Listen: Gun owners want smart guns on the market but dont want to buy them
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Democratic presidential candidates are talking about the problem of gun violence but is there a technology solution that can make guns safer for decades gun manufacturers and even some startups have tried to figure out how to create a smart gun one that could only be fired by the guns owner owner and could be activated by fingerprints or a radio signal sent from the weapon to say a wristband gun researchers call these personalized guns but so far the tech hasn't gone anywhere. CASSANDRA prophecy is deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and research. I asked her what the barriers are. So there are two main concerns. I think that are driving down the potential market for personalized gums and those are cost and concerns about the technology technology and I think one of the challenges were trying to way is that over the last several decades we've had changes in the reasons. People people own firearms forty years ago. The ownership was predominantly for hunting. Now the predominant reason for gun ownership is self defense against other people and if you're concerned about having a firearm to defend yourself in that kind of situation than making sure the technology would work when you want to be able to use use it could be a significant issue when you look at the overall numbers of gun deaths how many of those could potentially be prevented by personalized guns. It's really when we think about the benefits of what types of injuries by fire him could be prevented with personalized guns. We're looking mostly at injuries among individuals who wouldn't be able to purchase firearms so teen suicide by firearm unintentional injuries unintentional deaths by firearm among children and then also the potential benefit to drive down homicide by reducing the ability to use a firearm that is personalized if it was stolen but when you look at the burden of firearm deaths and the potential benefit it's hard to make a really strong case that having personalized sliced guns is really going to drastically drive down our burden of gun violence in this country. So where would you like to see investment in research go I. I think that we could do a lot more to understand. Who's firearms are being used in suicide? Even though fire suicide is the leading cause of firearm mm death we have very little information on where those guns come from when they were acquired how they were stored in the home and I think that we could do a lot to to improve our ability to respond to and prevent suicide if we could get some better data to understand some of these precipitating factors. CASSANDRA prophecy is deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and research so far no smart gun has been sold at a gun shop anywhere in America and as to that question of cost CRA Fosse told us smart guns would potentially cost as much as a thousand dollars more than the dumb ones and now for some related links. There's a fascinating story in Bloomberg BusinessWeek from earlier this year about the long history history of attempts to create so-called smart or personalized guns and it includes this whole tale about a two thousand to law from New Jersey that said that his students sooner smart guns were sold anywhere in the United States then New Jersey's gun retailers could only sell smart guns within three years so oh no more dumb guns in New Jersey that of course caused an NRA freak out and death threats against a Maryland retailer who did want to sell personalized guns in two thousand fourteenth. That's at the entire effort back even more and over the years. No one has flight created a smart gun where the tech works perfectly in all situations. The Bloomberg story also includes a lot of details about how the tech industry has both tried to find an fund smart gun startups but also shied away from gun startups for fear that could lead to increased gun ownership and then of course there's the politics which is where we are going to end this podcast you can find the Bloomberg Bloomberg story on our website Marketplace Tech Dot Org. I'm Ali would and that is marketplace tech. This is a PM. This marketplace podcast is brought to you by Entercom Intercom. What's more of the Nice people visiting your website to give you money so they took a little chat bubble in the corner website and packed it with conversational bots product tours. NPS surveys all sorts of things that amplify your team and help you reach more nice people intercom customer unity got forty five percent more loyal users with intercom in just twelve months go to intercom dot com slash podcast to start making money from real time. 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