On December 14, Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe said police departments and the various branches of the military need to use the leverage of purchase contracts to pressure firearm makers into building smart guns.
Kehoe did not say his officers would carry smart guns nor did he express an opinion that military personnel should carry them. But he believes gun manufacturers should be making such weapons.
According to CNN’s Deborah Feyerick, Kehoe suggests we “leverage gun buying power” to force gun manufacturers to fall in line. She said Kehoe believes this is possible “because the biggest consumers of U.S. firearms are the U.S. military, U.S. law enforcement, along with civilians.”
Kehoe said, “I think if we can have that message sent to those that have a voice—like police chiefs—I think we can start that conversation and shift that needle in a positive direction.”
Breitbart News reported Washington state Sheriff John Urquhart’s January 28 contention that smart guns are still too dumb to be trusted. According to the Homeland Security News Wire, Urquhart told attendees at the Washington Technology Industry Association that “[Smart gun technology] is not ready for my officers yet.” He added, “If it worked 110 percent of the time, I’d be interested.” But as it stands right now, he is not.
Two main types of smart guns are those with biometric readers on the grips—they read fingerprints and/or palm prints—and guns that are paired with a watch or bracelet that sends a radio signal which activates the weapon. Regarding those with biometic readers, there continues to be concern whether such readers will be dependable when the gun owner’s hands are caked with blood or mud. There is also the concern that the gun would not function if the gun owner were killed and a family member picked it up to defend themself from a pending attack.
Regarding the guns paired with a bracelet or watch, the concerns are fundamentally that someone will simply block the radio signal the way cell signals are blocked. Such an move would render the gun no better than a hammer. Problem two: A thief who finds the gun could just steal the bracelet or watch too, then he can wear his new watch while he uses his new gun to commit crime.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.