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Solving gun violence in the US in today's insane political climate requires a solution that makes it painless for everyone.

First that this idea even needs to be broached in the first place is ridiculous especially given the lack of clarity in the second amendment (eg it does not specify types of arms so that should be handled by laws not as a "do what you will free for all").

That said it seems there are some major elements that would be necessary to reduce gun deaths in the US and there are some obfuscating interests embodied in the NRA that must be sidestepped or accommodated in the solution.

Four main areas of focus jump out to reduce gun deaths:

1) "mass killings" (included in this would be the 2 or 3 person shootings as well as as Newtown or Aurora types)
2) Accidental shootings
3) Non-owner shootings (eg the shooter is not the owner of the gun)
4) "black market" trading

Added to these I would say the parameter that makes gun control legislation difficult is gun manufacturer revenue stream protection using the second amendment as a shill.

So what are the necessary parameters to make something happen vs. the absurdity of what is going to happen over the next few months in Washington:

1) Figure out a way that shifting policy creates more revenue for gun manufacturers so they get the NRA on board
2) Make sure that guns cannot be used in public places or by someone other than their owner

The Idea - Mandatory gun locks and universal kill switches.

On locks, all responsible gun owners have gun safes. Why not move the lock to the gun's trigger mechanism either with a combination code or biometric locks. That would prevent unauthorized use of the gun by anyone but the owner.

On kill switches, in the same locking mechanism put a chip and actuator that freezes the locking mechanism mentioned above when it receives a certain modulated radio signal.

If mandatory then all existing guns will have to be refitted with the new bolt mechanism creating revenue streams for the gun manufacturers and on all new guns they can charge more creating more revenue.



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    Jan 17 2013: I saw this the other day and it sums it up better than I can:

    You beat someone to death? What is wrong with you?
    You strangle someone to death? What is wrong with you?
    You stabbed someone to death? What is wrong with you?
    You shot someone to death? We better do something about guns.

    It's not about guns. It's about violence.
    • Jan 17 2013: ahhh...no actually killing 20 people inside of a minute or accidentally shooting your cousin in the head is about guns!!! Ever heard of someone accidentally strangling or stabbing someone to death? or mass stranglings and stabbings?

      "wait, hold on! don;t run away. I haven't finished strangling the first person yet."

      pithy, amusing, but basically an ridiculous (happy?) perspective.

      humans are violent. as evidenced by the way we continue to find more and more efficient ways to kill each other. How are you going to solve that? Put thorizine in the water?
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        Jan 17 2013: Right. What you don't seem to understand is that guns are just a tool. If somehow we could take guns away from the violent and mentally ill, they would simply find another tool. Guns are not the problem. Talk about imbecilic.

        Guns don't kill 20 people in a minute. Mental illness does. There are many many guns out there that have that capacity owned by normal people living in normal America. People are NOT running around shooting 20 people a minute just because they can.

        Maybe we should find out the cause of violence and address that. Then it would not matter if every house had a gun like every house has knives. (In my neighborhood, every house DOES have a gun-usually several)

        We already know how to begin to address mental illness. We know that people are violent when they are not safe, or there are not enough resources, or when there are too many people located in too small of a geographic area. How about we fix some of those things instead of getting rid of tools.

        About 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year. Let's get rid of cellphones. That would have a bigger impact than getting rid of guns.
        • Jan 17 2013: OK. let's try this really slowly. What are guns? Guns are force multipliers. Modern military hardware is specifically designed for area suppression which means given a nice tight grouping, like say a mall or concert, you can kill a hell of a lot more than 20 people in a minute.

          Force multipliers are generally nasty pieces of work. Some more advanced ones - fuel-air explosives, nukes, neutron bombs, mustard gas, VX, which if they get nasty enough everyone agrees to outlaw, eg the Geneva convention, especially if they are easy to use.

          No force multiplier = less dead people. (I noticed you also neatly avoided dealing with stabbing and strangling this time around which are not all that easy to do if you do not know what you are doing). See how fast someone goes down from a single knife wound.

          What you are calling the "cause of violence" is the natural state of all animal life. you see a lot of chummy interaction between sharks and seals? The cause is competition for and acquisition of resources specifically to produce calories (for muscles or cars, computers, etc.) so you can reproduce and create more mini-yous to go out and kill more stuff for more calories. The "mental" illness you are focused on is a small extreme microcosm of the systemically violent state of all life.

          Like I said (which you also neatly avoided answering) how are you going to stop violence?

          Also just curious - who said anything about getting rid of guns? (Restricting types of tools and their use is done all the time. Try using dynamite to dig a hole for your pool in the back yard and see what happens)

          I just said use technology to temporarily disable them where they are very dangerous. Your reaction is a typical knee jerk response that has little to do with what I said.
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        Jan 17 2013: Get over it Your car is a force multiplier. A hammer or wrench is a force multiplier. My Cuisinart is a force multiplier. And they are dangerous. You don't have an argument unless you want to ban (oh sorry, I mean 'control') cars, hammers, wrenches, food processors...

        I already posited what the cause of the violence is. You are the one that connected it to wildlife. If you really think that violence culls the herd, maybe we should arm people to get rid of the problems that cause violence simply by decreasing the population numbers. Like my neighborhood.

        And if that is what you think mental illness is, you need to learn a lot more before you expose any more of your ignorance.

        (By the by, I know exactly where to place the knife wound so the person goes down and does not get up again.)

        Violence is merely a symptom. You can't 'stop' violence. You can only address the underlying cause of the symptom. Or all you are doing is applying a bandaid (or administering Thorazine)
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        Jan 17 2013: Worn argument? Force multiplier came from your brain but I have an old argument?

        "Why exactly would you have a problem with a kill switch in a biometrically coded gun that temporarily deactivated the gun in a heavily trafficked or sensitive public place?" Who controls the kill switch, under whose authority and for what purpose? How do I prevent the rapist from buying one at Home Depot or from the DIY video on raping website? You can bet if the feds have it, so will the bad guys.

        You really should look stuff up once in a while. From Wiki "Culling is the process of removing breeding animals from a group based on specific criteria. This is done either to reinforce certain desirable characteristics or to remove certain undesirable characteristics from the group." From you, "The cause is competition for and acquisition of resources specifically to produce calories (for muscles or cars, computers, etc.) so you can reproduce and create more mini-yous to go out and kill more stuff for more calories." You will note that culling does not necessarily mean a process from without the herd itself.

        It is not always easier to put someone down with a gun than it is with a knife. You have less strike accuracy with a gun than you do with a knife. Depends on your purpose and choice of tool.

        Like I said. Do your homework on mental illness or do not attempt to argue. The ignorance is more blatant by the second. Violence is not mental illness but people with mental illness can manifest with violence as a symptom. I never said the underlying cause was violence. I said we need to find the underlying cause of violence. Please do your homework or expect to get called on it.
        • Jan 18 2013: worn argument is saying that there is no confluence between the individual and the tool and to only look at the tool, eg guns don't kill people, people kill people. a wrench kills people. really. rocks kill people too. that is your basic argument and it is a non-starter as it basically excludes an entire area of the solution space of the bat for no benefit other than your opinion of the constitution.

          the difference on the items you mentioned is guns are designed to kill. the other items were not. unless gun designers are really really bad at their jobs the premise you are starting with is a non-sequitur.

          Same tech as server encryption keys. It would require sophisticated signal matching and coding in the damper which would be extremely difficult for anyone to duplicate or crack, so unless you happen to have an Anonymous desk at Home Depot that is a non-concern, unless of course you are so far off the rails that you are actually worried about the US gov using it to deny second amendment "remedies" because all that weaponary would be really useful against a predator or a M1, right?

          I know what culling is. culling indicates the interaction between predator and prey or in husbandry removing undesirable traits. same result either way.

          No one except you is arguing about mental illness. If you really think that you are going to be able to put system in place to identify the "bad" people and only have the "good" people have guns you would need to find specific genetic markers in individuals to "predict" their behavior. Which is the greater affront to liberty? Being able to disable weapons in certain instances or universal genetic testing?

          By the way that would not have prevented Newtown since his mother owned the guns.
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        Jan 17 2013: OK here is what I think we should do. If you create a square and look at all the steakholders (this is a little simple but illustration purposes) Imagine two lines creating four boxes.

        ...............Good People | Bad people
        guns.............................. |
        no guns..........................|

        and imagine that we can move both the (somewhat) vertical and horizontal line. We want to maximize good people with guns and maximize bad people with no guns. So you see, there is only way to strike a balance. To favor one or the other will take guns away from good people or give guns to bad people.

        So one way to address this would be to make sure that only good people can purchase weapons and that each and every person who purchases a weapon is trained and has the proper ability to keep the weapon out of the hands of the bad guys. So I think every gun owner should go through training with documentation of secure storage before being allowed to own a gun. And be liable for misuse or loss if not reported.

        Of course the bad guys can ship them in, but that would mean law enforcement would have to be adequately manned and supported.

        This is where regulation becomes important. But the regulation should not be about whether or not people should have guns but how to keep guns out of the hands of bad people.

        Think about it. In all cases where there were mass killings the perpetrators had ACCESS to weapons. They did not always own them.

        The guns at Sandyhook belonged to the guys mother. What was she thinking? She knew her boy was struggling yet she kept that kind of firepower in the house. She needs to be in jail.

        There should be at LEAST two levels of security for each weapon and three levels of security for ammunition. My kids could pick trigger locks in grade school.
        • Jan 18 2013: she's dead.

          so every argument you just made argues for moving the lock onto the gun either biometric or punch code. So what is your problem with the original idea?

          good people. bad people. so no good person ever becomes bad? what is the rate of relicensing for training and confirmation of secure lock-up and how have you satisfied those who want to make sure this does not happen again?

          your solution really only satisfies one set of stakeholders, the "good" gun owners...you. it ignores the messy donnybrook reality is.

          What you are ignoring is 50% of the country does not own a gun and does not want to own one or to get shot by one. They do not want to take yours away. They just want to make sure that a disaffected individual (which mat or may not be mentally ill) cannot take an assault rifle into a mall or office building and fire away.

          you really need to let the mentally ill thing go. many mass killers have not fit any of the recognized sociopathic disorders. this is not just about mental illness. it might make you feel better to constrain the problem in these ways because it fits your desired solution but things are not that simple and clear cut.
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        Jan 18 2013: You can always override a killswitch. Either from the beacon or from the receiver. Just a matter of blocking a signal. Simple.
        • Jan 18 2013: no. signal jamming in modern DSP requires matching the frequency hopping (which, weird factoid, Heady Lamar invented during the war) which in any sophisticated system has had in place since the 40's. that is not an insignificant task with civilian equipment. also since I think the 70's systems pick up the frequency jamming and change the inputs to their "random" hopping algorithm so you basically need a system that matches and jams and then does it all over again second by second.

          Matching and jamming an encrypted system with frequency hopping response is...well I know quite a few EE's and I doubt any of them could do it. I guess you could try broad spectrum jamming, but again the chip can be programmed to go into auto shutdown in that circumstance.

          the easiest way around it would be to custom build the whole firing mechanism and replace it.

          no solution is perfect, but hopefully each one incrementally improves the results. the point of this one is to make it more difficult to go from a standing start to killing people. nothing is solved in one step. I am merely suggesting that as first step we can buy ourselves some space and time by getting a market-solution band-aid in place that accommodates primary stakeholders/power brokers while we try and see how to solve the problems you mention.

          if you try and tackle this with a "silver bullet" (pun intended) or by only satisfying one set of stakeholders it is just going to go nowhere fast.
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        Jan 18 2013: Let me explain it slowly. Guns are not electronic. They are mechanical. With no chips anywhere. So that means that you would have to have some type of kill switch that interfered with a mechanical device.

        This would require the switch to have some type of power source to move something. The usual power source for some type of electronic kill switch (encrypted system with frequency hopping response) is a battery. Even if you weld the battery into the gun somehow, you can bet any smith worth his weight will be able to override or disengage it or simply swap out the part. Or the gun owner can drain the battery or short out the system so the battery just dies. The cheap and easy way to block the receiver would be to wrap the part of the gun containing the switch in some type of heavy metal shielding. Oh wait, guns ARE heavy metal.
        • Jan 18 2013: did you bother to read the idea?

          yes a smith can swap out the firing mechanism. my bet is there is a way to design it that would make the tolerances such that it would not be easy to do. regardless how many gunsmiths do you know that are batty enough to shoot people?

          the point at this stage it to block and tackle. buy some room and time. just make it more difficult to decrease the rate of incidence until a real solution can be put it place. this has to be done in a phased approach. trying to solve it in one shot is biting off too much to chew.

          even if as you suggest you can somehow separate the good from the bad the amount of time it would take to have an effect would be on the order of a decade. there is no quick fix because there are too many vectors affecting the outcome. a serious misstep at this stage could derail any solution. therefore short term solution must be put in place to reduce the rate of incidence and then mid-term solutions until the long term solution can be found. that is how complex issues get resolved positively. other approaches generally result in less than optimal outcomes.

          it is an electronic locking system. cutting the power source automatically locks it.
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        Jan 19 2013: I know perhaps in your part of the world power is not an issue. I know a lot of people who don't have electricity who hunt for food. I guess you could power it from a cigarette lighter but some people don't make it through the winter if the hunt is unsuccessful;. There are enough problems with guns jamming from poor design let alone some electronic chip malfunction out in the woods. Or heaven forbid your batteries run out!

        It doesn't solve anything and complicates the heck out of what is already in place. It won't buy time but a bunch of smiths would make a lot of money overriding chips. I do know a few who would do it in a heartbeat. They understand real life.
        • Jan 19 2013: you are inverting how such a switch would function. power would be required to activate the gun not deactivate the gun. deactivated would be the basis state. power requirements would very low on the mW scale. regarding maintaining it, you clean your, you charge your battery. also maybe you only do it with certain weapons and leave single shot hunting rifles or revolvers out of it. (actually realistically you would have to target high-priority weapons anyway given the range of product out there. maybe mental health or public health solution solve something before it becomes fully universal)

          as noted point is not whether it works universally but whether it reduces the rate of incidence over the short term.

          one question on gunsmiths though. advanced glocks have biometric safeties. are any of the gunsmiths you know able to bypass those? if not or not easily then there is no argument on your end. a kill switch would be integrated directly into the lock. I think your idea of what can and cannot be done with modern DSP and encryption is a bit out of date. the biometric locks are already to this stage anyway so any new gun could easily have this.

          one other thing is this would take a big smart team about a year or 2 to solve. the biggest design issue is refitting. If your gunsmiths are making a lot of money from refitting guns with such systems what is their incentive to disable it other than being paid more to do so which if it were illegal would make disabling riskier. if you are making 100K off refits why would you risk jail time and penalties to do something that might end in someone being killed?

          as a noted to another commenter these systems have already existed for quite some time on defense systems we sell to other countries. this is not an unachievable technology.

          also just think about this like the finger in the dike. are you also opposed to owner locks on the guns in general?
        • Jan 19 2013: also am not sure that it would be worth the time to institute refitting in ex-urban areas. majority of deaths are in urban areas. only about 16% of the population lives outside urban areas and by 2020 that will be less than 10%. Right now 40% of the US population lives in the ten top urban areas.

          think most of the people you know could simply be left out of it through exemptions, no?
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      Jan 20 2013: Rob, your proposal to "refit" all weapons is as ridiculous as your responce to Linda who has among others outlined the REAL issue. You and so many others are way too eager, as usual when ever there is an incident of extreme violence involving a weapon, to grab at a detail as obscure as what the severely mentally disturbed person was wearing. Infact, refitting all weapons is impossible especially as an effort to stop or even curtail violence commited WITH firearms not by firearms. The enormous amount of money required to accomplish this and the incredible amount of faith you put in the systems and people required to put this measure in place is at face value absurd. Restricting who gets access to weapons as well as what type of weapons are available to the public at large is the best first step in support of other measures like comprehensive mental health care. Additionally, we need to take a very close look at the pharmaceutical companies and their products when gathering the information needed to make any reasonable proposals in an effort to bring these horrible crimes to an end.
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      Jan 24 2013: The first three you mentioned are a lot harder to actually commit, I'd say. This shows that there may be some belief that guns are easier to use to hurt people. Perhaps actually less violent? It may have some significance in our discussions even though we ought not to lose sight of the violence involved, like you said.

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