Re: Crime and Safety engineering [was: Ooh a gun fight!!]

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Tue Mar 14 2000 - 07:42:43 MST

On Mon, 13 Mar 2000, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:

> Re: putting "intelligence" into a gun.
> Current research models are projected to add a minimum of $1000.00 to
> the cost of each gun if put in production, which also decreases their
> reliability, as gun recoil is NOT something that electronics are
> particularly good at dealing with on a frequent basis, and compact
> power supplies are notoriously short lived.

a) I'm fairly sure that there is more than $1000 worth of safety devices
   in the average automobile. If it is potential killing machine, it should be
   engineered to be relatively safe. Thats a pretty simple principle. The
   argument that guns should remain cheap doesn't cut it IMO. While the
   constituation may say you can own one or more of the devices, it doesn't
   say they have to be cheap. "Big brother" is mandating devices become safer
   and safer (look at lawnmowers for example, its getting darn difficult to
   leave them "running"). Why? Because there are too many people out there
   who are candidates for Darwin awards who have to be protected from their own
   stupidity. One can argue that "natural selection" is good. This
   can be countered by the fact that humans are imperfect machines and
   protecting us from our own occasional mistakes is probably a good thing.

b) I believe that current engineering for shock tolerant disk drives
   (to be dropped from a foot or more) should be more than sufficient for
   gun recoil.

c) Ideally you would want the power to come from the user's hand. That
   will be difficult without nanotech. However a heat sensor wired to a
   mercury cell to enable the recognition electronics should last for years.
   You have to put oil, water and gas in your car and even bullets in your
   gun, it doesn't change the equation that much to say you have to change
   the batteries (or leave it in the sun for a day to recharge it) every year.

> Additionally, such technology limits the gun's use to the OWNER.
> Other family members or employees would not be able to use them.

If its reasonable technology, it should be programmable to recognize
multiple fingerprints, retina scans, grips, voice commands, etc. The
point would be that it shouldn't fire for *any* non-authorized user.
That doesn't solve domestic violence problems, but could make a small
dent in the problems caused by guns that are stolen or used against
their owners.


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