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Crime Technology

Smart Guns To Stop Mass Killings 1388

New submitter Bugs42 writes "CNN.com 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 alesplin ( 1376141 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:08PM (#42535157)
    Quite possibly the dumbest article I've ever seen.
    • by polar red ( 215081 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:12PM (#42535235)

      Maybe painting them pink would help reduce the number of gun fatalities ?

    • by jerpyro ( 926071 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:16PM (#42535319)

      I agree. Also, was I the only person to think 'Judge Dredd' when I read it?

    • by ScooterComputer ( 10306 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:18PM (#42535375)

      From CNN, what did you expect?

    • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:31PM (#42535679)

      Quite possibly the dumbest article I've ever seen.

      Gunman walks into school, opens fire. Citizen nearby with legal carry and conceal permit and gun responds. Raises gun to kill gunman as he's mowing down little children and... *click*. Nothing. Gunman blows away citzen, continues on his rampage. How could this have happened? Easy: The deranged lunatic took out the batteries. Sorry, Would-Be Citizen Hero And Families Of All Those Dead Kids, our bad.

    • by TowerOfPis ( 1301063 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:31PM (#42535681)
      It would be simpler to develop medical technology to "restore" a shot child to unharmed condition, than to develop the technology proposed to prevent a child from being shot...
    • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:35PM (#42535775) Homepage Journal

      Let's talk the fundamentals. The deadly part of a gun is not the gun at all, but the small charge in each round of ammunition. The whole rest of the device is just a convenience to direct that energy. You can't put an encrypted lock on gun-powder.

    • by tatman ( 1076111 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:23PM (#42536767) Homepage

      Quite possibly the dumbest article I've ever seen.

      At least someone is thinking outside the box and looking alternatives. I have to give him credit for that.

      I cringe at the thought of all the different failure points of his proposals. But to say our current debate on guns (two sides: 1) ban all or some or 2) make them more available) will find a solution is simply head-in-the-sand refusal to admit our political process for solving social issues is useless.

      So I give the guy credit for keeping an open mind and proposing some new thinking on a very old problem

  • Helpful? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fascismforthepeople ( 2805977 ) <fascismforthepeople@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:08PM (#42535161) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure all this technology will make a huge difference for the millions of guns already in circulation in the US.
  • by robthebloke ( 1308483 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:08PM (#42535173)
    How about just filling them with air instead of bullets?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:09PM (#42535183)
    So next time I want to murder a guy who has a gun, I have to kidnap a baby first to disable his weapon? Come on, people, I'm on a schedule. These guys aren't going to whack themselves.
  • by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:10PM (#42535203)

    ... a black market for guns that don't have these features should it ever come to pass.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:13PM (#42535249) Journal

    How are we supposed to secure a free state if the tyrant can wirelessly disable our arms?

    • 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 photon317 ( 208409 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:00PM (#42536327)

        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.

        I'd like to point you at the difficulties out Armed Forces have had dominating unruly indigenous populations in the Middle East lately, when all the locals have are crappy beat decades-old AK-47 and home-made IEDs. With the weapons and training that a large fraction of the population has access to in the US, suppressing a rebellion here would be nearly impossible, even for the US Armed Forces. There's always the "glass parking lot" option, but they wouldn't mass-bomb the US any more than they do overseas, for the same reasons: the government loses all shreds of credibility on a number of fronts if it starts bombing citizens in mass numbers.

  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:13PM (#42535255)

    Stop giving them tons of media attention and "high scores".

    Stop giving other crazy people incentives of guaranteed posthumous fame.

  • Two questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fiordhraoi ( 1097731 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:13PM (#42535261)
    1) Can you develop such a complex system that works in the practical world (ie, it's cost effective and reliable)?

    2) Can you develop a system in such a way that it can't be removed or bypassed?

    The gun is a fairly simple machine. I can't think of a way to prevent the removal of such a complex system. And if the argument is going to be "it'll be legally mandated that all guns have this," you run into the same problem that gun control laws run into right now. Criminals - especially those who are planning on committing multiple murders and probably killing themselves in the process - really don't give a crap about following the law.
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Liberals like to whine about "military hardware" but the obvious testing ground for this kind of tech is in fact the military. I would have fewer objections to any of these solutions if cops were the guinea pigs.

      Even if you ban all civilian firearms you still have the big problem of well armed police forces. You have potential corruption plus an industry that still needs to remain around to supply the cops.

      Start by supplying these "lawgivers" to cops and soldiers.

  • by BitwiseX ( 300405 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:14PM (#42535271)

    Sensory data can be used by built-in software to disable firing if the gun is pointed at a child

    What do I do if I'm being assaulted by a dwarf?

  • 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 Vortran ( 253538 ) <aol_is_satan@hotmail.com> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:16PM (#42535321) Homepage

    The government must fear pissing off its citizens. Guns are power. Do you want only the military and the police to have power? Society works best when all types of power are distributed and not concentrated in just a few areas or restricted to just a few people or groups.

    I sure wouldn't want the government or military to be able to turn off our weapons, and I sure don't support laws that say only the military and police can have the most powerful weapons. That puts the balance of power away from the people.

    • You think anyone in our government fears a mob with guns? Recall, this is the government that has a fleet of robots that roam the skies looking for people to bomb without ever risking a life.

      The only people that need to fear militias are their neighbors.
  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:16PM (#42535327)
    This invites massive logistical issues that only expand if you take malfunctions and deliberate hacking into account. All because we live in a country where paranoia about gun rights trumps taking rational action to reduce gun deaths.
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Most gun deaths would be reduced by attacking the root of crime and the poverty that tends to drive it.

      Most of the time, suburbanites are content to allow the poor to continue killing each other while living in squalor.

  • by spikenerd ( 642677 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:17PM (#42535343)
    Arguments about the second amendment used to revolve around whether guns keep us free. These days, however, they're all about whether guns keep us safe. Something significant has already been lost, even if we still have the right to bear arms.
  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:18PM (#42535377) Homepage

    As soon as this idea runs up against gun-industry profits, it dies.

  • Stop the insanity! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bodhammer ( 559311 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:22PM (#42535459)
    Literally - please!

    Every one of these psychos was mentally ill and on psychotropic drugs.
    Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox – like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and many others, a modern and widely prescribed type of antidepressant drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
    Patrick Purdy went on a schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, Calif., in 1989, which became the catalyst for the original legislative frenzy to ban “semiautomatic assault weapons” in California and the nation. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.
    Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Ore., and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.
    more here: http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/the-giant-gaping-hole-in-sandy-hook-reporting/ [wnd.com]

    "The public is growing increasingly confused by how we treat the mentally ill. More and more, the mentally ill are showing up in the streets, badly in need of help. Incidents of illness-driven violence are reported regularly, incidents which common sense tells us could easily have been avoided. And this is just the visible tip of the greater tragedy - of many more sufferers deteriorating in the shadows and, often, committing suicide." http://www.northshoreschizophrenia.org/Uncivil_Liberties.htm [northshore...hrenia.org]

    The bottom line is we need to identify these people before they snap and get them off the streets and into treatment, not take guns away from law abiding citizens.
  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:26PM (#42535541)

    GPS spoofing has been done before.

    Criminal spoofs GPS of local area with their own transmitters, making all the police guns think they're in the whitehouse or some other 'safe zone'.
    Criminal has 'old fashioned' gun and shoots police who are powerless to fire back.

  • Unbelievable... (Score:5, Informative)

    by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:27PM (#42535573)

    The anti-firearms hysteria needs to stop. This reminds me of when Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray, so a bunch of dead stingrays started showing up everywhere because people suddenly thought of them as being too dangerous to have around. Yeah, firearms can kill people. So can a bunch of other things.

    There are three times as many automobile related fatalities each year as firearms related fatalities:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/01/05/Federal-Gov-Annual-Auto-Related-Deaths-Three-Times-Higher-Than-Gun-Related-Deaths [breitbart.com]

    Even better, there are more people killed with hammers and clubs than with firearms:

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/01/03/FBI-More-People-Killed-With-Hammers-and-Clubs-Each-Year-Than-With-Rifles [breitbart.com]

    So why the fuck are we going after people who own firearms?

    First they came for the NRA,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't an NRA member.

    (Yeah, I invoked Godwin's Law, so what.)

    Also, in Afghanistan it is not unheard of for "enemy combatants" (we can't call them terrorists anymore) to carry kids while they are on the battlefield, either for the purpose of preventing themselves from being shot at, or propaganda ("Look at these baby killers! They must die in the name of allah!") That goes to show you what people are capable of. If firearms were disabled in a similar manner in domestic situations, only it happened automatically, I imagine that would come home as well.

  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:29PM (#42535637)

    Rather than having guns that ware smart, we should have smart bullets that will only kill bad people. After being fired the smart bullet will immediately ascertain the worst person within range using a sophisticated algorithm weighing criminal history, internet searches, and music preference, and impact that person right in the face, piercing any face armor up to 2 inches of hardened steel, and igniting it's incendiary and high explosive payloads.

    It is logically impossible that there is not at least one bad person nearby, because a room full of only good people would never fire a gun. It's logic.

    The fact that the most likely target of a smart bullet is yourself, this will greatly reduce the number of shootings. The only trick is to get people to abandon regular bullets. I know, we could make people with regular bullets at the top priority of the smart bullet hit list algorithm! There will a violent but short war between the "smarties" and the "norms", but *then* there will be reduced shootings.

  • by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:33PM (#42535717)

    The first is bullet IDs -- you pack the propellant with very small ID tagged glitter. Bullet fires, glitter covers the ground. Crime scene people carry equipment to find and trace the ID numbers. This has been proof-of-concepted years ago.

    The second is tracking for ammo sales. You buy ammo? It gets logged, every damn bullet.

    The third is liability for your ammo. If you own ammo, you are liable for the results. Regular gun owners get an ammo safe, which is cheap and sensible precaution in any case. If you're a trafficker? You now have a problem.

    Important to note: ammo has a shelf life of a few years. Within a decade, culpability for gun crimes could be much more transparent.

  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:43PM (#42535947)

    I don't really care about guns. I don't ever want to own one, but it doesn't bother me if other people own one either because I don't assume that people around me are all potential mass murderers.

    What worries me about gun control is the idea that the government wants to control ownership of a piece of metal that anybody can fabricate in a day in their home and to which there are lots of lethal alternatives. I wonder what the principle there is supposed to be. Are we going to outlaw everything that person A can use to kill person B? Where are we going to stop? Are we going to make files and drills illegal because they could be used to manufacture guns? What's going to happen with 3D printers? And if government can throw people in jail for something as silly as merely carrying a piece of metal that's shaped a particular way, what are the arguments against government controlling how we have sex or whether women can have abortions? Control of what we see, record, eat and get high on already seems to be considered normal by everybody.

    Let's try and turn this back. Liberals live up to their name and give in on gun control and taxation, and conservatives realize the small non-intrusive government they keep talking about and give in on abortion and restrictive marriage, and both agree to loosen up drugs and copyrights.

  • by coldsalmon ( 946941 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:55PM (#42536207)

    1) Guns should also be fitted with an electronic device which reads minds to ascertain whether the carrier intends to fire it for good or bad reasons. "Good" and "bad" can be decided by a live, crowdsourced twitter feed of the gun-carrier's thoughts. If bad intent is identified, a speaker on the gun's handle will begin reading responsive tweets, attempting to persuade the carrier not to fire (these responses will also be crowdsourced for appropriateness and effectiveness). At the same time, a special wireless network will alert emergency personnel of the carrier's location and mental state.

    2) All guns should be fitted with miniaturized versions of TSA body scanners which will scan all passersby to determine whether they are carrying guns whose safety features are disabled.

    3) All guns should be fitted with a voice-recognition system which is able to analyze the screams of shooting victims and disable the gun if they are determined to be children.

    4) Finally, guns should be fitted with an electronic device which can summon Jesus Christ and a his angels to heal the injured, resurrect the dead, and reverse time in the event of a shooting.

  • *facepalm* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:19PM (#42536679)

    Everyone, repeat after me: "Technological solutions to social problems are doomed to failure."

    You want to stop school shootings, here's what you do:
    1) Vastly improve the mental health system. The number of deranged gunmen slaughtering kids is directly proportional to the number of deranged psychopaths.
    2) Fix the media's obsession with violent tragedies. Half of them are only doing it because they'll get fame (or at least infamy) for doing so. I'm not advocating a total Herostratus solution, but do we really need to have weeks of constant news coverage for every single one of these?
    3) Fix the school system. A lot of the things that would improve education overall (less focus on rote learning, stop keeping everyone generalists until college, smaller schools with a lower teacher/student ratio, etc) would also reduce student stress immensely.
    4) And yeah, we could probably stand to lower gun proliferation a bit. It wouldn't have affected any of the school shootings I can recall, but it would reduce general gun violence, which isn't a bad thing. I think the laws we have right now are fine, or even too restrictive, but certain cultural biases towards prolific gun ownership could stand a change.

The one day you'd sell your soul for something, souls are a glut.