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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Paul Rawlings: Smart guns

  • A “smart gun” is a gun which is equipped with technology such as RFID chips, fingerprint recognition or magnetic devices which render a gun harmless in the hands of anyone other than the gun owner.
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  • A “smart gun” is a gun which is equipped with technology such as RFID chips, fingerprint recognition or magnetic devices which render a gun harmless in the hands of anyone other than the gun owner.
     
    For the first time in history Americans may go into a gun store and buy a “smart gun.” A few days ago The Oak Tree Gun Club, one of California’s largest firearms dealers offered for sale a 22 caliber pistol and a wrist watch.  Electronic chips inside the gun and watch must communicate before the gun will fire.  If the gun is not near the watch it will not fire. The Armatrix iPi is known as the iPhone of guns and is manufactured by Armatrix a German company. 
     
    Newspapers and magazines in the last few days have published many articles about “smart guns” and James Mitchell, owner of The Oak Tree Gun Club says offering “smart guns” for sale will revolutionize the gun industry.
     
    Using technology to create “smart guns” and make them safer to use is comparable to using technology to make cars safer which saved thousands of lives.
     
    The American people, auto manufacturers and politicians all worked together to enact auto safety laws and regulations
     
    Equipping autos with technology that made them safer to use has greatly reduced the number of Americans killed in automobile accidents although the number of registered autos INCREASED from 161 million in 1980 to 253 million in 2011 . In 1972 with a population of 209 million there were 54,589 people killed in auto accidents 26 for every 100,000 people. In 2011 with a population of 311 million there were 32,367 people killed in auto accidents 10.38 for every 100,000 people.
     
    On Christmas 2012 2 year old Tymere Smith found his father’s gun in their Conway S.C Home and pulled the trigger killing himself.  10 year old Alfreddie Gipson in Memphis, Tennessee on the same date was fatally shot in the stomach with a gun he found under a mattress in his home. 
     
    In February 2012 4 year old Joshua Johnson of Memphis shot and killed himself while playing with a gun he found in a shoebox in the home.
     
    In February 2012 3 year old Miachel Easter of Liberty Township, Michigan found his father’s pistol on top of a dresser and accidentally shot and killed himself.
     
    In  April 2012 a Toms River N.J. 4 year old shot and killed his 6 year old neighbor with a rifle that was unsecured in the home.
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    Tymere Smith, Alfreddie Gipson, Joshua Johnson, Miachel Easter and thousands of other young children who were accidentally killed with guns would be alive today had the guns they used been equipped with technology that rendered them harmless when in the hands of anyone other than the gun owner.
     
    The seven police officers who were killed with their own weapon in 2010 would be alive today if their guns had become harmless in the hands of anyone other than the gun owner.
     
    According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics about 232,000 guns are stolen each year and 25% of the criminal gun trafficking involves stolen guns.  Stolen guns could not be used  to kill and  commit other crimes if equipped with technology that disabled them when in the hands of anyone other than the gun owner.
     
    Senator Ed Markey has prepared a bill  requiring all new guns to be equipped with technology which would render the gun harmless in the hands of thieves, small children or anyone other than the gun owner.
     
    Ron Conway, a silicon Valley titan who was an early investor in Google and Facebook has launched a $1 million X Prize-like contest to encourage gun manufacturers to develop “smart gun” technology. 
     
    Gun manufacturers who have developed “smart guns:” Armatrix, Smith and Wesson, Colt Manufacturing, Mossburg, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Trigger Smart in Ireland.
     
    Many people have formed organizations to reduce the number of gun killings in America such as the parents of the 20 young children slaughtered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Sandy Hook Promise Group has met with President Obama, numerous Congressmen and  political leaders, appeared before many Congressional committees and numerous state legislative bodies to promote ways to develop gun technology and reduce gun violence.
     
    The American Tragedy—4 MILLION GUN KILLINGS FROM 1973 TO 2012.  Please join other concerned Americans in their effort to reduce the number of gun killings by making guns safer.
     
    (Paul Rawlings of Heber Springs contributes his “progressive” viewpoint each week to the The Sun-Times.  He writes a blog at www.pauls-musings.blogspot.com)
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