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Outdoors Outpost
Smart Guns - Not So Smart People
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 • Posted March 12, 2014

There must be a psychological disconnect between reality and fantasy that occurs when people live with the constant risk of their land breaking loose from the continent and falling into the ocean. Or maybe it’s caused by continued mousse abuse. It could even be a malady brought on when too much surfboard wax is absorbed through the skin of the feet. Or something.

California, the country immediately west of the United States, seems to contain an overabundance of folks afflicted with this problem, and although it crops up in other parts of the country, there is evidently an epidemic in The Granola State. I’ve been leaving those poor, afflicted souls alone for a while now, but they keep asking, begging, pleading, with me to whack them on top of their styled hairdos with the baseball bat of common sense. I can resist only so long.

First (well, not first, but first in a recent sense) it was micro stamping. Someone with an impressive IQ who doesn’t have Clue One about guns decided it would help solve crimes if all guns would imprint a unique code onto each cartridge casing when it was fired. They managed to get a state law passed so all guns sold in California had to do that, which is finally about to be enforced. More or less.

This is a fantastic idea. In theory. But then, so was the idea the Aggies had to send a team of scientists to the Sun. They knew it was too hot for people to survive there, so they planned to go at night. Which makes far more sense than micro stamping.

I’ll briefly list the most obvious reasons why micro-stamping cannot possibly work, in no particular order.

One, people who want to commit crimes don’t have to use a gun that micro-stamps its primers. There are plenty of other guns available. Pick one. Or a thousand. Plus, revolvers are exempt from the law, so there’s that.

Two, criminals don’t have to leave their fired casings lying around on the ground. They can pick them up and carry them off. It’s easy. I’ve picked up spent brass myself, lots of times.

Also, criminals are not smart, but they’re smarter than guns. A clever bad guy could pick up some brass fired from someone’s gun, and then leave it at the scene of his crime, thereby making it look like a gun that was never there was involved.

Three, criminals can easily get firing pins from out of state, and replace the coded ones. Or just shoot a few hundred rounds, and the code is worn off. Or use a file for one minute. No more micro stamp. Or they can swipe someone else’s gun, use it in a crime, and then put it back, thereby misleading police.

Even if criminals don’t do any of that, and police find spent brass with the code, still readable, on the primers, so they know which gun was used, and even if they know who bought the gun, that does not prove the guy who bought the gun committed a crime. They still have to find the gun, or have a witness, or some kind of hard evidence.

So micro stamping is a fine idea in theory, but in practice it’s about as dumb as a submarine with screen doors. Even so, micro stamping is akin to rocket science compared to the concept of the ‘smart gun.’

In case you’ve been living in a cardboard box on the moon for the past few years, a ‘smart gun’ is a gun that works just like a regular gun, as long as it’s in close proximity to an electronic device that activates it. The common device is a wristwatch. Unless the gun and the watch are within, say, two feet of one another, the gun goes click. If that.

This is beyond ridiculous, despite what you may have heard from brilliant idiots. Brilliant because the system works at all. Idiots because it has more flaws than Obamacare. Well, almost.

One, batteries power the system. Nuff said there.

Two, if someone steals the gun, they can easily get the watch at the same time, thereby negating the idea of keeping guns out of the wrong hands.

Three, even if the rightful owner retains possession, his or her life may depend on computerized technology, which never, ever, fails. Right? Especially when you need it most. Right? Yeah.

Four, the cost of smart guns is prohibitive, which serves those who want to disarm us, not make us safe. I can’t afford one. Not that I’d buy one, but still.

And if the watch is damaged in any way, bumped against a doorway, say, or the ground, or a head as hard as mine, it can quit.

That’s a biggie, since records of incidents where people shoot at one another will tell you a lot of folks get shot in the hands during a gunfight. This is because we have a natural tendency to shoot where we’re looking, and when someone is pointing a gun at you, it’s hard not to look at it, whether they’re shooting or not. So a watch in a gunfight is in the line of fire, and when the watch is hit, you’re basically holding a rock. And it’s not a good idea to bring a rock to a gunfight.

The best way to make this incredibly stupid idea go away is for all of us to just say no. Don’t buy a ‘smart gun.’ As Jackie Gleeson said in ‘Smokey and the Bandit,’ “You can think about it, but don’t do it.”

Because the only thing dumber than a ‘smart gun’ is the guy holding it . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker whose guns are all dumb, and they all work just fine. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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