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.