Response to smart guns

by Luke Myer, University student

While the Wednesday column calling for smart gun technology sounds interesting (I especially like the bit about fingerprinting), I get concerned with the idea that these new technologies should be required. I wouldn’t consider myself a gun enthusiast, although I’ve been hunting, trap shooting and target shooting with pistols and rifles.

There are safety features already included on firearms, the safety being the most obvious one. I understand that it’s not foolproof; all it takes is to forget to leave the safety on or to accidentally bump it, but for the most part, it’s effective. I would say that these new technologies probably have similar drawbacks where people can still activate them if they are stored irresponsibly. But the meat and bones of why I even bothered to type this up instead of doing homework is that the biggest thing that reduces death and injury with firearms is responsible handling by the person who owns the gun.

I grew up in a household that had around 20 to 25 firearms in it at a time. My stepfather, who owned them all, made it very clear that firearms are not toys, but tools and weapons.

For safety purposes, all guns were stowed in a safe, which our whole household knew the combination to. There were strict rules, too — every gun was unloaded until we left the house (you should never have a loaded gun in your household), there was no pointing any gun at a person (including when it wasn’t loaded) and most importantly, we all took gun safety training when we became old enough to learn.

From all of this, I learned that stupid incidents involving injury or death with firearms come from people misusing them or mishandling them, which I strongly feel won’t go away no matter how much we try to improve them otherwise.

I’ll admit that this might make it harder for people to make stupid decisions in handling firearms, but I also want to say that by adding on these extra steps, it makes gun wielding more cumbersome for those that already use them properly, and also allows people to act more irresponsibly because they think they are somehow safer with this new technology.

So all in all, I will look into these “smart gun technologies,” but when it comes to making them required for all future firearms, I respectfully disagree.