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Podcast: Who Killed the Smart Gun?

pluspluspodcast dives into Motherboard's documentary and talks to producer and features editor Brian Anderson.

by Ankita Rao
Mar 24 2017, 2:16pm

Talking about gun control in the US often seems futile. On the one hand, there are 33,000 gun deaths a year, a good percentage of them accidental. On the other hand, the right to bear arms is part of our constitution and must be upheld by law. 

The impact of this tension is tangible. When a mass shooting happens, or a liberal politician speaks out against gun violence, gun sales actually go up—gun advocates get worried that new, stringent laws will restrict their freedom and stock up on their arms. Meanwhile, when someone like Donald Trump, backed by the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), is elected, gun sales plummet, though gun deaths usually do not.

As victims of gun violence call for justice, it's time to look for more innovative solutions. Solutions that go beyond the ideology and rhetoric of gun control. That's where technology could make a difference.

Smart guns are guns that only work with approved users, similar to your iPhone. They might be unlocked with a fingerprint, or a ring or bracelet, to make sure no one can grab your gun and shoot it—whether it's a child, or your attacker. Advocates say smart guns could save hundreds of people every year by eliminating accidental deaths and suicides. But other gun rights supporters say smart guns curb access to arms.

In our latest documentary, A Smarter Gun, we explore the ethics and technology of smart guns. Brian Anderson, Motherboard's features editor, goes across the country talking to engineers trying to invent new gun technology, and traditional gun vendors who want nothing to do with them.

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