Every iPhone has a 'Find My Phone' feature. Why doesn't every gun have a tracking technology that registers its movement?
What happened in Newton is the one of the saddest things that has ever happened in the United States. While the tragedy has led to unprecedented online chatter about gun control, that doesn’t mean that privately owned guns are going to be banned or new gun control legislation is going to happen anytime soon. There’s too much history, red tape and bureaucracy in our country. There are too many people who believe that the right to bare arms applies to their handguns and semiautomatic weapons that serve no useful purpose other than to kill. Gun control has been debated before and it will be debated again. But even if there’s new legislation, people who want to get their hands on a gun are going to find a way to get one.
We need to stop asking how a person ends up owning a gun or why they want to own one. Sensible people are never going to understand why someone would want a lethal weapon in their house, just like gun advocates are never going to back down that the second amendment gives them gun rights and the reason they want one is none of your damn business.
What if the question wasn’t how or why, but where?
When a psycho decides to commit a heinous crime, the location of a gun is more important than how or why they have the gun. Tragedies like the one in Newton happen when guns enter public spaces and no one knows a lethal weapon is around until it’s too late. Technology exists that could alert the authorities when a gun enters a location, such as a school or a mall, where it could be used to cause harm.
If guns were equipped with tracking technology, the kind that help you find your iPhone after you leave it in a cab, there would be a huge reduction in gun crime. Future tragedies could be prevented.
Even before tragedy struck, tracking would make an impact. People who know or think they’re being tracked would be less likely to commit a felony. People who steal a gun would hesitate to use it because they’re not sure it’s being tracked or not. In the case of people who don't care, like the psycho Adam Lanza, tracking would alert the authorities that a gun was dangerously close to a school and they could respond faster.
For tracking to work, not only would all new guns need to have the technology built in, all current guns would have to be retrofitted. This would take years. But from day one having a small number of guns being tracked would help reduce gun crime. There are about 200 million privately owned guns in the United States. In 2011, handguns killed over 10,000 people in our country. No matter which way you look at it, any action that reduces this number is a step in the right direction.
Is this a compromise to making privately owned guns outright illegal? Yes. But it's a realistic compromise and a sensible use of technology that already exists. While some people would call this type of tracking an invasion of privacy, I’d argue that it only impedes gun owners’ rights when they try to take a weapon into a place where it shouldn’t be. I’d also argue that if you choose to own a gun, there are certain responsibilities you have to be held accountable for. It’s like clicking the Terms & Conditions box on Facebook. You get some, you give some. Gun ownership needs to be a two-way street.
We have the technology. We use it in our fucking phones for chrissakes. It's time we use tracking technology to save lives. If guns were tracked, the how or why someone had a gun would matter less and the where someone had a gun would matter more.
The how and why people own a gun still needs to be better regulated, but adding a third factor to the equation would contribute to a reduction in gun crime and lead to fewer tragedies. Location matters.
Enough debate. Let technology do what it’s supposed to do. Make the world a better, safer place.