaranteed america will enjoy some of the highest violent crime rates in the first world. developing the ways and means to catch the bad guy do nothing if you arent willing to address the heart of the matter.
  • by Brain-Fu ( 1274756 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:23PM (#38750602) Homepage Journal

    who are you hunting on a plane?

    Terrorists! If all (or most) passengers were armed, there is no way a terrorist would be able to hijack the plane. In fact, I think, for safety, we should require all adult passengers to carry loaded guns when they board the plane. We can keep a supply of rentals at every airport.

    Ok, I jest. I agree that passengers shouldn't have guns on the plane. However, the TSA's methods of preventing that are way beyond reasonable. We can keep safety within acceptable tolerances without sexually assaulting passengers and giving them cancer.

    Like, locking the cabin door. That change did more for airplane security than the entire TSA. Metal detectors are sufficient for finding guns or knives, and sniffer dogs are fine for finding bombs. These levels of security would be more effective than what the TSA does now, far less intrusive/harmful to the passengers, and would save the taxpayers a fortune.

    But they wouldn't make Michael Chertoff even richer than he already is, so they are not acceptable.

  • In DRED SCOTT v. SANDFORD, 60 U.S. 393 (1856), when discussing why black can't be considered citzens, the Supreme Court listed some common rights they would have:

    It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.

    More guns in honest hands == less crime and fewer deaths

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:27PM (#38750692) Homepage Journal

    If you're getting frisked, we're no longer talking about "law abiding citizens".

    Right. Because police accusation means you abandon presumption of innocence.

    Taken to it's logical extension, you advocate suspicion==conviction. You may be a "psychologist", but your also a Nazi. Godwin be damned to hell!

  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:28PM (#38750698)
    You seriously think that even one cop isn't going to use this tool illegally? You sound like a teenage girl who hands out her passwords as a sign of intimacy.

    The way this tool will be used is simple. The cop will scan random people. If an item the cop disapproves of (even if it is legal) shows up, the cop will approach the person for questioning "because they behaved suspiciously". After a few questions, the cop will claim "probable cause", and move forward from there. At no time will the use of the scanner be claimed as the reason for the confrontation.

    The only way that these devices should even be considered is if they log every time they are used, the police are required to give an explanation prior to it's use, and the logs are in a read only environment that has no mechanism for the police department to tamper with the data. A simple audio recorder that time stamps the event and lets the cop say "Making arrest on 4th st." into the device before it will scan should be enough to keep cops from abusing this.
  • by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:36PM (#38750838)

    There are laws in place that restrict where and when it is appropriate to restrict your constitutional right to bear arms. Just like there are times when laws restrict your right to free speech. I am not saying that it should be illegal to have a gun in New York but that for 99.99% of New Yorkers there is no good reason to do so.

    Not sure how saying you shouldn't do something means that you aren't allowed to.

  • Re:My oh my ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tmosley ( 996283 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:40PM (#38750930)
    The same thing that happens if they don't have a gun.

    They die of cancer.
  • by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:43PM (#38750982)

    Guns are for hunting - who are you hunting on a plane?

    There's nothing in the 2nd Amendment or the Constitution about hunting.

  • by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @02:53PM (#38751180)
    People should not have a gun on a plane. Quarters are far too close to fire. Had someone on one of the planes had a handgun, do you fire at a terrorist 20 or 30 feet from you with passengers to the left and right of the terrorist less than 2 feet from? Take a chance on a bullet going through the cockpit into the pilot or other flight crew? Or how about missing them and damaging flight gear? Say the landing gear.

    1 Federal agent with a weapon is plenty on a flight. Not every citizen needs one on a plane.

    Before you go crying that I'm an anti-gun person. I've held a concealed carry permit for the last 20 years.
  • by SuhlScroll ( 925963 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:07PM (#38751428)
    Fact: all my guns are safer than a car driven by Teddy Kennedy (or even a less lecherous drunk).

    Guns are tools like any other; it's the people who make them dangerous or not ... but I'm sure you've heard that before (because it's true).
  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:07PM (#38751434)

    Now if only there was a way to tell honest hands from dishonest ones. And I'm not just talking about criminals. I'm talking about John Doe thinking he's John McClane and shooting at a fleeing mugger and whoops! one bullet missed and struck a bystander two blocks away and now that mother of three will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, but hey, at least Mr. Doe got to keep the forty bucks in his wallet. At least until the muggers wise up and realize that they need to shoot first and take the money off the corpse.

    Guns have their uses, and I fully support them being legal, but as a personal defense system, especially in the city, they are awful.

  • by dbet ( 1607261 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:08PM (#38751446)
    Sounds great until you realize that everyone they consider suspicious just happens to be black. And even though they weren't doing anything wrong, they end up arrested for resisting arrest (and no other charge).

    Random stops are NOT okay.
  • nothing new in NYC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:09PM (#38751450) Journal

    Sadly this is nothing new in NYC; they have been doing stop and frisks [] for years. I wonder what happens when they deploy this technology and find a firearm on someone who is licensed to carry one? There are actually people who hold such licenses in NYC; given the extreme anti-gun attitude of the NYPD they'll probably wind up looking at the wrong end of a Glock and discovering the wonders of face meeting asphalt. That's if they are lucky; if they aren't they'll wind up being shot 40 times [] as they reach for their drivers license/pistol permit.

  • by Brain-Fu ( 1274756 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:27PM (#38751738) Homepage Journal

    This will absolutely be abused, starting on day 1. In fact, the abusive possibilities are far more likely to be the driving reason for development of this tech. The line about not wanting to frisk arrestees is just PR to win hearts and minds.

    People who have permits to carry concealed weapons can expect to be needlessly hassled and targeted more than they already are.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:48PM (#38752012) Homepage Journal

    If you get questioned and you are innocent you lose 5 minutes of your time.

    You should never, under any circumstances, talk to the police; this is why. [] Summarized: there is no such thing as an innocent person to a cop, only criminals who haven't turned themselves in yet.

    If the police doesn't question a suspicious person they risk letting a criminal off the hook.

    Untrue: First off, 'suspicious' is subjective; judging from personal experience, a teenager with long hair and a guitar case is considered 'suspicious,' even if he has done nothing illegal.

    Secondly, unless a person has been reported for or is in the process of committing a crime, they are not criminals. Traveling in any fashion, whilst looking a certain way, is not a crime. Google 'DWB' [] to see my point.

    Policemen are not mindreaders, they can't decide for sure who is guilty just by looking at them.

    Exactly; it is not their duty to judge who is guilty and who is not, because they are not judges. Oh, and FYI, no one can decide who's guilty by cursory glance. Expecting anyone to be able to do so shows a great amount of ignorance regarding the legal system, as well as human nature in general.

    Expecting them to only stop criminals is unreasonable.

    No it's not, that's their JOB . Just like determining whether the accused is guilty or not is the JOB of judges and juries. See previous point regarding ignorance of the legal system.

    You see, those few minutes you spent answering some questions helped the police and made your neighbourhood a safer place. Being infuriated over that is just selfish.

    No; what's selfish is expecting the police to make you feel all warm and fuzzy by harassing every person in an x block radius and violating their civil rights, because according to you, everyone in your neighborhood (except you, of course), is a potential threat. Newsflash: You ain't that important, and your stuff ain't that great.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @03:56PM (#38752114) Homepage Journal

    9th and 10th seem to apply. The lack of something being in the Constitution prevents the feds from regulating it in theory, but as so many have said we really don't have a Constitution anymore.

  • by ppetrakis ( 51087 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:03PM (#38752176) Homepage

    You clearly have never fired a gun or have any idea of what the self-defense laws look like in the U.S. Even with Castle Doctrine laws, you are only authorized to use force if you are in imminent target of lethal or non-lethal force. Shooting people in the back as they take off with someone else's property is completely unjustified, as you not in danger. Before you continue dramatically dreaming up events to justify your philosophy, think about the hard working, law abiding citizen, who is just about to lose everything he ever will be (his life) from not complying with the muggers demands vs bankrupting his future defending his life in court. []

    Stuff like this should never happen, had that lawyer not stepped in to defend this man for free he would be bankrupt, and perhaps worse, plead out to a lesser crime. All because he refused to turn his back on a man with a knife.

    You don't appear to be aware that the SCOTUS ruling where the police are in fact not responsible for your
    personal safety. []

    In the end, who was really responsible for the lives of those 3 children? Now dead. The mother who wasn't keeping an eye
    on them, or the police who failed to enforce the restraining order on the estranged husband in a timely matter?

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @04:03PM (#38752188) Homepage

    I can't imagine any sane person thinks preventing guns on plans is a bad thing.

    No, a sane person knows that:
    a) Penetration testers regularly get guns past the TSA
    b) Guns/knives aren't very useful to terrorists since they started locking the cockpit door.
    c) If a person pulls out a gun on a plane he's instantly going to be jumped by the other passengers.
    d) If a person does something bad on a plane he's got no escape route. When it lands there'll be a whole bunch of people with M16s waiting for him. You'd have to be a complete idiot to try anything on a plane. Even a suicidal crazy only has a small chance of success (see point c).

    So...what's the incentive for people to try to commit gun crimes on a plane? What sort of crime can they even commit? Robbery? Mugging?

    Having armed people on a 'plane is really no dangerous than, say, having armed people in a restaurant. Driving to the airport is probably more risky than allowing guns on planes.

    America needs to get it out of their collective skulls that airports are somehow special places which need massive extra protection. All you need is old fashioned metal detectors (with sensible policies for people who forget to check in their weapons) and smart, well trained people watching for troublemakers in the queues. More than that is counter-productive.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:45PM (#38753514) Journal
    The simple fact is you could end the treat of plane hijackings tomorrow without all this bullshit. You want to ensure that planes will NEVER be hijacked in the USA again? put a pair of USMC MPs with sidearms between the passengers and the door. USAF and US ARMY MPs work just as well in a pinch, and by having a pair of them that takes care of the "ZOMFG what happens if they snap?" somebody always ends up posting. Frankly I'd trust them over these TSA goons any day of the week and twice on Sunday because they volunteered because they love their country NOT because they wanted to get a check for being part of a goon squad. And i'd love to see some punk who thinks he can just waltz up to a couple of MPs and get in their faces and not end up hogtied so damned fast it would make their head swim. But of course that wouldn't let Senator Porkus and Congressman Kickbakman "bring home the bacon" with extra goon squad jobs for their district so it'll never happen.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley