The United States has been victimized by a series of deadly mass shootings. On average, according to a report by the New York Times, each day in 2015 there has been a shooting in which four or more people were wounded or killed.
Even that considerably understates the havoc that guns cause in the United States. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 33,000 people each year die due to the use of firearms, a figure that not only includes murders, but accidents and suicides as well.
Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, wrote a passionate call for gun control that included a narration of terrible gun-related statistics. He noted that since 1968 more people have perished from gun violence in the United States than on the battlefields of all the wars in American history altogether. He added that every six months, more Americans die as a result of gun suicides and homicides than have been killed in all terrorist attacks within the last 25 years, plus the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined.
However, technology holds up some hope to prevent some of those deaths, as long as gun trade groups and gun fanatics don’t get in the way. A year ago, Silicon Valley started to become serious about developing smart guns that can save lives.
Smart guns make guns safer in a number of ways. Some smart guns use fingerprint readers so that the only people that can fire the gun are authorized users. Other smart guns use RFID technology which allows only someone wearing or holding a certain item like a ring can fire it.
The smart guns technology can save countless lives. In order for children to accidentally kill their friends or themselves when playing with firearms, they would have to be authorized users of the firearm. Stolen guns couldn’t be used by criminals, terrorists or gangs.
Seems like a solution everyone would love; reduced gun deaths, with no legislations necessary. Those who would like smart guns can purchase them; others don’t have to.
However, the gun industry and gun fundamentalists don’t view it that way. And they are doing everything they can to stop smart guns technology before it can save the lives of people.
It’s not only individuals who attack smart guns. The gun industry itself isn’t happy about smart guns. President of the gun trade group the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Steve Sanetti, questioned why take his firearm and add something to it that will make it more susceptible to failure.
Smart guns alone will not solve the gun violence problem. The ultimate solution also involves banning weapons such as assault rifles and passing laws that demand comprehensive background checks before someone can purchase a gun.