Reading this article - http://www.news24.com/World/News/NRA-gun-lobby-urges-armed-guards-20121221 - got me thinking about the solution to gun control. In any debate there is always more than just two polar opposites, but that compromise solution is often overlooked in the rhetoric.
The two positions in this argument are: 1 - Tighten gun control, reducing access to guns [Counter argument: This just puts crriminals in a position of unopposed power]. 2 - Reduce gun control, and place armed guards at all schools [Counter argument: Armed guards would be shot first, and where does this approach end anyway?]
The real problem is this: we want people to be able to access guns for self-defence, but not be able to use guns for acts of violence. How do enforce such a flexible requirement? Obviously, not with the people, because all the crazy shooters have outwardly appeared normal.
Chris Rock posed an interesting suggestion in a comedy skit, proposing that all bullets be made restrictively expensive (thousands of dollars per bullet). I have an alternative suggestion: we focus on the guns.
We've already seen guns in sci-fi movies which respond to the fingerprints/biometrics of the shooters, so with biometrics so commonplace, why not take this aspect of scifi into reality?
I'd take it a step further, even. Firstly, I'd propose that private individuals would need to register for gun licences, and that their fingerprints would need to be encoded to their guns. Without their finger on the trigger, the gun wouldn't fire. What does this solve?1: No more kids shooting other kids by accident.2: No more having stolen guns being used in crimes (e.g. guns stolen from the police or private individuals during robberies)
That's a great *simple* system, with additional layers which could be added for more security (optical recognition?).
It doesn't end there, though. The real magic comes with my second proposal: for guns to be equipped with 'kill-switch' receivers.
What if, with this system, we had two or three phases?1: Phase 1 - 'gun free zones'. In gun-free zones (like schools), transmitters sent out a signal which disabled all guns in close proximity, except for those belonging to security officers and police with a higher clearance2: Phase 2 - 'disable' signals. If an authorised policeman triggers this signal, all receiving handguns except for those specifically excluded in the signal (e.g. for responding police officers dealing with a rogue security official in a gun-free area) are deactivated
Notes:- To prevent people from simply disabling their guns' receivers, you could encode guns to listen for a city-wide universal signal (proving that they can receive) without which they are disabled- When these guns are disabled, they could trigger an onboard flash-bang device which disables whoever is handling them- Fitting the guns with GPS receivers and transmitters will allow for them to report their position to authorised security officers
I'm not saying the system outlined above is fool-proof. It's just a suggestion regarding a fresh way of addressing the problem. It's a compromise system, which means that it's not designed to prevent every possible shooting or enable defensive shooting in every circumstance. The central proposition is that a compromise is generally better than either of the polar opposites most of the time ... and therefore should be implemented immediately.
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