Why isn't Silicon Valley trying to fix the gun problem?


#1

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Gun-toting mom shot in the back by her 4-year-old may go to jail for 180 days
#2

The NRA has reacted to tech gun security solutions like it has to every reasonable gun sale or education proposal, with absolute rejection. “Its a slippery slope to Guvmint thugs coming for a our guns”.


#3

Guns, being life or death instruments must work every single time or they become a real liability. Adding tech to a gun significantly increases the chance that the gun will fail to work properly or at the very least gives the average person that impression.
Who’s going to fork over cash for a self protection device that will probably work - but might not when you need it the most?
Also, what problem does a smart gun fix? Isn’t the target market also the market least likely to be involved in gun violence. Also they would be least likely to ever be in the hands of the poor making accidental deaths from guns something only the poor need worry about. Criminal will never buy them either. It all seems to pie in the sky.


#4

There already are “smart gun” solutions on the market. Major manufacturers aren’t interested, gun nuts aren’t going to buy them.

Also, people trying to actually create and promote smart gun ideas like fingerprint-locked triggers have gotten their lives threatened because they’re obviously part of some kind of anti-gun conspiracy.


#5

and also death threats


#6

Gun owners are afraid that the FBI will force Apple to give them control over the iGun.


#7

It probably doesn’t help that there isn’t a lot of customer demand(to put it mildly) for what is basically a DRM implementation; and the genre doesn’t offer any obvious ‘hook’ features to make tacking on the necessary additional complexity worth it for reasons that customers do want.

If you are dealing with a gun that already has a whole glob of computer built in(like one of these) then tacking on an authentication system represents a relatively minimal marginal cost in terms of BOM or complexity. If you are not; then you are taking a relatively simple mechanical device and putting an entire computer in control for no additional features(that your customers want or will even accept).

It’s not so hard to sneak in some awfulness or active hostility when the product as a whole is appealing(eg. DVDs are DRMed harder than VHS tapes; but are preferable in most other respects so people adopted them anyway; smartphones are unstable heaps of horror compared to simpler communication devices that don’t run a screaming pile of random software; but they can run your screaming pile of random software, so we buy them anyway); but if the existing product is already a mature solution to the problem you have much less room to add any feature that the user doesn’t actively demand.


#8

Also, I find looking at my response that even I’m talking around one of the real and intractable problems.

That is that legitimate gun owners, the kind of perfectly reasonable and responsible gun owners the NRA is always telling us about, seem to regularly go off the rails and decide their best response to some personal problem is to shoot their family, or their co-workers, or a bunch of total strangers, or themselves. All those “smart gun” solutions are likely to do in that case is to make sure that yes, this is the gun’s proper owner shooting it intentionally.

This is something that occasionally happens other places, but the scale of the problem is unique to modern America. There is something like a memetic disease about it.


#9

Fixing the “gun problem” won’t change anything. There is no gun problem. There is a mental health problem, and there are social problems. Look to the root cause of violence and eliminate it. After that, we won’t have to pour money into a feel good fix, we can apply our efforts to improving the lives of those who do violence. There’ll be no need for “smarter guns”, we’ll have well adjusted people that won’t turn to violence. Those intent on violence will find a way. Be it guns, cars, or bombs. Remember, Columbine was failed bombing. Had the propane bombs worked, it would have been a disaster to rival the Bath Schoolhouse killings. http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2012/12/mass-school-bombing-in-1927-puts-sandy-hook-in-context/


#10

I was just about to say this - as a result, it’s a non-starter, just like significant attempts at gun control.

Children shooting their parents? Thieves stealing guns? People using guns against their owners? (Etc.) All more likely occurrences than actually using a gun in self-defense.

Well, no. Simply owning a gun means you’re more likely to be the target of gun violence - with the household gun being the most probable weapon. Everyone who owns a gun would benefit from smarter guns in the same way that safer cars benefit all drivers (including the “safe” ones), although yes, the people who need it most are those with poor gun safety habits, i.e. those least likely to buy one.

People aren’t all buying revolvers instead of automatics, so that’s not a huge issue. And they’re perfectly fine with computers running their automobiles, even though that’s an even bigger safety issue. It’s a nice straw man excuse for gun owners to reject the technology, but it’s not a real reason.

Those “responsible” gun owners also have the guns used by their children to accidentally shoot someone, women have the guns used by their abusive partners against them, they get stolen, police officers have suspects grab their guns, etc.


#11

Silicon Valley is all its “we can save the world” mindset when it comes to …

I miss the area circa 1980-90 but doubt I’d recognize it at this point. How about, the save the world schtik is self aggrandizing marketing crap and taking on real issues is too much of a risk for VC douchebags? Am I close?


#12

I think most gun owners, myself included, would accept some additional restrictions provided – and here’s the rub – that I knew for a metaphysical certainty that I was giving up rights (a), (b), and © for a guaranteed right (forever and always, constitutionally prescribed) right to maintain rights (d), (e) and (f). It’s not that I think the “guvmin’ts coming for my guns”, it’s that I have zero faith that there’s any end-case in mind other than a total ban. It’s a rare, honest fellow like David that says, flat out, “I want to ban guns”, but the opinion is far more common that that.


#13

I’m genuinely interested in what problems Silicon Valley is trying to fix. It seems to be focused on how to provide “analytics” and deliver advertising.


#14
FTFA: "(2) There’s too much shoutingshooting."

There, fixed that for them.


#15

As much as I am for developing smart gun technology, especially for casual users, it isn’t really the solution for our “gun problem”.

At best, it will help reduce accidents resulting form unauthorized users. But those are a small fraction of gun deaths, with suicides and murders being the top two causes.

Three reasons average gun owners resist this sort of thing is 1) if using it for defense, there is hesitancy that something like this will work when you need it to. Personally, I think as the tech matures, more people will see that it is reliable and then embrace it for some guns. I would rather have something that I could unlock instantly, vs having it in a locked safe. I caution though that I worry such tech will lead to more lax gun handling, especially with kids. “Relax, the smart lock is on.” A reminder than no safety device replaces proper handling.

  1. It isn’t really needed. Like I said, I see this most useful for causal owners, or owners with kid around who want an extra layer of safety. But responsible people can manage handling and storing fire arms, even with kids around, with the current level of safety measures. And again, it won’t end all accidents, just help prevent some of them.

  2. Finally there is concern of added regulation. That the government would mandate their use, and possibly exert more control through them. Now, you may think that is just paranoid, delusional gun-nuts being gun-nuts. And I would agree with you except New Jersey already has that exact law in the books.

So basically you have a product with limited appeal where the core consumer of the product wants nothing to do with it. It doesn’t sound like a business for people who like money would want to enter. I am sure someone could make a profit making one. Maybe. But the R&D is going to be high, and they would need enough capital to keep afloat for it to catch on.

Finally, smart guns aren’t going to stop suicides or generic gun crime.


#16

Actually, I’ve heard that responsible gun owners, which is most of them, rather like the idea that little Johnny can’t accidentally kill them, or shoot up his classroom. Combination locks and biometric scanners have been possible for a while now. But the NRA forbids the industry to manufacture them, because that would imply that there’s a problem.

Nobody needs smart guns, they just need something something something existing laws, and then there would be no more school shootings. And no more accidents. And no more suicides. And freedom would overcome tyranny.


#17

silicon valley deffo cant fix americas gun problem but i bet guns could fix its silicon valley problem


#18

“Why isn’t Silicon Valley trying to fix the gun problem?”

Because “Silicon Valley” is not a being. It is a collection of Americans, some of which are ardently pro-gun, some of which are ardently anti-gun, and many of which are not particularly involved in one side or the other.


#19

Source? There has been a combination lock mod for revolvers since the 60s, and you can find a version of it advertised in the back of the NRA magazine (IIRC, it might have been a different one). They are several single gun safes that user either combinations, touch pads, fobs, or fingerprints to open that the NRA endorses for safety.

I agree the NRA at times makes it seem like the sky is falling to solicit donations, but I don’t think there is a single organization that promotes safetly more than the NRA and the sister orgs of “Friends of the NRA”. These are the ones putting on educational programs for both the public and future instructors.

As I said, they may oppose something for fear of government making it required, but not for increased safetly. And smart guns won’t stop suicides.


#20

They will if your teenager is depressed.

And my source is some damn thing I read years ago, sorry I can’t be more helpful.