On the morning of December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot 20 six and seven year old children and six school staff. While much of the last year's debate has focused on the fact that a background check would not have prevented Adam Lanza from gaining access to the gun, personalized gun technology would have prevented the slaughter at Sandy Hook. Lanza was using his mother's guns, but he is not alone; more than half of youth firearm suicides are committed with an existing gun in the home.
Including all suicides, a youth, aged 0-19, is injured or killed by a firearm every 30 minutes in the United States. That is 50 children every day and 351 every week. Just consider for a moment -- every week in the United States, we have the equivalent of more than 17 classrooms of children killed or injured using a firearm. There is no question that smart or personalized gun technology would save many of those lives.
Smart/personalized gun technology works by restricting unauthorized use of a firearm. Prototypes include fingerprint recognition, RFID chips and magnetic rings. In addition to preventing child injuries and deaths, these technologies could potentially stop criminals from using any of the hundreds of thousands of guns stolen each year from households in the United States. Criminals would lack the incentive to steal a firearm with personalized technology because it would be useless in future crimes. As if those were not reasons enough, personalized gun technology could also prevent officers being shot in the line of duty by their own gun, which accounts for about 4% of officer homicides.
Personalized gun technology is like a seat belt for firearm owners. Using it keeps everyone on the road safer, no matter who it is that is being negligent. If I can keep my iPhone from being used by strangers, shouldn't I be able to keep my firearm's use private too?