Friday, May 16, 2014

Why Smart Guns Are a Dumb Idea.

In a nut shell: cost, reliability of electronics, false sense of security,  concealability, adds vulnerability, and bad laws.

The first main issue is the cost of the darn thing $1800 for the Armatix iP1 and watch. $1800 for a .22 pistol! And equivalent gun can cost $300 without the electronics. So you are adding $1500 to the price tag. Who wants to add $1500 to something they are going to purchase when an $8 gun lock can do the same thing? Or even an $80 pistol safe. The most I've ever spent personally on a gun is around $700 and that was pushing the budget.

The second main Issue is the reliability of electronics. They are not that reliable. Have you ever had to reboot a phone or had a dropped call? Think of the last time you tried to get a photo or video of something cool but the phone refused to cooperate and you missed it. Do you want the same sort of reliability when your life depends on it? There are several possible reliability issues with the iP1.

The first reliability issue is it requires batteries and batteries die and sometimes explode.  I would not want a lithium battery that could set off all the rounds in the magazine in the grip of my gun. And forgot to replace the battery? Just ask that person planning to kill you to wait while you go get a replacement.

The second reliability issue is it depends on wireless technology, it communicates between the watch and the gun wirelessly. That communication can be broken in several different ways. I remember when I was a kid and I was talking to a friend on a wireless phone and I had a laser pointer in my hand, when I put it near the phone, I was instead was listening to someone else’s conversation. Not exactly sure how that happened but it happened. My point is the oddest things can interfere with wireless communications. And the fact that people put laser sights on guns does not help this case. There is also the possibility of the range of the watch being unintentionally extended.

The third reliability issue is that it depends on computers in both the watch and the gun to work correctly. I’m a software engineer by trade I am an expert in this.  I would never want to work on the software that controls this gun or own this gun. I’ve seen bugs in software that seem to defy logic and even with many people trying to figure them out: it took a week to fix them. There are bugs that go unnoticed for year’s even decades before they get fixed. Even something as simple as this can and most likely will have bugs. A bug that lets the gun shoot when it shouldn’t and one that stops it from shooting when it should would be a massive lawsuit and I would not want to be on the receiving end of that fiasco.

The third main issue is it gives a false sense of security. If irresponsible people believe these guns will not go off when handled by children they will become lax in their gun safety.  I can see the headline now: Child shoots self with smart gun.  There are a few ways this could happen: watch left with gun, failure of the technology, or other ways I can’t think of right now.

The forth main issue is concealability. First off a .22 weapon for every day carry is just a bad idea. Considering not many people wear watches these days. If you are wearing the watch someone might recognize it they might assume you are carrying. I could also see a cop using it as probable cause to search you. Though I see this as unlikely it’s still in the realm of possibility.

The fifth main issue is it adds another vulnerability to your personal defense. Someone could create smart gun jammers. This is something that transmits so loudly on the frequency the watch and gun use to communicate that the watch and gun cannot hear each other. This would make it so the guy with the dumb gun would have no fear of the guy with the smart gun. Possible uses of them are during a home invasion, mass shootings, or by a tyrannical government.

The last main issue is New Jersey where constitutional rights are so infringed that it’s utterly and stomach emptying disgusting. They have this law on the books that if a smart gun goes on sale anywhere in the USA then all guns must be smart in the 3 years. Which would effectively be a gun ban. Many a politician want all guns to be banned regardless of constitutionality and will use laws like this to achieve such ends. After reading everything I just wrote do you think this is a smart idea?

Did I miss anything? Comment below. 

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