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December 16, 2012

Could latest tragic mass shooting prompt renewed consideration of "smart gun" technologies?

Like so many others, I have been struggling to come to terms with the largely incomprehensible and horrifically tragic mass murder in Connecticut on Friday.  And the struggle has not been especially aided by another round of the same old debates over the politics and practicalities of gun control and over the so-called "gun culture" in the United States.  But a helpful reader reminded me of my posts nearly five years ago here and here about the prospect of smart-gun technologies being a possible frontier for a better gun control discourse.

Because I am not well-versed on gun manufacturing or the modern devises that now control and monitor smart phones and smart cars, I still cannot readily discuss what kind of engineering might have allowed Adam Lanza's mother to buy all the guns she wanted without making it so easy for her son to murder her and so many innocent teachers and children with her guns.  But I have an inkling that most (all?) legal gun purchasers — and surely all law enforcement agencies — would love to have guns that, through some sort of advanced technological means, would become disabled if pointed toward the authorized owner and/or would not function in certain regions and/or would not fire more than a single shot without a special user code. 

Rather than go on and on as I did years ago concerning the seeming value (and failure of) advancing smart-gun technologies with the help of modern GPS tracking, I will close here by linking to my old posts on this topic and by encouraging readers to supply links to any new (or old) discussions of new gun technologies.

Prior posts from way back in February 2008:

UPDATE:  For clarity, I wanted to add that I fully recognize that smart-gun technologies would surely not eliminate all (or even most) gun crimes or harmful/illegal uses of firearms.  But I do think advanced gun technology could and should reduce misuse and harms, just as smart car and related safety technologies have reduced the number and severity of car accidents.

December 16, 2012 at 04:44 PM | Permalink

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If technology can be employed to help prevent this sort of thing, all the better. But we all know that 100% prevention is impossible and will never happen -- the technology that can be invented can be defeated. Accordingly, the real question raised by the Newtown massacre is what punishment should be available when (1) prevention efforts fail and (2) the shooter is captured and brought to book.

The question of punishment hasn't surfaced in the media, however. Partly, the reason for this is that the shooter is dead, so punishment is a moot point. But there is another part -- a part liberals are far less eager to talk about.

That part is the death penalty. If a killer like Adam Lanza is captured and determined to be legally sane, how could any sensate person believe that his jury should be completely banned from considering the death penalty? But a Connecticut jury would be so banned, because of a law enacted earlier this year.

It might well be time to reconsider the use of technology in trying to prevent this sort of horror. But it is surely time for the shameful Connecticut legislature to reconsider its elimination of the only penalty that even remotely fits the crime.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 16, 2012 5:13:12 PM

I highly doubt that any mass shooter of this ilk is going to be at all deterred by the death penalty, any more so than any Jihadist is likely to be. While the media is generally a ridiculous and idiotic lot, I think that there is more here to their quiet on the death penalty than its mootness in this particular instance.

AO

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Dec 16, 2012 5:57:42 PM

This type of killing has no motive of gain, only completely irrational vengeance of some kind. That irrationality is not the result of criminal intent in the usually accepted meaning of the term, but of mental disturbance. The call for the death penalty might similarly be explained by a completely irrational craving for vengeance. Whether this can be explained by mental disturbance I leave others to judge. The call for more gun control is at least an effort to reduce the opportunity for both their criminal use and availability in circumstances where an individual loses self-control through mental instability. The motive is therefore one that should be widely supported. I have no faith that the technologies discussed by Prof Berman would be developed within a timespan to have any noticeable effect on the damage caused by widespread gun ownership in the US. Who will enforce the substitution anyway? Rather than accept that society will always be at war with itself, isn't it time to take measures that give a chance at a more peaceful future?

Posted by: peter | Dec 16, 2012 5:59:35 PM

Although if I understand your argument correctly, it is that the DP is helpful here not because of its preventive capability, but because it "fits the crime." I'm not sure what that means, and I've never quite understood it. If by that you mean that killing the perpetrator will make us feel better, then I suppose one is welcome to do so, though I don't view it as shameful for a legislature to decide that this urge may be more pathological or immature than sound policy. This sounds like revenge, though I know that much retribution literature has tried--in my view, in vain--to cast revenge in some more noble light. There are neurobiological reasons why we are so attracted to revenge, and why it makes us feel so good, but it surely is a reasonable option for a legislature to deprive us of the pleasures of revenge, just as surely as a conservative might feel that legislatures can deprive homosexuals of their pleasurable but immoral ways.

AO

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Dec 16, 2012 6:05:07 PM

The best is the enemy of the good. For all of its problems, and without any claim to originality I join in the following proposals(1) a re-instatement of the ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of assault weapons; (2) a ban on the manufacture sale and possession of magazines or clips of more than 10 rounds; (3) the establishment of a buy-back program--with the government offering (without any questions asked) $1,000 cash for each assault weapon turned in ; and $500 for each magazine. We would have to work out the mechanics for dealing with stolen weapons!!

Posted by: onlooker | Dec 16, 2012 6:41:08 PM

Prof. Berman thank you for your intelligence in not calling for restrictive gun laws. Conn. has them. And you know I strongly support technology. We have gun locks and safes for guns. We do not have smart bombs, axes, swords,which people have used for mass murders.


What we have is the mentally ill person. Instead of killing them before they kill us, instead of forcing them into effective treatments,the lawyer profession protects, mitigates, empowers them. That is why many lawy ers must die before we get to to them and public safety, around 15,000 members of the hierarchy of the internal enemy. Rest assured, everyone here is safe once payback begins.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 16, 2012 6:44:37 PM

The best we can do is reduce the risk of crimes like this. I would suggest that we license guns and gun users. Require gun owners to carry liability insurance for each gun they own. The cost of all of this should be borne by gun owners. Sound familiar? This is what we do with automobiles and already have the basic machinery to carry out. It is familiar to all people and fairly well accepted as workable. What's more it would reduce the risk if managed properly.

Posted by: Tom McGee | Dec 16, 2012 7:22:27 PM

Slightly more than 80% of the country supported the death penalty for McVeigh. See http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001-05-03-mcveigh-poll.htm

Indeed, as anyone can see from that poll, a majority of those usually opposed on principle to the DP supported it for him. That is what happens when people are actually willing to keep an open mind and adjust their thinking in light of different facts.

The Newtown shooting is in some ways not as horrific, and in some ways more horrific, than McVeigh's crime. It is therefore highly likely that at least 80% would support the DP for it, had the killer not committed suicide.

Brushing past all this, peter and AO, in a display of a superior attitude and a casual condecension toward the great majority of Americans who find their indugent opinions erroneous, claim that it's only some psychological disturbance that produces support for the DP.

This is just so typical of the fruitcake left. Being vastly outmanned makes no difference. The incredibly grotesque facts of the crime make no difference. The only thing that makes a difference is their "knowledge" of their own vast intellectual and moral superiority.

I wonder if they even hear themselves.

Washington, Lincoln and FDR not only believed in, but used, the death penalty. Of over 100 Supreme Court Justices, only 4 have taken the view that the DP is per se cruel and unusual punishment -- and none on the current SCOTUS. But when you're as arrogant, pigheaded and oblivious as peter and AO, that won't make any difference either.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 16, 2012 8:35:02 PM

Tom McGee --

If the Newtown child killer had been captured and found sane, would you support allowing the jury to consider imposing the death penalty?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 16, 2012 8:41:45 PM

I grew up in Newtown and I still live there now, so believe me when I say that I take this very seriously.

But none of the suggestions I've heard would have prevented this massacre. Not limiting the size of magazines, mandating permits for all firearms, liability insurance or banning assault weapons.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Dec 16, 2012 9:08:51 PM

MikeinCT --

Correct. There may be measures that could reduce the availability of deadly weapons, but preventing episodes like this is simply not possible. If a guy is determined to do it, and willing to kill numerous of his fellow creatures in cold blood, he isn't going to be stopped by technological means or registration requirements.

I can't imagine what it must be like to live in Newtown just now. I'd be interested in your observations about that should you care to post about them, either here or on Crime and Consequences.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 16, 2012 9:22:47 PM

Bill,

You are just absolutely unwilling to believe that any belief goes anything deeper than being pure and legitimate. I think this is just a denial, or perhaps complete ignorance, of decades of scientific discoveries about the brain. What would convince you? How many widely-held beliefs (racism, homophobia, anti-semitism) which garner a majority of a population's view--particularly that population's most conservative members--have to be shattered and explained scientifically and sociologically before you are willing to give an ounce of credence to the lessons of those disciplines, if you are even aware of them.

We teach our children not simply to punch another child when wronged, and to refuse to succumb to the temptation to harm just to feel better. Why is that lesson good for kids, and not for adults? And what is your criteria for proper belief or behavior? Is it just that a majority subscribes to it? How would you have reacted if, 100 years ago, someone had suggested that widely held beliefs about Jews or blacks or homosexuals were products not of collective rationality or prudence, but of now well-understood psychological and neurological phenomenon. I suspect you would deride him.

Also, I would think that the legislature's dispassionate, calculated decision would get some more respect than in-the-moment, passionate feelings about a particular killer. We don't legislate, or at least we shouldn't, based on how people feel in individual cases. We legislate based on sound policy.

I am not holier-than-though. I myself feel so much better when I can hurt those who hurt me. I love to see bad people suffer. I just can't explain why, or why that is a good thing. And I am unwilling to legislate my feelings as policy, any more than I'd legislate having sex with whomever I want whenever I want merely because I strongly feel that I want to, and that it would make me feel a lot better about life.

AO

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Dec 16, 2012 9:27:32 PM

In response to your question to Tom McGee, I would be in favor of the death penalty if someone told me what it's purpose was. Is it to deter? OK, if there is evidence to support that, fine. Is it to incapacitate? OK, if there is evidence to support that, fine. Is it to make us feel better? Well, then I ask why. It is not enough that it make me feel better. Lots of good and bad things do. I need more than that.

AO

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Dec 16, 2012 9:29:18 PM

AO --

"In response to your question to Tom McGee, I would be in favor of the death penalty if someone told me what it's purpose was."

Then you're about to be in favor of the death penalty, because I can tell you that its primary purpose is to provide just punishment for particularly vile or heinous murders.

Let me just pause here to ask whether you are morally or intellectually superior to Washington, Lincoln and FDR, all of whom supported and used the death penalty. Are you?

"Is it to deter? OK, if there is evidence to support that, fine."

The majority of recent studies show that it does deter; a minority take the opposing view. See http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-2911428.html

"Is it to incapacitate? OK, if there is evidence to support that, fine."

The evidence is too obvious to have to state, but since you asked, I will: An executed killer is a killer who quite certainly won't do it again. The same cannot be said of a non-executed killer. See https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/395/395.F3d.979.01-99011.html (Wardlaw, J.).

"Is it to make us feel better? Well, then I ask why."

Normal people do not rejoice at death, but they do feel satisfaction at justice.

P.S. Your blase' dismissal of such the large majority of your countrymen and women who support the DP as the unwashed masses who are Not Up To Your Highly Advanced Learning shows, not education, but garden-variety arrogance.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 16, 2012 10:36:31 PM

Bill,

“Let me just pause here to ask whether you are morally or intellectually superior to Washington, Lincoln and FDR, all of whom supported and used the death penalty. Are you?”

Ridiculous argument on so many levels. First, I don’t think Washington, Lincoln or FDR had access to scientific evidence that questioned the nobility of our inclination to punish for retributive reasons. So I don't quite see the point of the question, any more than asking whether I think myself superior to some other ancient genius merely because I interpret evidence unavailable to them and reach a different conclusion. Second, that I may not be morally or intellectually superior to the giants that preceded me does not mean I can’t occasionally have that rare morally superior inkling on a single issue. For instance, though many of our great founding fathers supported or tolerated slavery, I never found the matter at all tolerable. Perhaps I should reconsider that arrogant position.

“The majority of recent studies show that it does deter; a minority take the opposing view. See http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-2911428.html.”

Fine. I have no sentimental attachment to any particular view of the DP. You may in fact be right. I’m surprised, however, that you would cite evidence to me. I could of course, as you suggest I do, discard your evidence and simply rely on my intuition, or the collective views of my peers. But I doubt you'd have my follow your own advice. Indeed, perhaps you have me all wrong. Perhaps I have the humility to consider evidence, and not merely disregard it entirely, especially when it calls into question one of my own long-held beliefs.

“The evidence is too obvious to have to state, but since you asked, I will: An executed killer is a killer who quite certainly won't do it again. The same cannot be said of a non-executed killer. See https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/395/395.F3d.979.01-99011.html (Wardlaw, J.).”

Again, fine. I think you made the error—evident in the way you phrased this—that I necessarily disputed the assertion. I have no sentimental attachment to my views, no matter how many people subscribe to them. They are not impervious to evidence.

“Normal people do not rejoice at death, but they do feel satisfaction at justice.”

They feel satisfaction when others who have caused suffering then suffer themselves. It is not apparent to me why they should, or why this is a good thing. Many of us teach our kids that it is not. Which is why I began to read about the issue, and how I came upon that terrible scientific literature.

“P.S. Your blase' dismissal of such the large majority of your countrymen and women who support the DP as the unwashed masses who are Not Up To Your Highly Advanced Learning shows, not education, but garden-variety arrogance.”

So ad hominem and unreasonable, but I’ll take a stab at a response. You avoided my own question, though. Have you ever even read any of the scientific literature about retribution? If you have, have you even considered why retributive punishment activates the very same portions of the brain that give us the knee-jerk desire for revenge, even at something or someone not morally blameworthy (or are those damn MRI machines also too elitist to be trusted)? I suspect the answer to both questions is no. Your arrogance, then, if I am to engage in this line of argumentation, is the absolute refusal to subject your own views to critical analysis, and the belief that infallibility can be found in numbers (so long as those numbers are not so-called intellectuals or liberals or the world at large, but limited to the U.S.). The arrogance that I have seems to be that, given a gut feeling I have, I actually question that feeling and read an article or two. Apparently, I’d be less arrogant if only I did not question my own feelings and completely ignored any scientific information that contradicted my view, and just trusted conventional wisdom. How in the world does that make any sense?

Incidentally, you never answered how many long- and widely-held beliefs about emotionally charged subjects must be shown, by science or otherwise, to be incorrect before you might be willing to accept the possibility that even one of your own such beliefs might also be incorrect. Of course, you could never discover that it was incorrect if you dismissed any contrary view, regardless of the evidence.

Finally, given your uncritical deference to public opinion, I was curious how you decided that CT’s legislature’s decision was shameful, or the decisions of many other countries similarly shameful. If a majority of those in CT or in those countries believe something, isn’t it entitled to total deference on your view? Who are you, in your arrogance, to tell billions of people otherwise?

AO

Posted by: AnonymousOne | Dec 17, 2012 12:15:48 AM

Bill, you asked if I would support the death penalty in this case. I would have to know much more about the situation before answering your question. By the way, punishment is the concept of a whole category of strategies that are designed to hold offenders accountable. It is not an objective in itself.

I believe your response to all of this is intuitive, not reasoned. Thats Ok. About seventy percent of our decisions are intuitive. Our intuitions work pretty well most of the time. This is what cognitive scientists call System 1. But sometimes our intuitions really miss the mark. Shift to reasoning in this case, which is what cognitive scientist call System 2. Slow down and wait for all of the facts. Surely there is more to this case than we know now.

Posted by: Tom McGee | Dec 17, 2012 1:27:06 AM

Bill: You know me. I want 10,000 executions a year to eradicate the violent criminal birth cohort every year.

That being said, I have to point out, retribution is from the Bible and violates the Establishment Clause.

Deterrence is to punish someone to scare a total stranger, who may commit a crime in the future. That is so speculative, unfair, and a clear violation of Fifth Amendment procedural due process rights. It is egregious.

If either of these goals is ever mentioned at trial, the judge needs to call a mistrial. These self-evident points have never been made to my knowledge.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 17, 2012 1:52:44 AM

AO: The sole valid purpose of the death penalty is to expel the person from the world. It is a punishment for past behavior, true. However, that damage cannot be undone. Its greatest benefit is to protect the public safety from someone shown to be dangerous by repetitive crimes, or permanently defective.

If that is true, then it is needed in 10,000 cases a year, excluding the first year, where an additional 15,000 members of the lawyer hierarchy must be executed for their insurrection against the constitution. Any number up to 17,000 is symmetrical with the number of murders. As the number goes up, one should the murder rate go down beyond the number saved by advances in trauma care. This is not through deterrence, but through attrition, of the missing criminal.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 17, 2012 6:08:53 AM

DAB,

Your phone is not the only droid in your vicinity.

Posted by: anon | Dec 17, 2012 7:58:55 AM

Tom McGee --

"Bill, you asked if I would support the death penalty in this case. I would have to know much more about the situation before answering your question."

Let's do it this way: Lanza obviously planned and prepared himself to do this mass shooting, and then brought it off. Assume arguendo that he knew right from wrong and was able to conform his actions to the requirements of law (which are pretty minimal here -- don't kill a bunch of children).

Making those assumptions, should a jury be banned from considering whether to impose the DP? If you cannot answer that because you need more info, please specify what additional info you would need.

Let me also ask one other question that might illuminate your opinion of the DP: Over the last 30 years or so, has there been a single death sentence you supported? McVeigh? John Wayne Gacy? Ted Bundy? Anyone? Because if the answer is no, that would lead a person reasonanbly to suspect that you are indeed an abolitionist, but simply decline to say so, taking cover under what turns out to be a never-ending request for "more information."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 17, 2012 9:46:13 AM

AO --

It would be foolish for me to engage in a long discussion with a person who will not identify himself or give his credentials. When you do so, there will at least be the predicate for me to spend the amount of time needed. (My identity and credentials are well known, both here and on Crime and Consequences).

I'll just make very brief points.

First, you said, "I would be in favor of the death penalty if someone told me what it's purpose was." I then told you what its purpose is, to wit, to impose just punishment. I also provided documentation to support its subsidiary (but still important) purposes, deterrence and incapacitation.

If you were telling the truth, you are now in favor of the DP. Are you?

Second, the overall thrust of your argument is that science undermines what you regard as unthinking, reflexive or merely intuitive support for the DP as just gussied-up revenge.

That view is incorrect. Science can illuminate some questions relevant to the DP, sure, but cannot answer the ultimate question whether we should retain it. That is a normative, not a scientific, inquiry, as you could not help knowing.

But even if you were right in believing that science provides the answer, opposition to the DP would not ipso facto be justified. As you note, the science available now is more advanced than that available in (say) Lincoln's day. What you overlook is that science 50 years down the road might similarly provide insights lacking today; indeed, it might completely contradict what we think we know today. So even if one assumes that science at present argues against the DP (a huge assumption your argument nowhere documents), that merely leaves you on WHAT YOU YOURSELF have correctly insisted is shifting ground.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 17, 2012 10:50:22 AM

"I then told you what its purpose is, to wit, to impose just punishment."

No, I am not in favor of the DP on this count alone. You've merely stated what I question. I have reason to believe that "just punishment" devolves to revenge. Merely calling it "just punishment" doesn't tell me much. I have no idea what that is, or what it is supposed to mean, or how it is different than revenge.

"Science can illuminate some questions relevant to the DP, sure, but cannot answer the ultimate question whether we should retain it. That is a normative, not a scientific, inquiry, as you could not help knowing."

While that may be true, I do like, wherever possible, that my normative inquiries be informed by science. I use science to help control normative inquiries in situations where my own initial reaction often seems suspect, or at the very least puzzling. For instance, I might use science to help me explain why I have a revulsion to homosexuality despite that it causes me no harm and that, for much of the time I held that revulsion, I didn't even know any homosexuals.

"What you overlook is that science 50 years down the road might similarly provide insights lacking today; indeed, it might completely contradict what we think we know today."

That is no license to ignore science. I can only do the best I can. Given the number of widely held beliefs on emotionally charged subjects that have proven so incredibly wrong and immoral, I am always going to exercise skepticism, especially when my emotions are so strong. Science may change, and it may not, but I think it perilous to entirely ignore it on that ground alone.

AO


Posted by: AnonymousOne | Dec 17, 2012 11:25:17 AM

Bill

"Making certain assumptions, should a jury be banned from considering whether to impose the death penalty?"

Penalties are fixed before the fact by law makers, at a time when the problem is not fully knowable. They are designed to forestall crimes of a specific kind. They are imposed after the fact, thereby maintaining their credibility. Lawyers call them mandatory minimums. I believe the death penalty is cruel and unusual.

Punishments are fixed after the fact by judges, within a range that was established before the fact. After the fact the problem becomes fully knowable. Punishment is the concept of a whole category of strategies that are designed to hold the offender accountable. Capital punishment may not be cruel and unusual, depending on the nature of the problem.

A crime primes the jeopardy argument. That crime is the core part of a criminal offense, which is the base premise in the jeopardy argument. This argument is concluded with the proposition that the person in question is a a criminal offender who has a risk of committing another crime. It would be cruel and unusual to execute a person because of one's risk, because there are other viable alternatives for protecting the public.

Posted by: Tom McGee | Dec 17, 2012 11:38:19 AM

Tom McGee --

I did not understand your answer. In your second paragraph, you say, "I believe the death penalty is cruel and unusual." In the next paragraph, you say, "Capital punishment may not be cruel and unusual, depending on the nature of the problem."

You also don't answer the question I asked that would illuminate whether you are, or are not, an abolitionist. The question is: Over the last 30 years or so, has there been a single death sentence you supported? McVeigh? John Wayne Gacy? Ted Bundy? Anyone?

If your answer is "no," then, for any practical purpose, you are an abolitionist.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 17, 2012 12:50:07 PM

"But none of the suggestions I've heard would have prevented this massacre. Not limiting the size of magazines, mandating permits for all firearms, liability insurance or banning assault weapons."

I don't know what would have prevented this massacre & am loathe to be assured in either direction. If he was not able to as easily get off so many shots in a small amount of time, it is possible that less people would have been killed. I simply don't know.

I agree that it is unlikely "rampage killings" (as one article labeled them) will end with such regulations. A hunting rifle can be quite lethal in this situation. But, there is no panacea. It is about reducing harm. And, there very well might be ways to reduce harm. The "smart gun" technology on that front is interesting. It very well, in some cases, do some good.

The death penalty is particularly dubious since the people involved repeatedly involve deeply troubled individuals that even supporters of the punishment would likely admit (at least, a few members of the jury would) are not liable enough to warrant it, though worthy of a long time in prison or a mental hospital. Some are killed in the attempt. On the other extreme, all these claims about banning guns as a whole or repealing the 2A is misguided at best, asinine at worst. Not going to happen and society as a whole don't want it.

There is no panacea here but if some sane minds can use the time to do a bit of good, it will be appreciated. Meanwhile, the families and community will mourn.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 17, 2012 1:00:51 PM

On the death penalty front, also, not likely to deter either.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 17, 2012 1:02:06 PM

Bill

"I don't understand your answer."

If you think of the problem in a reasoned way, you will see that it unfold over a period of time. Reasoning is a serial process in contrast with intuition, which is associative. We penalize people for committing crimes, while we punish people for committing criminal offenses. These are two different ways of thinking about the problem as it unfolds. They are the two premises of a jeopardy argument. Our objectives with respect to each are different. People are able to make much better decisions if they think of problems in more than one way. For one thing, it causes us to access more information.

You ask of I support the death penalty. The answer is no. Do I support capital punishment? The answer is yes, in certain circumstances I do.

Crimes are wrong; offenses are bad. A criminal offense is a modifier-head conceptual combination. It is both wrong and bad; sometimes very bad as in this case.

Posted by: Tom McGee | Dec 17, 2012 1:28:44 PM

My memory is that when manufacturers proposed going with smart gun technology in the 1990s certain interest groups that oppose any regulations on guns pushed for a boycott of any manufacturer that sold smart guns and forced the manufacturers to back down.

Posted by: tmm | Dec 17, 2012 2:25:11 PM

@tmm
Colt spent millions on smart gun technology in the 90's but scrapped it after it proved to be far to fragile to be relied on.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Dec 17, 2012 3:22:01 PM

Many thanks, tmm and MikeinCT, for bringing the discussion back to the topic of the post. (Gosh knows there are plenty other posts on my blog in which the usual death penalty debate can unfold, and thus I was hoping to stay on the smart guns idea).

On the smart gun topic, I trust it is self-evident that technologies that did not pan out in the 1990s might be much more successful in the 2010s. That said, I know that there are likely lots of challenges to solving these issues via new technologies. But gosh, isn't this a better topic for exploration than the old debates over whether gun control helps or hurts the effort to decrease illegal gun violence?

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 17, 2012 7:20:50 PM

No

Posted by: peter | Dec 18, 2012 1:31:55 AM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB