Review of Gun Safety Technologies

Review of Gun Safety Technologies

Review of Gun Safety Technologies

Review of Gun Safety Technologies

Excerpt

Before proceeding with a discussion of the technology, an acknowledgment of firearms as unique among commercial products is warranted. Pulling the trigger to make the gun fire is the intended function of the product. Safety features in general, by their very nature, are intended to mitigate the risks associated with the use or misuse of a product, and so unintended injury or death due to accidental discharge, mishandling or misuse by an untrained or unauthorized individual such as a child, and other domestic tragedies are examples of incidents that advanced safety features might effectively address. Preventing the operation of an illegally possessed firearm for criminal purposes or against law enforcement—or outright deterring illegal acquisition of a firearm in the first place—are benefits that may also be addressed by advanced safety features.

Despite these potential benefits, the reliability of firearms with integrated advanced safety technologies has been cited as a concern regarding the potential performance and user acceptance of products that may incorporate such technologies. The underlying concerns about reliability could be anecdotally expressed in many ways, but can generally be described as skepticism of the technology due to a fear that such technology will cause the firearm to malfunction during a situation at the critical instant when a life-or-death decision has to be made. It is understandable that the existential weight associated with any hypothetical scenario involving the use of a firearm in the line of duty or in defense of oneself, family, or home could trigger such visceral concerns. Certainly, no safety feature will ever completely eliminate negative consequences due to human factors, malfunction, or criminal activity. The risks potentially attenuated by integrating safety technology may be weighed against any change in risks associated with the reliability of incumbent products . . .

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