Helmke on Childproofing handguns

The Paul Helmke at the Brady Campaign has a post about “childproofing” handguns. Let’s take a look: 

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, over 30,000 people were killed with guns in America in 2005. Of those, over 3,000 were children and teenagers, with almost 1,000 16 years-old or younger.

A little bit of research shows that of the 3027 firearms related deaths from the data Mr. Helmke cites, 822 were suicides, 1972 were homicides, 21 were legal intervention, 39 were undetermined, and only 173 were unintentional. While the 173 accidental deaths are certainly tragic, compare that to unintentional deaths from drowning (1120), fire (529), and motor vehicle (6781, more than twice the total number of gun deaths in this age group) and you will see that the percentage of accidental deaths is fairly low.

The dangerous curiosity of some children was tragically demonstrated by an incident in Indianapolis last weekend where a five year-old climbed to the top of a shelf of books in house, found his father’s gun with the magazine removed, but with a round in the chamber, took the gun upstairs to play and then shot and killed his four year-old sister.

If a parent can’t figure out to not leave a loaded handgun where a child can get it, mandating trigger locks isn’t going to cure that.

Another idea that is already the law in New Jersey – and which is now making its way through theCalifornia legislature – is to require that handguns be manufactured to operate only for an authorized user, employing technology already in use with door locks, personal computers, cell phones and credit cards.

While “smart” guns may be the law in New Jersey, no one is currently making them, and the law is not being enforced. Having a proximity lock on a laptop is not the same as a handgun. If the batteries die in my laptop lock, I am not going to be left defenseless. A software bug in my cell phone is not likely to get me killed.

As well as helping to make handguns childproof, this technology can also help make unauthorized handguns useless to gun thieves, gun traffickers, and those who attempt suicide with a gun.

 Childproof guns. Anything like the “childproof” pill bottles that only children can seem to get open?


Helmke on Childproofing handguns — 2 Comments

  1. The way the New Jersey law works is that the Attorney General can certify there’s a smart gun on the market. After he makes that certification, only that firearm may be sold in New Jersey. The law does make a provision for the AG certifying for law enforcement too, but he doesn’t have to.

  2. Pingback: Snowflakes in Hell » For the Children

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