Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

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Jorpho
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Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:38 pm UTC

Quite a long time ago I vaguely recall that some big lawsuit had been won against gun manufacturers, holding them accountable for all the accidentally wounded children, and that mandatory fingerprint trigger locks were right around the corner.

Whatever happened to those?

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby BlackSails » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:52 pm UTC

I never heard about this.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:51 pm UTC

I believe that the case you are referenced is very unrelated. I vaguely remember something similair but there are big differences. If anything, it was found the manufactuers can be held responsible for someone being injured by gun that has a mechanical failure.

That being said; finger print locks would be interesting if they could be made useful. Of course a lock with a key works just as well if you hide it...or god forbid store the gun safely if you have small children.(continues rant on the problem being stupidity).
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby dedalus » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:29 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:I believe that the case you are referenced is very unrelated. I vaguely remember something similair but there are big differences. If anything, it was found the manufactuers can be held responsible for someone being injured by gun that has a mechanical failure.

That being said; finger print locks would be interesting if they could be made useful. Of course a lock with a key works just as well if you hide it...or god forbid store the gun safely if you have small children.(continues rant on the problem being stupidity).

Presumably if you have a gun, you'd want to pull it out every now and then. And also presumably, accidents happen. And the problem with guns is that accidents can turn into fatalities so so easily. Though a lock doesn't make this entirely possible, it does prevent them a lot. The logic is a bit iffy here, but considering the large amount of accidental gun fatalities in the US, I think that there's definitely something to it.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:47 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:I vaguely remember something similair but there are big differences. If anything, it was found the manufactuers can be held responsible for someone being injured by gun that has a mechanical failure.
Sounds about right.

Of course a lock with a key works just as well if you hide it...
Ah, but then you can forget where the key is. In the case of an emergency, that gun's gotta be handy and ready to go! I guess.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:28 am UTC

Presumably if you have a gun, you'd want to pull it out every now and then. And also presumably, accidents happen. And the problem with guns is that accidents can turn into fatalities so so easily. Though a lock doesn't make this entirely possible, it does prevent them a lot. The logic is a bit iffy here, but considering the large amount of accidental gun fatalities in the US, I think that there's definitely something to it.


The first one is a reason a fingerprint lock is a cool idea.

I'm not really sure what you are getting at with the rest of that, I think we would all agree proper and safe storage of weapons is a good idea?

edit--
Sounds about right.


You realize that is vastly different from what you said in the OP? There is a big difference between gun malfunctions, and all accidental shootings.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:26 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:You realize that is vastly different from what you said in the OP? There is a big difference between gun malfunctions, and all accidental shootings.
Oops. I misread that somehow.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:15 am UTC

I had heard that the fingerprint triggers were unsafe for law enforcement. Random factors like sweaty fingers or a finger that slips out of the usual 'finger spot' on the trigger would cause the gun to not fire when it should. Essentially consumers decided it would be better to shoot people accidentally, than not shoot someone when you want to.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby BlackSails » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:24 am UTC

When you pull the trigger, you are shooting someone on purpose. Dont aim a gun at someone if you dont want to shoot them.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:02 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:I had heard that the fingerprint triggers were unsafe for law enforcement. Random factors like sweaty fingers or a finger that slips out of the usual 'finger spot' on the trigger would cause the gun to not fire when it should. Essentially consumers decided it would be better to shoot people accidentally, than not shoot someone when you want to.
So it's a problem with the technology, then? Someone should get on that.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Skraxt » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:59 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:When you pull the trigger, you are shooting someone on purpose. Dont aim a gun at someone if you dont want to shoot them.


This is akin to saying if people just wouldn't drive dangerously we wouldn't need airbags, the entire point of safety mechanisms is to prevent an accident from happening on that one rare occasion when someone does break the rules and do something stupid.

Edited for grammar.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby ThomasS » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

Skraxt wrote:This is akin to saying if people just wouldn't drive dangerously we wouldn't need airbags, the entire point of safety mechanisms is to prevent an accident from happening on that one rare occasion when someone does break the rules and do something stupid.

Airbags essentially never interfere with the primary purpose of operating an automobile. For police officers and people concerned with self defense, triggler locks of all sorts interfere with the primary purpose. I suppose that sufficiently advanced technology might eventually make fingerprint trigger locks sufficiently reliable in the field for police officers to trust them. Until that happens, policies of the sort being discussed here amount to blanket gun control under the color of saving lives.

If you really want to save lives, go lobby to reduce the speed limits and/or to install speed limiters on autos.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby BlackSails » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:56 pm UTC

Skraxt wrote:
BlackSails wrote:When you pull the trigger, you are shooting someone on purpose. Dont aim a gun at someone if you dont want to shoot them.


This is akin to saying if people just wouldn't drive dangerously we wouldn't need airbags, the entire point of safety mechanisms is to prevent an accident from happening on that one rare occasion when someone does break the rules and do something stupid.

Edited for grammar.


You cannot make sure you wont have a car accident. Even driving perfectly, you can still be hit, or your breaks can fail. You can make sure you dont shoot someone, with a very simple method. Dont ever point a gun at someone that you dont want to shoot.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby stevey_frac » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:26 am UTC

That works until you have not pointed the gun at someone, but a bullet ricochets off something else and nails someone.
Rare. But then, so are brake failures.

And that's still not a problem fingerprint trigger locks solve really.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby CHR1110 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:55 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Skraxt wrote:
BlackSails wrote:When you pull the trigger, you are shooting someone on purpose. Dont aim a gun at someone if you dont want to shoot them.


This is akin to saying if people just wouldn't drive dangerously we wouldn't need airbags, the entire point of safety mechanisms is to prevent an accident from happening on that one rare occasion when someone does break the rules and do something stupid.

Edited for grammar.


You cannot make sure you wont have a car accident. Even driving perfectly, you can still be hit, or your breaks can fail. You can make sure you dont shoot someone, with a very simple method. Dont ever point a gun at someone that you dont want to shoot.


You see though, there's a problem with that. There's a LOT of un-educated gun owners out there. And then there's the problem of gun owners not educating their children in the proper handling/ "Do not touch" rule of firearms. That's why every month or so you hear the sob story of two kids playing with dad's guns, and one accidentally shoots the other. It's sad, but it happens. Would a fingerprint trigger lock solve that? Not necessarily. What, is the Federal Government going to go to every single gun owner's house, to make sure they're all using a fingerprint lock? What about the cost of said locks?

This argument looks like swiss cheese to me. That's just my opinion though.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Dibley » Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:11 am UTC

Perhaps, instead of a fingerprint lock, they could have and RFID ring or bracelet, such that the gun won't fire if it's not within a foot of the key? Probably wouldn't have much of a civilian market, but I can imagine it being useful for police.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:37 am UTC

Dibley wrote:Perhaps, instead of a fingerprint lock, they could have and RFID ring or bracelet, such that the gun won't fire if it's not within a foot of the key? Probably wouldn't have much of a civilian market, but I can imagine it being useful for police.


I'm guessing there are going to be serious reliability concerns with a system that keeps a measure of the gun to a static point; and I would rather risk a police gun being stolen then it not working when needed.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:06 pm UTC

CHR1110 wrote:You see though, there's a problem with that. There's a LOT of un-educated gun owners out there. And then there's the problem of gun owners not educating their children in the proper handling/ "Do not touch" rule of firearms. That's why every month or so you hear the sob story of two kids playing with dad's guns, and one accidentally shoots the other. It's sad, but it happens. Would a fingerprint trigger lock solve that? Not necessarily.
Why wouldn't it? If the kids don't have the right fingerprints, the guns don't fire (assuming the locks actually work as designed).
What, is the Federal Government going to go to every single gun owner's house, to make sure they're all using a fingerprint lock?
The idea would be that gun manufacturers would be obligated to include the locks on new guns. And I'm sure some kind of incentive program for getting old guns replaced could be instituted.
What about the cost of said locks?
Don't the guns themselves already cost a fair bit of money?

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby CHR1110 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:21 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
CHR1110 wrote:You see though, there's a problem with that. There's a LOT of un-educated gun owners out there. And then there's the problem of gun owners not educating their children in the proper handling/ "Do not touch" rule of firearms. That's why every month or so you hear the sob story of two kids playing with dad's guns, and one accidentally shoots the other. It's sad, but it happens. Would a fingerprint trigger lock solve that? Not necessarily.
Why wouldn't it? If the kids don't have the right fingerprints, the guns don't fire (assuming the locks actually work as designed).
What, is the Federal Government going to go to every single gun owner's house, to make sure they're all using a fingerprint lock?
The idea would be that gun manufacturers would be obligated to include the locks on new guns. And I'm sure some kind of incentive program for getting old guns replaced could be instituted.
What about the cost of said locks?
Don't the guns themselves already cost a fair bit of money?


Point 1: There's no way you'll ever get every gun owner to install such a device, as the way I'm seeing it proposed, it would require permanent modification to the firearm. There's no way in hell I'd do that to any of my guns, and everyone else I know has the same opinion.

Point 2: I'd guess that would both A: Drive up the cost of firearms, reducing sales, and B: Reduce sales of firearms in general, with gun owners not wanting the guns with fingerprint lock devices. And on the incentive for getting old guns replaced? Heh. Just try to get me to give up my 1961 Winchester Model 12. I dare you. And don't even think about modifying it. And I assure you gun owners/collectors all feel the same way. Plus, think of all the firearms that exist in the US today, let alone the world. Millions. Hell, there's estimated to be over 9 Million AK-47's ALONE in the world right at this second. Do you seriously think that you're going to get gun owners to trade in their firearms that they've spent serious time and effort in obtaining? I know I sure as hell wouldn't.

Point 3: Your response has no validity to the point I made. Yes, guns are generally $350+ (For a fairly decent firearm), but that's just for the firearm itself. Now I have to pay to get some extra BS installed in it? No way.

Like I said earlier:

Swiss cheese.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

CHR1110 wrote:Point 2: I'd guess that would both A: Drive up the cost of firearms, reducing sales, and B: Reduce sales of firearms in general, with gun owners not wanting the guns with fingerprint lock devices.
Is that really such a bad thing?
And on the incentive for getting old guns replaced? Heh. Just try to get me to give up my 1961 Winchester Model 12. I dare you. And don't even think about modifying it.
Somehow I doubt you're regularly firing this 1961 Winchester of yours, or even think of it as a home security tool anymore.

As you say, there are a lot of uneducated gun owners out there, and they're the concern. Swiss cheese indeed.
Point 3: Your response has no validity to the point I made. Yes, guns are generally $350+ (For a fairly decent firearm), but that's just for the firearm itself. Now I have to pay to get some extra BS installed in it? No way.
Obviously, affordability would be a barrier to the adoption of the technology. But really, if it ends up being less than a 10% increase on a $350 purchase, it's hardly worth getting uppity about. The government could probably even subsidize it to some extent.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby LongLiveTheDutch » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:36 am UTC

stevey_frac wrote:That works until you have not pointed the gun at someone, but a bullet ricochets off something else and nails someone.
Rare. But then, so are brake failures.

And that's still not a problem fingerprint trigger locks solve really.


That's not really an accidental shooting, more of an unlucky occurrence. An accidental shooting is where you aim a supposedly non-loaded gun at someone and it goes off and they get shot. This is why you don't aim anywhere you don't want your bullet to go. Especially not iron plates. Double especially if it's a .50 cal.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby CHR1110 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:33 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
CHR1110 wrote:Point 2: I'd guess that would both A: Drive up the cost of firearms, reducing sales, and B: Reduce sales of firearms in general, with gun owners not wanting the guns with fingerprint lock devices.
Is that really such a bad thing?
And on the incentive for getting old guns replaced? Heh. Just try to get me to give up my 1961 Winchester Model 12. I dare you. And don't even think about modifying it.
Somehow I doubt you're regularly firing this 1961 Winchester of yours, or even think of it as a home security tool anymore.

As you say, there are a lot of uneducated gun owners out there, and they're the concern. Swiss cheese indeed.
Point 3: Your response has no validity to the point I made. Yes, guns are generally $350+ (For a fairly decent firearm), but that's just for the firearm itself. Now I have to pay to get some extra BS installed in it? No way.
Obviously, affordability would be a barrier to the adoption of the technology. But really, if it ends up being less than a 10% increase on a $350 purchase, it's hardly worth getting uppity about. The government could probably even subsidize it to some extent.


On point #1: Not necessarily. Last I checked, most firearm owners don't buy guns to kill people. I know that has never been my intent, anyway.

Point 2: Sorry my friend, you're wrong. That would be my very favorite gun. I shoot it every time I go out shooting, roughly every other weekend. So no, I do in fact fire it regularly. As the same with my Hi Standard G380. And the Model 12 is indeed a home security tool.

I have a question for you sir: Are you or have you ever been a firearm owner? Or even shot a firearm before?
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:17 am UTC

CHR1110 wrote:On point #1: Not necessarily. Last I checked, most firearm owners don't buy guns to kill people. I know that has never been my intent, anyway.
Well, that seems to be what the guns end up doing with unfortunate frequency.
Point 2: Sorry my friend, you're wrong. That would be my very favorite gun. I shoot it every time I go out shooting, roughly every other weekend. So no, I do in fact fire it regularly. As the same with my Hi Standard G380. And the Model 12 is indeed a home security tool.
Fair enough; clearly I misinterpreted your line about overprotective gun collectors.

I have a question for you sir: Are you or have you ever been a firearm owner? Or even shot a firearm before?
And so we get on the Ad Hominem train.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Silas » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:42 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
I have a question for you sir: Are you or have you ever been a firearm owner? Or even shot a firearm before?
And so we get on the Ad Hominem train.

You can act indignant if you want, but it's a reasonable question. I can tell that you're not familiar with guns (chiefly because you assumed that a 60's-era shotgun was practically a museum piece), but CHR might be giving you more benefit of the doubt. And it doesn't ring (to me, anyway) of shut-up-what-do-you-know; it's just frustrating to find out you have no common experience to build on.

Here's my piece, though: anyone who thinks fingerprint locks are a good idea for widespread use doesn't understand what this looks like to gun folk. You're proposing taking, say, my grandfather's M1 Garand (the US WII rifle that's still widely used for hunting and target shooting), which has, what, twelve parts (besides the trigger group and bolt, which I've never seen disassembled), and is spring-powered, and adding a mechanism that can only prevent it from functioning, takes batteries, and requires it to be hooked up to a computer before you can shoot it? You want to improve a tool that's been used, on and off, for sixty years, by adding something that lasts about as long, and works about as well, as a cell phone? There's a reason 40s-era rifles are cheap, and radios are precious.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby thedufer » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:09 am UTC

Silas wrote:Here's my piece, though: anyone who thinks fingerprint locks are a good idea for widespread use doesn't understand what this looks like to gun folk. You're proposing taking, say, my grandfather's M1 Garand (the US WII rifle that's still widely used for hunting and target shooting), which has, what, twelve parts (besides the trigger group and bolt, which I've never seen disassembled), and is spring-powered, and adding a mechanism that can only prevent it from functioning, takes batteries, and requires it to be hooked up to a computer before you can shoot it? You want to improve a tool that's been used, on and off, for sixty years, by adding something that lasts about as long, and works about as well, as a cell phone? There's a reason 40s-era rifles are cheap, and radios are precious.


I don't understand why you choose to make the leap from requiring that all new guns have trigger locks to requiring that all old ones have new trigger locks installed. I don't think that anyone would suggest that having trigger locks installed in old guns is politically, financially, or logistically possible. It just isn't going to happen, and thus shouldn't be the argument that's going on here.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Silas » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:29 am UTC

I didn't say anyone proposed requiring anything. It's about how an electronic interlock is entirely out-of-place on a gun. The M1 isn't significant, except as an iconically simple and reliable weapon (the greatest single battle implement ever devised by man, says Patton). And don't suppose that the situation is meaningfully different with modern guns- they're not, technologically, much different from the old ones. They're still strictly mechanical tools without much room- physically or in terms of complexity- for a device that selectively impairs their function.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Eseell » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:12 am UTC

Regarding the OP, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 prohibits such a lawsuit, at least in the United States. Firearm manufacturers and dealers can only be held accountable for manufacturing defects or unlawful practices on the part of the companies themselves - such as knowingly selling weapons to prohibited possessors or other acts in which they are directly complicit.

As far as firearms equipped with fingerprint scanners go, the state of New Jersey has a law on the books that requires all handguns sold in that state to be equipped with this sort of "smart gun" technology within three years after the NJ attorney general determines that such a weapon is commercially available. No such weapon is now available despite millions of dollars spent on research. There was a weapon showcased at this year's SHOT Show in Las Vegas that requires the user to wear an RFID bracelet to fire it, however it will retail for 7000 euro and I doubt that any police force will rely on a weapon which can be rendered inoperable by RF jamming. For comparison, a similar .22LR semi-auto pistol without this technology can be purchased for $350 or less.

I suspect that there are fewer accidental firearm deaths in the United States annually than most people realize. According to estimates, there are 200-300 million firearms in ~40% of households in the US. The CDC's WISQARS tool reports 642 accidental firearm deaths in 2006, the most recent year for which data is available. For victims 17 years old and younger, there were only 102 accidental firearm deaths. While every death is a tragedy, there are few compared to the total number of gun owners, and they could be fewer still with some basic safety training.

For any biometric or other smart weapon device to be seriously considered for duty or self defense it would need to be reliable enough that it not cost lives by malfunctioning (or being forcibly disabled) in critical situations. We're a long way from that happening or being cost effective. There could be a market for less reliable but more-safe plinking guns, but if you're concerned about this aspect of gun safety you'd be better off investing the money you would have spent on the smart gun technology in a good safe, which has additional benefits.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby CHR1110 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:56 am UTC

Silas wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
I have a question for you sir: Are you or have you ever been a firearm owner? Or even shot a firearm before?
And so we get on the Ad Hominem train.

You can act indignant if you want, but it's a reasonable question. I can tell that you're not familiar with guns (chiefly because you assumed that a 60's-era shotgun was practically a museum piece), but CHR might be giving you more benefit of the doubt. And it doesn't ring (to me, anyway) of shut-up-what-do-you-know; it's just frustrating to find out you have no common experience to build on.


Precisely what I was getting at. Like Silas, I can tell that you don't have much experience with firearms, but I merely wanted to make sure that I was correct in my assumption.


Here's my piece, though: anyone who thinks fingerprint locks are a good idea for widespread use doesn't understand what this looks like to gun folk. You're proposing taking, say, my grandfather's M1 Garand (the US WII rifle that's still widely used for hunting and target shooting), which has, what, twelve parts (besides the trigger group and bolt, which I've never seen disassembled), and is spring-powered, and adding a mechanism that can only prevent it from functioning, takes batteries, and requires it to be hooked up to a computer before you can shoot it? You want to improve a tool that's been used, on and off, for sixty years, by adding something that lasts about as long, and works about as well, as a cell phone? There's a reason 40s-era rifles are cheap, and radios are precious.


Exactly what I've been trying to get at.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:33 pm UTC

But the issue is not Grandpa and his beloved WWII-era rifle; it's some clueless dad who thinks going out and buying a loaded gun even he doesn't know how to use and keeping it in an unlocked drawer is an excellent way to improve home safety.

Anyway, Mr. Eseell has been most enlightening. Thank you, Mr. Essell. (Clearly "smart gun" is the term I should have been searching for.)

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby phillipsjk » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:50 pm UTC

At the risk of drifting off-topic, I would like to try an analogy "geeks" may understand: modern computer and television displays use High Definition Content Protection to encrypt the video as it moves from the source to the display. This increases the cost by requiring an ASIC (or secret drivers) in both devices (also increasing power consumption). The technology can only reduce the reliability of the device: It can make your TV refuse to talk to your Blu-ray player, but cannot do anything to improve picture quality. IFF the (secret) standard requires watermarking to be added, the picture quality is actually degraded.

The most annoying part is that the mandate for HDCP (from the media consortiums) restricts what kind of technology your new display can be built with. For example, this year, Blu-ray will stop working with displays using Analog inputs like CRTs. A CRT with digital inputs is possible (6-bit color EGA displays are an example), but pointless. Analog inputs have more bandwidth available, and can generally go for longer cable-runs (digital signals need at least twice the bandwidth).

I think that was the point the gun-owners were trying to get across: (most) guns are using a mature, reliable technology as-is. Any finger-print reading trigger-lock is likely to make them less reliable, cost more money, and require a Lithium battery to be changed every few years. It may be impossible (read: prohibitively expensive) to add an effective trigger lock to mechanical firing pins. Guns with finger-print readers may have to use capacitors discharging through a power MOSFET that only allows power to flow when the finger-print is recognized. Of course, if this is government-mandated, it may be possible to circumvent using a piece of wire.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby LongLiveTheDutch » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:54 pm UTC

To point out another possible problem with the idea of "smart" guns, what would be the reaction of Second Amendment upholding gun owners? Not to stereotype Americans, but one would have to agree that if the US government mandated guns to have some sort of control feature, the tinfoil hats would come out. Heck, even when the Canadian government instituted a gun registry a while back, Canadians were up in arms (haha) about it, and this is Canada we're talking about. Mind you, it was mostly because it was a cash grab and a big waste of money and time.

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Jorpho
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Jorpho » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:00 am UTC

LongLiveTheDutch wrote:To point out another possible problem with the idea of "smart" guns, what would be the reaction of Second Amendment upholding gun owners? Not to stereotype Americans, but one would have to agree that if the US government mandated guns to have some sort of control feature, the tinfoil hats would come out.
I was thinking that if marketing ever became an issue, it could always be claimed that the lockout features could prevent a bad guy in a fight (or perhaps the King of England) from using your own gun against you.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby phillipsjk » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:39 am UTC

The fact you are expecting your gun to work, and it doesn't still can be used against you. If an EMP shockwave disables electronics, the person who brings a knife to a gunfight may win.

Marketing won't gloss over the fact that electronic guns will be more complicated. Many microprocessors allow you to burn in code that is never transmitted on the bus (for example, for implementing the HDCP I mentioned earlier). As somebody said earlier, the WWII era rifles have about 12 major parts. Anybody with a high-school education can take the things apart and learn how they work. With a finger-print reader, you will have (possibly unseen) code running on a microchip. I suppose in the future the average high-school student may be able to hook up a serial cable to their rifle and disassemble the code in ROM (assuming it is set to be readable). Of course, an "out" would be to by-pass the finger-print reader, but then you might as well just use a mechanical firing system. If they put the MOSFET on the same chip as the microprocessor, it may be more difficult to circumvent. In that case, you would have to replace the Chip with your own "equivalent" circuit that does what you want.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Silas » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:27 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:But the issue is not Grandpa and his beloved WWII-era rifle; it's some clueless dad who thinks going out and buying a loaded gun even he doesn't know how to use and keeping it in an unlocked drawer is an excellent way to improve home safety.

It's not just a problem for Grandpa and his war trophy. It's a problem for my friend and the CETME he keeps as part of his monomaniacal (nuclear/biblical/zombie) apocalypse-preparedness. It's a problem for my old boss, out hunting, worried about startling a grizzly. It's a problem for the former Army captain who just wants to put some rounds downrange. When Ursus Arctos Horribilis is trying to eat your entrails, or the Russians drop out of the sky, or you just drove an hour and a half to the only outdoor shooting range in the metropolitan area, and your gun locks up like Firefox after you've been running a lot of Flash sites, that shit's not ok.

Someone who has a gun has already decided that the risk of accidental discharge, or of having his gun turned on him, is less important than the need for it to work in a pinch. He's willing to trade that peace-time risk for that in-a-crisis certainty. Asking him to take an interlock on his gun is asking him to trade back the very thing he got the gun for in the first place.

(just for pedantry's sake, nobody buys a loaded gun. They don't come from the factory full of ammunition. You have to load it yourself.)
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Charley » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:15 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
CHR1110 wrote:I have a question for you sir: Are you or have you ever been a firearm owner? Or even shot a firearm before?
And so we get on the Ad Hominem train.
That's not really ad hominem; I personally think it's a rather relevant question in a discussion like this; it certainly helps people know where you are coming from if you identify whether you own a gun, and how often (if ever) they use guns.

Eseell wrote:As far as firearms equipped with fingerprint scanners go, the state of New Jersey has a law on the books that requires all handguns sold in that state to be equipped with this sort of "smart gun" technology within three years after the NJ attorney general determines that such a weapon is commercially available. No such weapon is now available despite millions of dollars spent on research. There was a weapon showcased at this year's SHOT Show in Las Vegas that requires the user to wear an RFID bracelet to fire it, however it will retail for 7000 euro and I doubt that any police force will rely on a weapon which can be rendered inoperable by RF jamming. For comparison, a similar .22LR semi-auto pistol without this technology can be purchased for $350 or less.
That's kind of what I thought: that the technology just doesn't work very well; I'm not really surprised after all of the frustration my friend has had with his biometric front door lock not working reliably.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Turtlewing » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:25 pm UTC

I notice that no one has mentioned that most (as far as I know all, but i'm no expert) modern guns have mechanicle safteys that make it exceedigly difficult for the weapon to accidentally discharge when engaged (again i'm under the impression it's imposible for them to fire with the safety on but may be mistaken). But you don't generally hear about that because typically someone who's foolish enough to point a weapon at something hey don't want dead, or to treat a weapon as if it's not loaded when there's even the most remote posability that it is, are also foolish enough to think the safety is just inconvinient, and never flip that little switch, or assume the safety is on and that they can be careless.

So in short a smart gun can only work if it's actually smarter than the people who cause the problems it's intended to solve, in this case the user, and be impossible to bypass.

It's similar to how anti-virus software doesn't work if you disable it when it says you shouldn't be opening that email attachment. Only now you also have to contend with all the reasons DRM doesn't prevent piracy.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:06 am UTC

Turtlewing wrote:I notice that no one has mentioned that most (as far as I know all, but i'm no expert) modern guns have mechanicle safteys that make it exceedigly difficult for the weapon to accidentally discharge when engaged (again i'm under the impression it's imposible for them to fire with the safety on but may be mistaken). But you don't generally hear about that because typically someone who's foolish enough to point a weapon at something hey don't want dead, or to treat a weapon as if it's not loaded when there's even the most remote posability that it is, are also foolish enough to think the safety is just inconvinient, and never flip that little switch, or assume the safety is on and that they can be careless.

So in short a smart gun can only work if it's actually smarter than the people who cause the problems it's intended to solve, in this case the user, and be impossible to bypass.

It's similar to how anti-virus software doesn't work if you disable it when it says you shouldn't be opening that email attachment. Only now you also have to contend with all the reasons DRM doesn't prevent piracy.


Actually I think noone hears about the safety thing because "man accidently pulls triger on friend, safety prevents shooting" isn't a news story; "man accidently shoots friend, police investigating" is.

Also not an expert, but from personal experience(rifles and revolver in house) just about everything commercial has a safety; the safety will prevent the gun from accidently firing by a trigger pull though its not impossible for something really weird(like dropping gun off a skyscraper) could still set it off.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby jacqueshacques » Sat Mar 06, 2010 1:22 am UTC

A safety is a mechanical device that can easily fail. Ultimately, there is absolutely no substitute for safe firearms handling.

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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby Eseell » Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:34 am UTC

Turtlewing wrote:I notice that no one has mentioned that most (as far as I know all, but i'm no expert) modern guns have mechanicle safteys that make it exceedigly difficult for the weapon to accidentally discharge when engaged (again i'm under the impression it's imposible for them to fire with the safety on but may be mistaken). But you don't generally hear about that because typically someone who's foolish enough to point a weapon at something hey don't want dead, or to treat a weapon as if it's not loaded when there's even the most remote posability that it is, are also foolish enough to think the safety is just inconvinient, and never flip that little switch, or assume the safety is on and that they can be careless.

So in short a smart gun can only work if it's actually smarter than the people who cause the problems it's intended to solve, in this case the user, and be impossible to bypass.

It's similar to how anti-virus software doesn't work if you disable it when it says you shouldn't be opening that email attachment. Only now you also have to contend with all the reasons DRM doesn't prevent piracy.


Many firearms, including most revolvers and all Glocks, have no external safety at all. If they are loaded and you pull the trigger they will go bang. That is not a flaw or an oversight, it is a feature for folks who want an absolutely reliable firearm.
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Re: Whatever happened to fingerprint trigger locks?

Postby kevmus » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:46 am UTC

What way will they have of stopping someone from hacking the trigger locks? I mean, if Microsoft can't stop hackers from breaking their DRM, how do you expect the Government to do so?

It's really very simple: whenever you have a system that is purely defensive (DRM, AntiVirus, Fingerprint Trigger Lock), and a couple thousand nerds trying to hack at it to break it, one of them is going to find something you didn't think of. With DRM and Antiviruses, you can always update the software to stop the exploit.

How do you stop the exploit on a fingerprint trigger lock, without connecting it to the internet?

If you do connect it to the internet, I assure you that all you'll do is make the hackers (or government, or some 14 year old script kiddie) be able to turn off someone's gun remotely, which sort of ruins the purpose of having a gun.

Any chip-based code is doomed to be hacked from the beginning. Any purely mechanical piece will just suck. I guess the question isn't "Should we do this?", but "Can we do this?". And the answer is that no, we can't. How are you going to install a piece on a revolver that won't be bulky? Some revolvers are pretty darn simple: Trigger lets go of spring which moves hammer, which hits bullet, which flies. Where would the lock be placed? Can you stop someone from circumventing your protection?

Honestly, this is not even from a pro-gun point of view: I just don't see how it's possible to add a chip-based system to something that is this simple:

Image
(picture blatantly stolen from someone who stole it from howstuffworks.com. I figure it's okay under fair use.)
And still have it work.



</rant>

So, if we do want more safety then, all we have to do is teach all gun owners the basic rules of guns:
1- It's ALWAYS loaded, especially if you think it isn't
2- Only point it where you want to kill.
3- Assume anything behind what you're killing is going to die too.
4- If you don't have a clear sight behind what you're killing, then assume it's a playground filled with toddlers.
5- Keep your gun locked where other people won't get it, even if they know where it is. (This includes your children.)
6- Unload your gun when you're done using it.
7- Never look into the barrel, you moron. (really an extension of #2, but it's worth repeating.)


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