You willing to bet your liberty in a (snip)
No, he probably just looked up the statistics on the number of people that have been killed with their own gun. This is why police officers are trained to always keep their hand on their weapon during a traffic stop or during any other time when they're questioning someone who isn't in custody, and why once their gun has been drawn, they typically move away and don't holster it again until backup arrives and a second officer can approach and subdue. The risk is very real.
self-defense case on microcircuitry that is never checked or maintained
Your computer has tons of microcircuitry. Far more than this technology would require. If your life depended on being able to complete a call to the police using a VoIP product, do you think you could do it as fast as with a regular, land-line phone, assuming you had the software already installed and configured?
The fact that something isn't checked or maintained is not an indictment against its reliability. Maintenance usually happens on a schedule -- days, weeks, years, even decades. You don't just assume your car is going to run out of oil because you haven't checked the oil since the last time you started it -- you know that as long as you check it every 7,000 miles, or whatever the manual says, you do not have to worry about that. Why would a gun be different?
a lens that might be obstructed or smeared,
You know, you're working this technology all crabbed. A police officer could be issued a gun with a RF component in it that operated around 800 MHz or so. At this frequency, the signal clings to a person's skin and clothing. A low-power, short-range transmitter, perhaps embedded in the officer's radio, could complete the circuit. Thus if the officer was not in physical contact with the gun, it wouldn't fire.
Biometric identification isn't the only way of securing a weapon.
and the assumption that if there isn't a perfect picture, you're hiding some kind of guilt?
That's a social and legal problem, not a technical problem. Let's try and keep on topic here; This is a feasibility study, not an exhaustive analysis of "what if" scenarios...
"Mr. Johnson, how do we know you didn't put your blood all over the end of that gun before your wife used it to murder a poor, helpless transient you two had lured to your home for deviant sex? There's no picture. You must be trying to hide something."
Strike my last; ... not an exhaustive analysis of conspiracy theories.
Now, as has become increasingly common on Slashdot (I miss the old days), nothing in what I've said is either for or against whatever political cause or position you're advocating. It is simply, and purely, an engineering analysis. What Congress is, or isn't doing, or whatever your political beliefs are, or even mine, are irrelevant here. This about answering IF we can do this with the technology available today, not should we do it.