From CNN:

After the Newtown shooting, a number of Silicon Valley leaders signed the "Demand a Plan" petition for new gun laws. It is good to know how strongly they feel about tougher regulation. It would be even better if they would invest their know-how and wealth to create a new kind of gun control - the software kind.

How might this work? Start with locational "self-awareness." Guns should know where they are and if another gun is nearby. Global positioning systems can meet most of the need, refining a gun's location to the building level, even within buildings. Control of the gun would remain in the hand of the person carrying it, but the ability to fire multiple shots in crowded areas or when no other guns are present would be limited by software that understands where the gun is being used. Guns should also be designed to sense where they are being aimed. Artificial vision and optical sensing technology can be adapted from military and medical communities. Sensory data can be used by built-in software to disable firing if the gun is pointed at a child or someone holding a child. Building software into guns need not affect gun owners' desire to protect their homes. Trigger control software could be relaxed when the gun is at home or in a car, while other safety features stay on to prevent accidental discharges.

This is a truly amazing suggestion. If it didn't come from the USA I would have immediately regarded it as a spoof. Since the Connecticut massacre I have read all sorts of feeble attempts to avoid the irrefutable fact that the only way to stop people being shot is to get rid of guns, but this barmy idea has to take the biscuit big time. The writer's big idea is that the arms dealers in the USA only sell guns that refuse to fire if they are pointed at children or other "innocent" people. Considering that the "mad shooters" tend to be young, nerdy males I very much doubt that they will have any problem hacking such software. In fact, I expect it would add to the fun.



  1. Banning guns altogether would of course be out of the question because the gun manufacturers would lose profits and that would make the economy worse. However the software proposal is a good idea. It just doesn’t go far enough. Why not manufacture guns that don’t fire at all?
    The problem might get solved more effectively if the guns did fire, but only backwards. On the other hand I’m not American so I probably don’t understand.

  2. The young man, he did want to be tall
    Like his father, who thought he was small.
    But he hadn’t the bottle
    For a bare-handed throttle
    So he took down the gun from the wall.

  3. How do we define an, “innocent?” Whom is it the author thinks OK to shoot? The problem with protecting, children is that the author sees no inherent reason not to shoot adults.

    Smart guns may be possible ( I do not know ) but they will need smarter designers!


  4. I repeat. I am not telling anybody in any other country to ban guns. I am just stating that the only way to stop people being shot by guns is to ban guns. I am also saying that you all should STFU with your crocodile tears every time a load of children get shot with guns if you are not prepared to ban guns. A person who smokes all their life and gets terminal cancer has no grounds for complaint.

  5. Guns don’t kill people. People Kill people; but people with guns can kill lots and lots of people effortlessly (or actually only the effort it takes to pull a trigger).

    Other forms of weaponry either take musch more skill (as in bows and arrows) 0or a lot more effort (as in knives, clubs, or bare hands).