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Daily newspapers pages bring to our attention every so often incidents of a person taking a gun and shooting their friends or themselves, whether by mistake or on purpose. In some of these cases, it’s a child playing with one of its parents’ gun and some cases are security personnel examining their coworkers’ weapon. However, it turns out that the real numbers are much higher than are brought to our attention: Every year 31,000 people are killed across the United States from shooting-related incidents, while 73,000 people are injured. But by extensive and creative thinking, innovative ideas can be thought up in order to prevent such incidents.
Some might call it a “smart gun”, some might refer to it as a “selective gun”, but it’s simplest to say that it is a secured gun. The first generation of secured guns was made in 2010 when a German company manufactured the Armatix iP1 – a 22 mm handgun which can only be fired if the person shooting is wearing a bracelet which signals in a specific frequency recognised by the gun, allowing the person to shoot only if the distance between the bracelet and the gun is no more than 40 cm. A person trying to shoot without the use of the smart bracelet will not be able to fire. The bracelet secured gun did not catch on, however, and developers have moved on in search of other solutions to increase gun-use safety.
After generation A did not manage to get in favour with gun lovers in the United States, development companies thought up an even more technological solution: Using biometric security measures and passwords. These security measures could prevent weapon thieves from using the guns in malicious ways. Since 2007, 18 police officers have been killed by a person stealing their gun and shooting them with it – the lives of these officers could have been saved if their weapon was secured with biometric technology.
There is, of course, an argument between those siding with the freedom to carry weapons and those wanting to restrict it. The first party claim that technology cannot be trusted to prevent firearms from shooting when an unauthorized person is trying to do so, a survey done in the United States last January show that the American public is actually in favour of using technology to create selective weapons. The survey showed that two thirds of the population thinks that businesses that sell weapons should also offer technologically secured products. Furthermore, 40% of gun owners will consider exchanging their gun for a smart version.
In order to encourage technological creativity which will enable secured weapons’ development, the billionaire Ron Conway has declared he will offer $10,000 – $100,000 to anyone who could develop smart and safer weapons by using technology. One of several who took on the challenge are Safe Gun Technology Inc., who are in the final stages of producing fingerprint identification on an AR-15 rifle.