Handheld guns could soon have smart wireless chips that will be connected to a central network. These chips will be able to log every action that the firearm is subjected to. The data collated by these chips could easily be used to investigate injuries and fatalities by guns, or more particularly, by their owners.
For the time being, such wirelessly networked chips are being infused in the handle of a regular firearm of police officers working for the Texas and California Police Department. Yardarm, the company that produces these chips, makes it possible for them to communicate with a central server by transmitting data over standard, albeit secured, cell-phone network connection, reported Gizmodo.
The data transmitted by the smart chip includes the location of a gun and whether it has been un-holstered or discharged. Trying to embed some kind of orientation sensor, the company is even working to track the direction in which a gun is pointing. Using a handheld PDA or even a smartphone, the data, which is sent to the police dispatch system, can be viewed on-the-go as well.
The company had high hopes of making a consumer version of the smart chips and getting them embedded into the firearms that are legally sold in the United States. Unsurprisingly, considering the fierce aversion American gun owners have to technology or policies aimed at regulating firearms, the project failed even before it took off, lamented Jim Schaff, YardArm’s vice president of marketing,
“You have a social demand for smart gun technology, but not necessarily a market demand. a consumer product, it’s going to be a long road.”
In simpler words, Americans only want responsible smart gun technology when it is being fitted in the firearms possessed by the police, but strongly oppose the same when it comes to their guns. Hence, though the average American gun owner didn’t come hopping to Yardarm, law enforcement officials have shown keen interest.
Smart chips or technology that tracks officers’ actions are gaining gradual acceptance, primarily because police chiefs and officers have realized that the autonomously logged data can help clear them of wrongdoings, of which they are regularly accused. Moreover, the police departments could save tons spent on litigation costs.
Recall what a precedent dash-cams set for the police department. These miniature always-on cameras have helped chronicle all the events that transpired in front of a police officer’s cruiser. The makers of these smart chips are confident they will bring the same paradigm shift in case of firearms.
Though these chips are currently being embedded only in guns that belong to the law enforcement officials, gun related deaths are alarmingly climbing in the United States, and often, it becomes difficult to investigate the case with just circumstantial and sketchy eye-witness evidence. Perhaps if these chips are embedded into all the guns in the United States, gun related violence could significantly come down.
Do you support the idea of using this technology in all privately owned guns or do you think it violates the right to privacy and other Constitutional guarantees? Do you believe the chip would help reduce gun violence or will only law abiding citizens be affected, while criminals continue to commit their crimes?
[Image Credit | Yardarm]