February 21, 2013 -
It’s undeniable that America has a destructive gun culture that is borne out by the high correlation between mass gun ownership and violence.
The continued embrace of a constitutional protection to “bear arms” which was devised over 200 years ago to protect 13 colonies from British tyranny has ensured that the contemporary United States is awash with more guns than people, along with more gun violence.
In 2009, the U.S. Congress estimated that there were 310 million firearms in the United States held in the hands of private citizens. Of these weapons, 114 million were handguns, 110 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns. Accompanied with this mass number of weapons, are a mass number of killings.
Gun-related violence is a leading cause of death in the United States. In 2005, 75 percent of the 10,100 homicides committed using firearms in the U.S. involved handguns. According to government statistics, the likelihood that a death will result is significantly increased when either the victim or the attacker has a firearm. There are also tens of thousands of accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States.
Further, two-thirds of all gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides. Of the 30,470 firearm-related deaths in the United States in 2010, 19,392 or 63.6 percent, were suicide deaths, while 11,078 or 36.4 percent were homicide deaths.
With all of the death attributed to guns, the call for tougher gun control is logical. Unfortunately, the powerful gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association continues to stymie all attempts to implement enhanced background checks and assault weapon bans, even in the wake of mass shooting incidents involving school children and moviegoers.
Its evident that all intelligent debate about gun control has disappeared when the following common sense statements by popular, milquetoast sports commentator Bob Costas sparks controversy: “I think any sane person believes that we ought not to have high capacity magazines and assault rifles and that there ought to be background checks. We can tighten all that stuff up without replacing the second amendment.”
Since the “right to keep and bear arms”, the concept that people have an individual right to own and carry weapons, will not be disappearing anytime soon, it is reasonable that citizens at least bear the responsibility to register and maintain their weapons safely.
BiometricUpdate.com recently reported that Sen. Dianne Feinstein has proposed new legislation that outlines that biometrics will play a role in positively identifying registrants and owners of guns, using a photograph and fingerprint, along with more stringent background checks and definitions of excluded and included guns. In Maryland, the governor wants to implement stricter gun controls with the use of a fingerprint database.
The proposed federal legislation will be the major gun control initiative for the new Congress, and makes complete sense in the wake of gun violence that continues to menace the country. The legislation reaffirms the idea that despite the fact that their is a constitutional right to bear arms, there are limits and responsibilities tied to gun ownership.
One responsibility that needs to be examined is the safer storage of firearms. The biometrics industry currently offers a number of solutions that allows gun owners to enhance control and access over their weapons.
BiometricUpdate.com has reported on companies like LEID Products, LLC that manufacturer gun lockers with biometric access locks. Using fingerprint or hand geometry, the gun lock identifies authorized users and rejects unauthorized ones in accessing assets stored the electronic cabinet. The technology provides for remote access, which allows users to locker access.
With such technologies now available, it maybe time for the U.S. government to consider implementing legislation that mandates the use of such mechanisms for regular storage by law-abiding gun owners. While any gun control measure will not be able to stop senseless violence, better storage will curb theft, unauthorized use and potentially accidental shootings and suicides.