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Smart Guns To Stop Mass Killings 1388

New submitter Bugs42 writes " has an opinion piece on the possibility of cramming guns full of computers and sensors to disable them in certain buildings or around children. The author, in true mainstream media fashion, completely fails to see any possible technical problems with this. Quoting: 'How might this work? Start with locational "self-awareness." Guns should know where they are and if another gun is nearby. Global positioning systems can meet most of the need, refining a gun's location to the building level, even within buildings. Control of the gun would remain in the hand of the person carrying it, but the ability to fire multiple shots in crowded areas or when no other guns are present would be limited by software that understands where the gun is being used. Guns should also be designed to sense where they are being aimed. Artificial vision and optical sensing technology can be adapted from military and medical communities. Sensory data can be used by built-in software to disable firing if the gun is pointed at a child or someone holding a child."
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Smart Guns To Stop Mass Killings

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  • by bitt3n ( 941736 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:15PM (#42535311)

    If we're really going to solve this problem, guns should have captcha-like technology, determining that the wielder retains the capacity for empathy before he can fire it.

    As soon as he removes the safety, the gun should pose a simple question, such as "You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that?"

  • by BillCable ( 1464383 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:20PM (#42535403)
    None would also be a very wrong guesstimate. This happened just last month: [] Apologies for the very political news source... it was the first match on Google.
  • Re:Please... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tombeard ( 126886 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:29PM (#42535639) []

    Note she fired 6 times, hit him 5, and he ran off when she bluffed about having more ammunition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:37PM (#42535817)

    This argument baffles me in a modern context.

    Say that the US government was tyrannical and dictatorial, so the majority of the US poulation decides it's time to kick them out using force. The situation is probably going to go down in one of three ways:

    A) The majority of the US armed forces agree with the civvies. Professionally trained and supported troops, armoured vehicles, helicopters, jets and ships blow the crap out of the government. Problem solved, civvies with rifles not needed.

    B) The majority of the US armed forces side with the government. Civvies armed with handguns, shotguns and rifles with little to no training or experience take on professionally trained and armed troops, armoured vehicles, helicopters, jets and ships. Civvies most likely get massacred (good luck taking on that MBT or Apache gunship with your AR15): armed civillians ultimately pointless.

    C) US armed forces split between government and "rebels". Govt. and rebel armies clash, using whatever professionally armed and trained troops and vehicles they kept hold of. Civvies on either side likely to be fairly useless and possibly even get in the way of the professional troops, let alone the MBTs and gunships.

    The entire deal with the Arab spring nations shows that armed civillian forces struggle in a fight against even non-modern Middle Eastern governments without some sort of externally enforced no-fly zone. What do US civvies expect to be able to do against one of the biggest, the best funded and most technologically advanced army on the planet? It might have been different in the times of the revolution when government forces weren't disproportionately better equipped and took weeks to march from one end of the nation to the other, but that's not what the US armed forces are today.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:44PM (#42535967) Journal

    A) The longer civilians can hold out without the military, the more likely it is the military will switch sides.

    B) You ignore the trouble the US military has had dealing with insurgents over the past decade.

    C) See the first American Revolution. Hunters and trappers fought side by side with trained military, and Washington was able to capitalizeon both of their strengths.

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:02PM (#42536363)

    I seem to recall hearing about a study regarding the color pink. The researchers found that taking an aggravated individual and placing them in a pink room had a calming effect over the course of the first fifteen minutes on average, but that after that the effect reversed and quickly led to increased levels of aggravation and irritation. I hardly think that's the sort of thing we want to be encouraging among gun wielders.

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:35PM (#42537007)

    They may disarm the citizen, but I doubt even obtaining the weapon makes him more dangerous. All these guys come loaded for bear anyway, it's not like one extra gun is going to make them feel better when they already have three.

  • Oblig Chris Rock (Score:3, Interesting)

    by seven of five ( 578993 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @05:01PM (#42537471)
    Charge $5000 for a bullet []

    The whole problem is economic: gun owners/makers shift the cost of fatalities/injuries to the general public. If they paid into an insurance fund that paid millions to victims, there'd be a lot less complaining.
  • by isorox ( 205688 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @05:46PM (#42538177) Homepage Journal

    The only lack of intelligence is on your part.

    Let's say you're a 75 year old woman, weigh maybe 90 pounds. You live alone. you don't walk or sleep so good anymore. You live down town in a major city in the south. A 300 pound thug breaks into your home. By the way he's a convicted rapist.

    Out of interest, how come he wasn't armed?

    Do you have a news story backing your claim up?

  • by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @07:36PM (#42539919)

    ...and gasoline, gunpowder, plans for explosives, and many other cheap and legal means to kill people. Solving gun violence doesn't solve violence.

    I agree in general that more stringent rules for purchasing guns and being issued concealed carry permits would not be a bad thing. I don't think the required changes are likely to be made, but perhaps that is another argument. Looking at myself, not only do I have military training (as do millions of Americans), but I have had 4 concealed carry permits issued in 2 different states which means 4 background checks. I have a security clearance, and have had 3 intense background checks done, every 5 years. I have undergone a psychological test in order to work in a particularly sensitive unit. I have undergone a polygraph, during which they asked me questions to determine if I was a spy, a saboteur, and or a terrorist. I passed. I think I can be trusted to carry a gun at this point, and even carry one into a school. (I also think I can be trusted to carry a knife on a plane since the govt is convinced I am not a terrorist, but that is yet another argument). There are millions of Americans who have military or law enforcement training, security clearances, and clean backgrounds. I have heard some say, here and elsewhere, that only police should be able to buy guns, and I think that there are plenty of people like me that are in effect trustable, and at least these people should be able to have guns. I think that teachers that meet similar criteria (there are plenty of former military teachers) should be able to carry a concealed pistol to school. Allowing trusted citizens to carry pistols into schools, sporting events, etc (as well as allowing them to carry non-firearm weapons on planes) would help curb some of these types of rampage shootings where someone is able to kill multiple unarmed people.

    Ok, firstly guns are much more convenient and easy way of killing than any of the methods you mentioned. Building a bomb takes time and skill, stabbing somebody means getting close and it's risky because your victim might be able to defeat you in close combat. Guns are easy to draw in the heat of the moment and the odds of your victim being armed with a concealed gun are relatively slim so guns are way higher on my priority list than bomb components, anarchist handbooks, gasoline or even knives. Regarding your statement that teachers should be armed with guns... say that out loud and listen to yourself say it. I don't not live in a country where this is necessary, I would not want to live in a country were arming teachers is necessary and if it has become necessary to arm primary school teachers in the US with firearms that is quite frankly a very, very sad state of affairs.

    On a separate note, I think America's very recent history of having a revolution and a dangerous frontier has made the personal firearm a part of our culture. So while much of Europe enjoys lower murder rates and fewer guns, our culture is just different and solutions that worked for Europe may not work for the US.

    I have heard this argument before and I don't buy it, you Americans have not cornered the market on fighting tyranny. Your history of revolution dates back to the 18th century, and I am not quite sure why people in New York or LA today would need similarly easy access to guns as people did during the 19th century on the American frontier. Also keep in mind that Europe was devastated within living memory by WWI, I know people who fought the Nazis and people who fought for them. My (German) grandparents witnessed firestorms that killed tens of thousands of people in hours, room to room combat in the house they lived in, my grandmother's neighbor was dragged out of her apartment and summarily executed by the SD in 1945 after some Quisling fingered her for listening to British radio broadcasts. After WWI and WWII Europe was awash with millions of military grade small arms and yet we normalized the situ

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @09:18PM (#42540929)

    ""For every case of self-protection homicide involving a firearm kept in the home, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving firearms.""

    Exactly. I have guns to defend myself against many things, but the ultimate reason for owning a gun is so that if I lose my faculties to Alzheimer's, or some other form of dementia, in one of my lucid moments I can use one of those guns to end my misery. I'm sorry, I won't live like that, and I don't trust the medical profession to help me "die with dignity".

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Thursday January 10, 2013 @12:45AM (#42542595) Journal

    "For every case of self-protection homicide involving a firearm kept in the home, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving firearms."

    So self protection doesn't count if the attacker is shot but lives? Or if the defender fires but misses and the attacker runs away before the defender fires again? Or if the defender pulls the gun and points at the attacker, who discovers he has a pressing engagement elsewhere before the defender pulls the trigger?

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