The Guardian: Obama Should Mandate ‘Smart Guns’ for Police

Rex Features via AP Images
Rex Features via AP Images

On March 15, The Guardian ran a report suggesting President Obama use his “executive powers” to order “smart guns” for police departments.

The idea is that such a large order would give the “smart gun” market the jumpstart it needs, while also saving people—like Michael Brown—from being shot and killed.

Regarding Brown, The Guardian quotes Metro Industrial Areas Foundation member Joel Mosbacher as saying:

Look at the situation where the cop in Ferguson last summer shot Michael Brown not long after he was allegedly trying to grab the officer’s gun as he sat in the patrol car. And the homeless guy who was shot dead in Los Angeles earlier this month, where you could hear the cop saying he thought [the homeless man] was going to take his gun.

In both these situations The Guardian claims “personalized guns would… undermine the rationale for police officers shooting unarmed civilians who try to grab their sidearm.”

But alas, there is little interest in “smart guns,” and that’s largely because they are still plagued with the same problems they’ve had since day one. They include biometric scanners on grips that can’t read finger or palm prints through caked blood, thus rendering the gun useless in a situation where it may be needed for a defensive use.

Other problems include the fact that some of the most popular “smart gun” technologies require the shooter to wear a special watch or bracelet which activates the gun when the two are in close proximity. If this scenario had existed on the morning of December 14, 2012, there is no reason to think Adam Lanza would not have simply stolen his mother’s guns and her activating watch/bracelet, rather than just the guns. Having done so, he would have simply carried out his rampage with a “smart gun” versus a traditional one.

But some say the problem with stolen “smart guns” can be fixed by creating zones where the signals sent between the watch and bracelet are jammed—the way cell signals are—thus providing a buffer around schools and other places where the guns won’t fire. Yet The Washington Post observed that if the signal is such that it can be jammed, who’s to stop a hacker from jamming the “smart guns” police carry to render them inoperable?

Who’s to stop a hacker from jamming every smart gun on a given block so homes can be robbed with impunity?

On top of all this, the “smart gun” fawned over by media outlets is the Armatix iP1. It’s a .22 caliber “smart gun” that costs $1800.

Wow. The guns police currently carry range from 9mm to 45 ACP, and even these large rounds almost always require numerous hits to stop or kill an attacker. What are police to do when all they have is a .22?

Moreover, the Glocks so many departments use cost $480 to $560 brand new. How are departments supposed to afford paying three times that much for each gun?

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly