Could This Technology Be the Key to Preventing Accidental Child Shooting Deaths?

A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
July 12 2013 2:17 PM

Could This Technology Be the Key to Preventing Accidental Child Shooting Deaths?

guntech
A still from the Fund Safe Guns Indiegogo campaign

Screenshot via Vimeo

Crime is Slate’s crime blog. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @slatecrime.

Earlier this week a Tacoma, Wash., judge dismissed manslaughter charges that had been brought against a man named Eric Vita. Vita had been charged after his girlfriend’s son shot and killed himself in 2012. Vita had left a loaded gun under the front seat of a car while he stepped outside to pump gas.* While admitting that the incident was a tragedy, Vita’s lawyer insisted that “there's not evidence of a crime by my client.” The judge apparently agreed.  

Advertisement

I disagree. People like Vita whose negligence leads to the “accidental” deaths of children ought to be prosecuted for criminal negligence. Doing so would send a strong message that society will not tolerate lax gun safety when children are around, and would possibly serve to prevent other tragedies. Many jurisdictions disagree, which I suppose is to be expected. But I would hope everyone could agree that we need to find some way to guard against these tragedies.

Investing in better gun safety technology is one way to do it, and biometrics are one promising approach. A company called Safe Gun Technology has developed a biometric system that—if it works as well as the company claims—could go a long way toward reducing the number of accidental child shooting deaths in this country. Basically, the device is a fingerprint lock for guns. When you hold a gun that has been equipped with this device, it will read your fingerprints. If you are the gun’s owner, the gun will fire. If you’re not, it won’t. The company says the device can be retrofitted onto almost any gun.

The company is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to fund a prototype of a gun that is fingerprint-coded to its owner:

We need to raise $50,000 to retrofit a gun and build a market ready prototype of SGTi technology on an assault style rifle.  Any money raised will be solely dedicated to our engineering team who are experts in the field.  The SGTi engineering team will then use the money on the research and development, and refinement of the market ready prototype.

The campaign ends on Sunday, July 14. I think it’s a good idea. I’m sure there are some bugs—there always are—and I’m skeptical that gun biometrics will ever come close to universal adoption. But innovations like these should be the future of gun safety. Give the campaign a look and see if you think it deserves your support.

*Correction, July 12, 2013: This post originally stated that Eric Vita placed his gun on top of his seat.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.