Smart guns would be an effective start

Firearm manufacturers should be required to include smart gun technology for our saftey.

by Ronald Dixon

One doesn’t need to dig deep into contemporary American culture to find a love for guns. Indeed, according to the Pew Research Center, there are an estimated 270 to 310 million guns in the United States, a number almost equal to the country’s total population.

Unfortunately, this lust for guns — which is unique in the U.S. compared to other nations — has had a negative societal impact. In fact, a recent study of data from the World Health Organization and Small Arms Survey found that out of 27 industrialized countries, the U.S. leads in both guns per 100 citizens (88.8) and firearm deaths per 100,000 people (10.2). Comparatively, the country second on this list, Switzerland, scored 45.7 and 3.84, respectively.

The causal link between per capita gun ownership and firearm deaths is simple: When a society allows a flood of dangerous guns to permeate the market, the result will be that these abundant, dangerous weapons cause more gun deaths. We can blame several things for these deaths, especially hostile disputes, confusion that results from “good guys with guns” trying to meddle in the affairs of police officers and accidents that happen when children handle unsecured firearms.

Considering the fact that this gun epidemic is unique to the U.S., how should our lawmakers mitigate firearm-related deaths? The answer lies with requiring gun manufacturers to adopt “smart gun” technology.

What makes smart guns different from traditional guns is that they require more to shoot them than merely pulling the trigger. Some models require the users to wear a wristband or watch before they utilize the gun. Others rely on fingerprint technology, even allowing the user to input multiple fingerprints for different people.

It seems clear that smart guns are but one of many steps necessary to reduce gun-related fatalities in the U.S.

Germany is already using the technology, but these firearms have not taken hold in America. This is partially because partisan gun rights activists bully and threaten gun owners who wish to provide market competition between smart guns and traditional firearms.

This is why new regulations are needed. A group of NRA members may be able to harass individual gun shop owners, but they certainly can’t mess with the federal government. Moreover, as previously demonstrated, smart gun technology would save lives.

Finally, if this reform were implemented, then antipathies against smart guns would dissipate as gun enthusiasts would discover that the only difference between smart guns and traditional firearms is the addition of 21st century technology.

The message is clear: mandating smart gun technology would save lives and should be implemented.