A couple of days ago, Cheaper The Dirt posted a link to a blog post by Dave Dolbee on a segment on “Smart Guns” aired by CBS’s 60 minutes that included an interview with NSSF President Steve Sanetti. It got me thinking about the conditions under which I would consider owning a smart gun.
Mind you, I’m not talking about the conditions under which I would consider any legislation whatsoever regarding smart guns, much less any legislation mandating them. My conditions for accepting the mandating of smart guns — even under the guise of government manipulation of the market like requiring manufactures and/or retailers to produce/sell at least one model of smart gun or be fined; increased taxes on non-smart guns; increase regulation of guns not equipped with smart gun technology; or any other stealth method the gun grabbers can dream up — are simply never.
What follows is what I posted in response.
I would demand several conditions before ever even considering having a ‘smart gun’ (but would always oppose any kind of mandate, like New Jersey’s).
1) I would insist that a sizable number of law enforcement agencies issue them, and *only* them, and that their effectiveness be tracked and reported back. Full FOIA access needs to be provided for any data accumulated.
2) I would demand that the failure mode (dead battery, EMP, CME, short circuit) be to allow the gun to be fired by anyone. I should even be able to remove all the circuitry and have the gun still function like any traditional non-smart gun. I would rather have the possibility that the disabling mechanism be defeated (which is what we have now, anyhow) than to have the gun not fire when needed.
3) There should be no remote access whatsoever. No wireless, no antennae. Wired ports, such as USB, ethernet, or JTAG, shall be the only allowable interfaces.
4) Fully programmable by the owner, including a complete wipe and install of software of our choice. Much like jailbroken phones, but even more openness: No “baseband” for which there is no source code available. All circuitry must have full specs published. This is no place for patent or copyright wars. If I own the gun, I refuse to be restricted in any way by the vendor or anyone else in the way it can be programmed.
5) Expanding on (4), all operational software must be Free Software in the sense that the Free Software Foundation defines it. All source code must be provided. A development system must be published. It must be possible for me to reproduce the binaries exactly with that development system (which needs to run, at a minimum, on Linux based operating systems and probably BSD as well). And I must be able to make modifications without technical nor legal roadblocks. I must also be permitted to redistribute the software along with my changes. This precludes that the original software being Windows based or OSX/iOS based. Android is one, but not the only possibility. Other Linux or BSD based systems can be the base system as well.
I suspect New Jersey State Sen. Loretta Weinberg wouldn’t like any of the above.
You might see a pattern here. That pattern is that I refuse to be forced to have my guns, new or retrofitted, include new technology that allows anyone but me decide how, when, or where it will function. I will fight any attempts to even open the door a crack to have technological developments in firearms be used as a platform for gun control of any kind.
I got a one word response from some random commenter: “Ridiculous.”
Sure, it’s ridiculous if you see new technology as a means for the government to restrict our God given freedoms.
Sure, it’s ridiculous if you see new technology as a way for other entities, such as software vendors with hyper-political leftists executives, to implement their anti-gun agendas without government.
Sure, it’s ridiculous if you want to put your right to self defense in the hands of the same kinds of people who have no problem dispensing with the idea of free speech within their realm (yes, their right, when it’s their platform, but it doesn’t make it smart nor does it make them champions of liberty) because someone might be ‘microaggressed,’ ‘triggered,’ or offended.
Imagine a Facebook app running on your smart gun that determines from your GPS location a building you’ve entered that, unbeknownst to you, is posted with a gun ban sign, but not on all entrances and posts to your Facebook page that fact. Or perhaps another app that sends that info to the building manager, or even the local police. All over an honest mistake. Anyone who knows anything at all about the state of information technology knows (or should know) that all of those possibilities are trivial to implement.
One of the advantages of firearms is that they are an equalizing force. A 90 lbs. 70 year-old can defend against a 250 lbs. muscle bound thug on PCP just as easily as a hardened Marine in most cases. They are the epitome of empowerment of the individual. Even the emancipation of the individual. Changing the function of firearms to expand the power of government to restrict them or tether the individual to the manufacturer defeats those purposes.
And I will not submit.
I will stick with firearms that can last a least a few generations. It is partly why I favor metal guns over dishwasher safe Tupperware. And it is why I will favor guns that will always function without circuitry of any kind. Not that I eschew the technology completely, but it should be easily removable by the empowered, emancipated individual without any kind of permission required or any other roadblocks.
Stay Dangerous, My Friends.