Most gun owners know that journalists employed by major media outlets have a notorious lack of understanding of guns. Their ignorance, as many people working in the computer field know, doesn’t just apply to guns through. When it comes to technology they are more often than not entirely clueless. So when guns and technology are combined in one article the only expectation should be totally stupidity and that’s what we have here:
Broadcast for Safe Firearms draws on the idea that if computers are now reliable enough for cars, medicine and fly-by-wire aircraft, they are probably reliable enough to provide a framework to cut down mass shootings.
The idea isn’t brand-new, as the authors note. Their addition to the research is to propose what they call a “context-aware system in the firearm” that can draw on information from sensors in the environment to make safety decisions.
In other words, instead of enforcing “safe environment” rules by way of checkpoints where guns are not permitted (on airplanes, in consulates and embassies and so on), “we propose to address these safety areas within the firearm itself”. The gun would negotiate its operations by communicating with the safety area transmitter.
If the author understood guns and technology he would know to call bullshit on this research immediately. It’s an unworkable idea. The first thing going against it is that it relies on a central authority to distribute the access control lists to each individual firearm. That means any firearm will only be as capable as the central authority allows it to be. It also means that there is one point of failure, which is never desirable. Another thing going against this idea is that it relies on wireless communications to enable or disable firearms. Wireless communication is an amazing technology but we still haven’t mastered foolproof communication. Something as simple as a concrete wall can block a wireless signal meaning many buildings suffer very spotty wireless coverage. Additionally the access control mechanism is easily defeated by those shielded carrying bags.
It’s also worth noting that this mechanism, like most gun control schemes, relies on controlling the design of a very simple mechanical device. How, exactly, does one integrate this technology in already existing firearms and prevent individuals with 3D printers or computer numerical control (CNC) machines from building firearms without this technology included?