By Dean Weingarten
Home school student Chris Gaither, 11, was alone Wednesday morning when he heard a noise. Someone had broken into his house and walked upstairs.
Gaither said he was scared, but wanted to be prepared so he grabbed a nine-millimeter hand gun.
“When he was coming down the stairs, that’s when he told me he was going to kill me, f-you and all that,” Gaither said.
The pistol would not have been useful to Chris Gaither if it had been rendered useless by “stupid” gun technology.
While children using guns defensively are a small fraction of defensive gun uses, they are far more common than gun accidents involving children.
The reasons are clear and simple. Most children who have guns in their home have responsible adults who teach them the safety rules, keep the guns under control when the children are young, and teach the children to shoot when they are old enough to understand.
Mandated “smart” but actually “stupid” gun technology is meant to shortcut this time tested and effective method of gunproofing children. It will only affect those who need it least, those who are the most responsible in society. Gun owners who are meticulous about obeying laws are some of the most responsible members of society.
We know this from data about gun carry permit holders. They have gone to some trouble to obey the law. Police commit crimes at a rate of 6-10 times as often(pdf) as concealed carry permit holders.
Most small children who are shot are shot by adult males who are irresponsible. Most older children that are shot are members of criminal gangs. “Stupid” gun technology will not stop those accidents or shootings.
A day later, on April 28th, 2016, from the opposite end of the age scale and across the country in Washington State, an 80-year-old woman defended her husband from a man who had just stabbed him. From heraldnet.com:
The woman's husband was taken by helicopter to Harborview Regional Medical Center in Seattle for treatment of stab wounds.
The man who reportedly broke into the home, 25, of Gold Bar, died at the scene.
“At this time, detectives do not believe the suspect was known to the residents of the home and that this was an attempted home burglary,” Ireton said in a press release.
The woman was not injured. The same was true for the couple's son, 45.
It is likely that a “stupid” gun would not have allowed the 80-year-old wife to defend her husband.
“Stupid” gun technology means that a person who buys a “stupid” gun will not be able to teach their minor children to shoot. It means that guns will not be available to people other than their owners (at best) to shoot for training or self defense. It means that “stupid” guns will become vulnerable to electronic countermeasures such as jammers and “stupid” gun detectors, not to mention battery failure.
“Stupid” gun technology is designed to prevent a gun from firing. It is meant to change the default condition of a loaded gun from ready to not ready.
Guns are simple devices that have become amazingly reliable over 500 years of mechanical evolution. You do not hear a cry for “Stupid” guns from gun owners, because gun owners see a great many disadvantages, and almost no advantages.
Simple mechanical systems that prevent guns from firing unless held by the owner have existed for nearly 20 years. They have not caught on, except for a small, specialized, market. They are far more reliable and effective than “stupid” gun electronic circuitry and software mandated by government fiat. The mechanical system does not use batteries.
The people pushing for “Stupid” gun technology are not gun owners. They are disarmists. Because they are not the ones who will be relying on a gun in a defensive situation, they have no problem with mandating unreliable, overly complex guns that end users do not want. After all, “Stupid” gun problems will not be their problems. To a disarmist, any measure that reduces gun effectiveness is a plus.
Disarmists see guns as a problem instead of a solution. They refuse to believe evidence that guns are a net plus for civilization. Most of them have made the decision not to be armed themselves. They see guns in the hands of other people as a risk. Niccoló Machiavelli understood this dynamic very well in 1537. From “The Prince”:
There is no comparison whatever between an armed and disarmed man; it is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed will obey willingly one who is unarmed; or that any unarmed man will remain safe…. – Niccoló Machiavelli, The Prince. 1537.
Many disarmists have consciously put the responsibility for their defense in the hands of the state. This does three things. It makes them fearful and resentful of armed people who have not shared their naive decision. Disarmists flinch from any suggestion that the state might do them harm or be less than beneficent, because it suggests that their judgement is faulty. They refuse to accept that guns in the hands of peaceful, responsible owners help to protect them, because that would mean they, the disarmists, are less than socially responsible.
By requiring everyone but the state to be disarmed, they remove the nagging double about their choice, because the choice can be legitimized under the cover of choosing to obey the law.
“Stupid” guns are a technological subset of the desire to disarm those who have not chosen to be disarmed. It is not supported by those who will carry its burdens, and it is unlikely that any benefits will result from its mandate. Smart gun owners do not care if “stupid” guns are brought to the market.
“Stupid” gun technology has failed repeatedly. Armed members of society fear government mandates of “stupid” gun technology. They see it as a solution in search of a problem; a “solution” that is likely to be abused. It is not wanted by the police or military for the same reasons.
States with disarmist legislators have demonstrated their desire to impose such mandates. New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, and New York come to mind.
Disarmists do not want people to be able to choose to be armed or unarmed. They want the state to make that choice, and they want the choice to be disarmed.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.