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Encrypted Ammunition? 909

holy_calamity writes "A patent has been filed for bullets with built-in encryption. Pulling the trigger sends a radio signal to the cartridge in the chamber, but the charge only goes off if the right encryption key is sent. The aim is to improve civilian firearm security." Not sure I'm quite ready to trust the average techno-gadget failure rate on something like this just yet.
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Encrypted Ammunition?

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  • by electrosoccertux ( 874415 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:35PM (#15613427)
    When will it end? The obvious use will be to somehow keep me from firing my gun. I guess in this situation, civilian safety is the "think of the children" excuse.

    I'm tired of it. Just let me shoot my gun.
  • This could be bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BradleyUffner ( 103496 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:37PM (#15613445) Homepage
    The first thoughts that came to my head were these.
    "Can it be jammed so it doesn't fire?"
    "What happens if some random radio noise hits and and set it off?"
    "What happens if you aim enough random radio noise at say, an ammo supply room, that could potentially be bad."
  • You know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:37PM (#15613447) Homepage Journal
    ...I think that with firearms, this is the ONE aread I don't think I want any technological saftey restraints on. I want to keep it mechanical. I want it to shoot immediately at what I aim at. I virus, bug or whatever that causes firing errors at the wrong time can be a life or death thing.

    That and if this type thing is installed...what would prevent the govt. from programming no weapons to fire at THEM? I'm still holding on to a sliver of hope that a well armed citizenry is a slight barrier to a completely totalitarian govt. in the future...

  • by onion2k ( 203094 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:39PM (#15613464) Homepage
    I imagine that, with a relatively simple modification, you could have bullets that can only be fired in a particular building eg a gun club.
  • Skirted! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:45PM (#15613521)
    It will not prevent the bad guys to use old firearms in a nasty way. Will they retire all the AK-47 in the world as well to protect us? This gadget has simply no real purpose and does not bring any more security. Upcoming next: encrypted knives, you cannot cut your bread without the explicit code key.
  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:47PM (#15613535) Journal
    I presume this is to keep unauthorized people from firing your gun, in particular burglars and children. It seems to me they are overcomplicating the matter greatly.

    There is already a good system in place that just needs a little improving. I have heard for years about the pistols that won't fire unless they sense the microchip to which they are encoded. This is usually embedded in a ring. Not too long ago I read that someone had developed a pistol grip that sensed palm prints.

    I can't read TFA (content filter ate it) but it seems to describe a system by which every bullet must be its own safety. I see no practical uses for this technology when the simple solution is to have the gun do that job. There is a lot more room for components in the firearm itself, why waste time and money trying to secure the bullets?
  • by awing0 ( 545366 ) <adam&badtech,org> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:48PM (#15613542) Homepage
    Not only that, the gun must know the clip order somehow, else rounds in the clip or your pants/jacket start exploding. At least with a conventional handgun, the bad guy has to wrestle it away from you. There are too many things to go wrong with this. I think fire control should be in the weapon (if at all), not the ammunition.

    The fingerprint system and the ID ring system are already working examples of "smart guns". One gun fingerprints you, the other makes sure you are wearing a uniqe ring with some sort of RFID tag in it. These seam to be as simple as an owner-fire-only system you can get.
  • by Kookus ( 653170 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:55PM (#15613626) Journal
    I'm sure it still has a mechanical component for fail-safe firing. Like the pin is still used, but only for compeleting a circuit, not actually igniting the fuel.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:55PM (#15613630)
    Never heard of the Lawgiver Mark III []? What's was previously science fiction is now becoming patentable science fact.
  • by Odin_Tiger ( 585113 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:57PM (#15613651) Journal
    I'd speculate that the idea is going to be more along the lines of only allowing certain bullet types to be fired from certain guns by certain people. For instance, a round specially designed for military or police use could only be fired by a military / police gun, and only if the gun was being operated by a soldier / police officer. Perhaps a 2nd transmitter in a wrist band or ring on a finger, so there are 2 stages of security. Ring ID's with gun ID's with bullet. That way, in the course of an investigation, they could use standard forensics to determine that a certain bullet was fired from a certain gun, and from there have a high level of certainty that the bullet was fired by the officer assigned to that gun.
  • by WickedLogic ( 314155 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:59PM (#15613680) Journal
    Can't make guns illegal... so lets make them useless instead. Soon enough it will really be true, only the criminals will have guns. Problem is we won't know which work for the gangs, and which work for the government.
  • by tehwebguy ( 860335 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:01PM (#15613693) Homepage
    "And what's to keep a bank robber or other criminal to carry a small EMP generator to effectively disarm any cop whose pistol is so equipped?"

    rofl what about the other way?

    eventually we may have to worry about a criminal throwing a radio device that brute forces all the weapons in a certain radius into a secure area -- discharging every officer's weapon in the building.

    actually i'm sure this won't be possible but it would make a cool scene in an action movie..
  • by Jon Howard ( 247978 ) <howard.jon@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:09PM (#15613787) Journal in the hands of a skilled shooter. The second safest is in his holster.

    I've cycled thousands of rounds through my guns, and guess what? Not a one of them flew through a school and killed all the children in there. Strangely, none have robbed banks or liquor stores, either. In fact, I am under the suspicion that if I were legaly permitted to carry one of my pistols around, and happened upon a dangerous situation where some bad guy was doing some bad thing, they'd probably save the day.

    Funny that. Why then should we make this more difficult, rather than less?

    My guns, by the way []
  • Perhaps a 2nd transmitter in a wrist band or ring on a finger, so there are 2 stages of security

    I've always felt that was a particular weakness. There are two reasons someone would be firing someone else's gun. Either A- they stole it or B- they are fighting for it.

    It seems to me that any security system that only accounts for A is pretty weak. If someone has the time to steal the gun, it's likely they may have the time to work around the security. Whereas if two people are scuffling for a gun and one of them is wearing the ring/watch/wristband then - as far as the gun knows - it's clear to shoot.

    So you get a risk of the gun not shooting when you need it to on the con side, and the very narrow pro that if someone steals the gun but doesn't have time/know-how to bypass the security, they can't fire it. They can still fire it if they are fighting you for it or if they have a little bit of time to work on it.

    I'm not impressed yet.

  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:31PM (#15614002) Homepage Journal
    The JPFO says no. []

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:40PM (#15614098) Journal
    "I think it's going to be wrapped around the ass end of the casing, or might even be the firing pin mechanism itself."
    The casing would be more plausible (you, like, reuse the firing pin because they're usually sort of built into the weapon, eh?)

    "Second, EMP? Haha haaHahaHAAHA! Do you have any idea how EMPs are generated, aside from using a nuclear weapon? You have a coil wrapped around a high explosive, you charge the coil with a lot of current, generating a strong magnetic field, and then you detonate the explosive."
    I do (considering that the acronym is a very loose term and covers far more than just explosion-generated pulses), and apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that way... []

    This patent hasn't been built yet, and the link I just pointed to up there is capable of overriding automobile electronics from a respectable distance during a high-speed chase. Over time, the capacitors required for such a pulse are liable to shrink to a more portable size, as even Slashdot [] has reported.

    OTOH, HERF devices I agree on very readily. ;)


  • by Oxyrubber ( 982275 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:32PM (#15614631) Homepage

    This is maybe the right place to start in reforming arms for civilian use in the modern age, but there are a number of glaring flaws with this technology.

    First, I would have to agree with the parent that a dual-id system would improve the "security" involved in firing one of these guns.

    I would think that we don't want to give these to the military though (at the very least not without a biometric feature). The only reason these should be deployed for military combat would be in case they are stolen or otherwise "procured" by enemies/civilians. This RFID system better be damn reliable, though, or the troops will drop guns with this "DRM" in the mud and pick up AK47s (like stories I've heard from Vietnam). It's absolutely useless to equip your soldiers with an additional reason for the gun to malfunction unless there is a compelling reason to implement it (especially when the most prevelant assault rifle in non-friendly countries, the AK47, is notably more reliable than most other assault rifles -- even without an additional trigger-guard).

    I would think the same would apply to Police - if an officer's life is at stake (which I hope is the only reason he/she would contemplate pulling the trigger), he/she wants a gun that will fire without a hitch.

    The RFID lifespans I've read about are in the 3-5 year range, so organizations which use guns equipped with this technology will have to invest in inventory control to ensure that only reliably bullets with strong RFID "battery" life are distributed for use. Also, when the top bullet in the magazine fails to activate, does the bullet get expelled from the chamber or does it require the operator to clear the "jam"?

    This is really an expansion of DRM (all negative Slashdot connotations aside) into an area that probably doesn't need it. Until the government forces ALL "lo-tech" bullets off the market, this has no chance of outlawing criminals from stepping aside the DRM by using lo-tech solutions.

  • Swimming pools, too! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by timothy ( 36799 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:44PM (#15614729) Journal
    Your message to the libertarians should be amended to include swimming pools, too. For instance:

    "But I have a simpler, safer solution: lose your SWIMMING POOL altogether. I think every time a kid is killed by DROWNING IN A SWIMMING POOL we raise a tax on POOLS and POOL OWNERS. You can get all of that money back with interest if you get rid of your SWIMMING POOL. Eventually SWIMMING POOL owners will see that it is in their own best interest to work together to make SWIMMING POOLS safer and INACCESSABLE TO kids and the irresponsible. Everyone who owns a SWIMMING POOL is partly responsible for the culture of FUN and FRIVOLITY. I'm looking at you, libertarians."

    (ha ha only serious)

    Gun safety certainly can and ought to be improved (as it *has* improved, at least in the U.S., where accidental deaths have steeply declined over the past few decades), but guns as objects are not the point - safe use and (especially parental) responsibility are complex; an "object-specific tax" seems like an inevitably intrusive, tyrannical answer, which is why examples like the above make sense to me. How to assess the tax on ... floor wax? Table saws? Kitchen implements? Mallets? Golf balls? And, the big one, would you impose a similar "tax" (which sounds instead like a fine) on automobile owners when their car is involved in a fatal collision? What if the owner was in no sense at fault?

    And given that no gun (and no swimming pool) sneaks up on someone to shoot or drown them; how to tax the behaviors that lead to injury?

  • by Guuge ( 719028 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:49PM (#15614789)
    Join the NRA people, before it is too late. The ballot and soap boxes rest firmly atop the cartridge box, lose (or willingly surrender as your case may be) one fundamental Right and eventually you will lose them all.
    Guns have done nothing to prevent violations of our fundamental rights. In fact, those who own guns are more likely to let the government get away with worse transgressions. Guns provide nothing but a false sense of security.
  • by sobiloff ( 29859 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:53PM (#15614823)
    I think shortly before Y2K Remington came out with a new rifle system they called "EtroniX." It was inspired by a system developed by Voere in the 80's, and used electrically fired primers just like the system in this article. The idea was that this removed the mechanics behind the trigger, allowing varmint and benchrest shooters to keep the rifle much more stable while firing, thus improving accuracy.

    It was a huge flop.

    The ammo was easily three times as expensive as traditional ammo and the guns were no more accurate than their traditional counterparts. The system merely added complexity (and a battery that, of course, would fail at the least opportune time) and cost without any significant improvement. In theory the system offers an improvement, but in practice the difference hasn't been noticeable.

    Contrary to some of the highly-modded posts above, the system charges the base of the shell that's in the chamber. It takes enough energy that it's impractical to try to set off the ammo remotely. (Think of a weak taser being applied to the base of the shell casing and you get the idea of how much energy is needed to activate the primer.)

    The only problem with this idea, aside from its sheer impracticality, is that HCI and its ilk will now start telling the UN and governments that they *must* adopt this system since it'll prevent all sorts of bad behaviors. Hogwash!
  • by morcego ( 260031 ) * on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:07PM (#15614930)
    That is a problem. Prove to me that you have a real need for free speech. Prove to me that you have a right to privacy. Prove to me that you have a real need for any basic right. If you have to prove that you need them, then it may already be too late.

    Wow. You completely missed the point.
    How hard is to prove that you really need a gun ? Lets see:
    - "I'm a truck driver, I drive late at night at low traffic roads"
    - "I'm a lawyer, judge etc"
    - "I'm a 24h shop owner that stay late at night on my shop"
    - "I'm a driver that transport valueable items, prone to be stolen"

    It is not that hard to prove. IF you really need a gun.

    But I also advocate that you have to prove that you are qualified to have a gun. That you won't, for example, shoot someone else besides the person that are attacking you, cause you can't aim or get nervous too easily.

    Unfortunately, you can't outlaw stupidity. The best bet in this area is education. But the only group in America that does this type of education is the NRA, and they get attacked for it.

    Even tho you can (and I do) call stupidity to buy a gun if you are not technicaly and psycologicaly prepared to have one (and shoot at someone else if needed), it goes farther than that.

    Specially the psycological part. If you draw a gun against a criminal, you better shoot it. If you don't, you can be certainly he will shoot you, and maybe even your family. And make sure you don't miss. What are the odds of you managing to hit him, considering the you will be pretty nervous, with your family in danger ?

    How many lives are the "gun owners" willing to risk ?

    That is what I call irresponsibility. People who think just because they go to the shooting range twice a week are prepared to use a gun to defend oneself and family are in for a rude awakening. And if one finds it easy to shoot others, all the more reason he should NOT have a gun.

    Someone else mentioned being stabbed by a spoon. Sure, I get the joke, but that is not far from the truth. More often than not, if one has a gun, he will use it to defend against spoons.
  • Re:Please be honest: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UttBuggly ( 871776 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @03:15PM (#15614999)
    Count me in on the "brandishing" scenario. Three times in the last 30 years, but all three could have turned out MUCH worse had I not been armed.

    One (1977) - watching T.V. late at night when my German Shepard alerts on the back door. I see a small light and the outline of someone working the lock. I got my 12 gauge bolt-action shotgun, pointed it at the door, and cycled a 00 round. The screen door slammed and the would-be burglar bolted for the fence. My dog nearly caught fast, I couldn't get a clear shot at the guy.

    Two (1983) - Four (4!) crackheads started banging on the front door at 5:00 a.m. demanding a ride to someone's house. I answered the door with a Colt Python leveled at the closest asshole's head. Looked like the Olympic relay team leaving the yard.

    Three (1985) - Driving in a remote part of Texas with the wife and newborn son. A guy at the isolated rest stop, who looks scary, starts moving towards us. His body language and facial expression just screamed BAD NEWS, so I pulled my carry weapon, a .410/.45 cal Derringer and held it down at my side. He looked, he turned, he ran. We called the Texas Highway Patrol when we hit Paris (Texas) and gave them a description. Sure enough, they had reports of people being accosted and robbed in that area.

    BTW, I live in Oklahoma and we have a "Make My Day" law and citizens are allowed to carry and use a firearm. I don't know the current statistics, so I don't know if the crime rate has changed, up or down, since the law took effect. I suspect it's down, but really have no idea...just an impression. I do know that I almost certainly AVOIDED being a victim by virtue of being armed in the above situations.

    Interestingly enough, I don't currently carry a firearm. I do carry an ASP police baton as it's non-lethal and I can drive to Texas or Kansas without getting hassled by the law for having a hand cannon in the truck.

    No, I don't belong to the N.R.A. or anything. Just raised on a farm and trained to hunt and use firearms correctly from about age 6 on. I'm also a VietNam vet and did qualify as a Marksman. Basically, a gun is a tool, not a religious experience.

  • Re:Please be honest: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:23PM (#15615620) Homepage
    Add a gun or guns and the situation has the potential to end tragically for either party or by-standers.

    Because we all know, if there weren't any guns around, they would of have started a bonfire, brought out the smores and sang a acapella version of kumbaya. The fact is that the gun in that situation was there, and the police were not. It also doesn't matter if you're a 105 pound woman or a 350 pound quarterback, a gun is just as effective in your hands if you practice a bit and just as deadly for those on the other end of it. Yes, that cuts both ways, but you have the same thing with knives and bats (athough England is trying to ban knives too...)

    And as for this myth of "adrenaline will cause you to shoot people" - that is bullshit and I speak from first hand experience. A drunken frat boy decided it would be a good idea to steal a toner cartridge for a Laserjet IIIp (retard...) while I was moving. He approached me as I was looking for something in the trunk and during our "talk", I slipped a magazine full of hydrashoks hollowpoint ammo into my 9mm and loaded a round. When it became clear that dumbass just wanted to steal something and run off, I just shrugged and pretty much let him do it.
    I somehow managed to overcome the irresistable urge to empty my magazine into him and let him go as he and his dumbass friends sped off (and skidded around a corner and tore up the right side of his new suv, lol).
    The police never showed up, by the way - in some places the local cops are useless.

    A good chunk of UK cops carry concealed .380s (you can conceal a .380 pretty much anywhere. My carry piece when I lived in the states []
    And it was not uncommon in London to see snipers on the rooftops and police officers walking around with mp5's [] when I went about a month ago.

    Oh, finally, it might not be the greatest idea to use the UK as an example, where you have gangs of thugs and idiots running around "happy slapping" people, carrying bats or whatever improvised weapons that are available to them while ordinary citizens are worried about a 5 year sentence for carrying a swiss army knife in their pocket.
  • by DarkSarin ( 651985 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:35PM (#15615717) Homepage Journal
    and yet you felt the need to post as AC. Frankly, let's be honest here: the second amendment is not about the right to protect yourself from criminals, although it does have that effect. Rather it is about the right to protect yourself from the government should the government become repressive.

    That was one of the basic tenets of the founding fathers: that we had the right to overthrow a repressive and oppressive regime and take control of the government. They viewed this as a inalienable right; that is, passing a law to the contrary doesn't mean that you no longer have that right, it just proves that the government has become repressive.

    Sedition is, and should be, a crime. We certainly don't want people to overthrow a good government to replace it with a dictatorship. On the other hand, in a good government this will rarely be the case.

    Get rid of weapons (not just guns) that equalize the citizenry with the military, and you have made impossible for people to exercise their rights.

    Call me paranoid, but this is exactly why I oppose ANY gun law. If you register the weapon, then the government, should it become repressive, knows who to tartet first. If you can't own a weapon equal to what the military has, then you can't fight them as effectively (you then have to spend resources, which will be scarce, in figuring out how to neutralize the military's weapons). Let me say this again: I do not support any gun laws. The idea of controlling weapons is based on poor reasoning (protection laws) or totalitarianism. Neither one fits with my ideas of a good society.

    In a responsible society (where we do not live), everyone would be required to take gun safety classes, but after that there would be absolutely no tracking of ownership. I would be happy with this: it arms the citizens (and an armed citizenry is less likely to be victimized), and it prevents tracking.

    Finally, the specious argument that we can reduce violent crime by making it illegal to own a gun has been thoroughly debunked: criminals, by definition, break laws. If you make it illegal to own a gun, they will still buy and own one--illegally. It may not be the same one, and it will definitely be harder to trace. No, gun laws are bad. Firearm safety laws requiring education (and nothing else) on gun use are good. [FWIW, I would support one gun ban: children under 12 could not own a gun].
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:42PM (#15615776)
    > Funny, I would put the right to have enough to eat as more basic than the right to bear arms,
    > while I'm sure you'd call that socialism.

    No such 'right' is even possible. Declaring my inalienable Right to speak, think, worship (or not) as I choose requires nothing of my fellow Citizens other than they not oppress me. Same for my Right to defend myself. Your concept of a 'Right to Food' is nothing less than the assertion of an Obligation on me to feed you and anyone else who can't (more likely won't) do the things needed to feed themselves. More bluntly, you wish to enslave me to service your needs and you and the rest of your shiftless Socialist bretheren can go f*** yourself.

    > What do non-property owners get out of upholding the rights of property holders?

    That is easy, because EVERYONE is a 'property holder'. Yes, that is correct. Each and every one of us owns at least one very valuable item, themselves. I'd also bet you own quite a bit more property, perhaps not so much as Mr. Gates but more than a good three quarters of the world's population owns. But property rights begins with owning oneself. Socialism, by asserting that the individial is only valuable as property of the State, denies that. Defending the absolute Right to own property for Mr. Gates means my Right to my own more humble slice of the pie is also secure.

    You can and should be free to use your powers of persuasion to convince me to do 'good works' like helping the less fortunate you should NOT be able to use the power of the State to take my property at gunpoint to do things you consider more worthy with the product of my labor. Yes that means I object to the bulk of the State and Federal government's expenditures.
  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @04:55PM (#15615903)
    That all Americans should unhold.

    That's right if you don't own a gun and know how to use it you are irresponsibly failing to hold up your part of the citizen/government force ratio.

  • Re:Please be honest: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Evil Pete ( 73279 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @06:34PM (#15616734) Homepage

    Why don't you guys use real statistics [] and not something the NRA made up. This stuff is an urban myth []. Also realise the situation in Australia is different. In Oz 60% of homicides happen in the home, in the US most happen in the street.

  • by ChePibe ( 882378 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @08:17PM (#15617296)
    Teach your children respect for guns and what they can do

    By FAR the most important thing you can do.

    A friend of mine who is a gunsmith made a habit of taking his children to shoot as soon as they were old enough (around 5). Not so they could actually shot all the time, but to demystify the weapons.

    He would show them the gun, disassemble it, reassemble it, allow them to handle it, and then have them shoot it. Generally, they were scared to death of the weapon, the recoil, the noise, etc. and they respected the gun - they knew what it did, they knew it was dangerous, and they did not want to mess with it until they were much older when they wanted to take up shooting themselves (although he thought it was a bit funny when his 14 year old daughter - who's not the type you'd expect to like shooting - actually became a better markswoman than him).

    Too many parents hide the weapon and never let children handle it - it's forbidden, and once they get a hand on it the first thing they want to do is use it like they do in all the video games and movies, often with dreadful results, especially if the owner has left the weapon loaded.
  • Re:Please be honest: (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @08:48PM (#15617440)
    If you aren concerned with honest then please provide the stats for the change over the whole 10 years since the change was brought in in Australia? That would be more meaningful and enough time has passed for it to be available.

    I live in Sydney and we are hadly under siege by gun toting criminals because we aren't all armed to the teeth.

    While I think you should back your statement up with recent stats I know for a fact that the number of massacres since port arthur is 0, while prior to the new laws we would have one every couple of years before.
  • by Lt.Hawkins ( 17467 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @09:35PM (#15617612) Homepage
    There are already ways that you can nullify a weapon in a scuffle: drop the magazine. If you press the magazine release on most modern semi-autos, even if the mag doesn't fall completely clear, it will prevent the weapon from firing (assuming you haven't disabled the safety). So if someone does get that close, press the magazine release, drop the weapon, and while the other person is trying to figure out what's wrong with it, draw your backup weapon and shoot them.

    Not necessarily. What you describe is called a "magazine safety" and unless you live in a state that requires them, they're relatively rare, and many gun people don't consider them a desirable feature. Why? Because with the spring tension in a fully loaded magazine pushing the top round up against the bottom of the slide, it is very possible that you think you'll have the magazine seated all the way, but it isn't. This mistake is made much more often, comparibly speaking, than the frequency of someone having to enter hand-to-hand combat for a gun while successfully hitting the magazine release button.

    Incidentally, I've combined two "gun safety" philosophies into one geek friendly riddle:
    Gun safety rule: A gun is always loaded, unless you confirm otherwise.
    Gun carry rule: If you're going to be carrying a gun for defensive purposes, assume its empty until you confirm otherwise. (i.e. A gun is always empty unless you confirm otherwise)

    Now, a non-geek would say "Always make sure the gun is in the condition you want it to be in."
    Me, the geek, wondered, "If a gun is both loaded, and unloaded at the same time, is pointed at a box that has a cat that is either dead, or alive, and you pull the trigger... what happens?"

  • Re:Please be honest: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UttBuggly ( 871776 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @10:42PM (#15617956)
    Oh, how I laughed!

    Actually, it's not your fault...I didn't include some important details.

    In situations 1 & 2, these were low income, high-crime areas. Most "burglars" were stealing to support drug habits, so a logical reaction of bolting when surprised was unlikely. It was far more likely that I would have been injured or killed; it happened to more than one neighbor in the time I lived there. The cops refused to run solo, day or night, in this area. And while I am a skilled martial artist, and have fought multiple opponents in controlled conditions, facing 4 people high on drugs unarmed would have been idiotic. The nearest police assistance was 6 to 11 miles distant, depending on which station responded. In both cases, the police WERE called, but the miscreants were long gone. Still, a report was filed and hopefully made a difference.

    In situation 3, we were ALONE, near dusk, at an isolated rest stop with little traffic on the main highway. We had stopped for the facilities and to stretch our legs. The person who approached us was between us and the car and behaved in a threatening manner. And remember, when he exited stage left and we got in our car and drove to the next town, we reported the incident to the State Troopers, who informed us that someone not unlike the description we gave HAD been preying on motorists in that area.

    Now, knowing this may not change your opinion of me or how I chose to handle the situations. But, I could have shot and killed any or all of those people and likely faced no prosecution or even arrest. I chose to bark, but not to bite or end a human life needlessly. That's part of the rationale to carrying a spring-loaded baton instead of a gun now. I'm UNLIKELY to kill anyone with it and should they disarm me, they could certainly hurt me, but likely NOT kill me with my own weapon. The same is not true of a gun or knife. Just because I made a judgement call...3 times in 30 years...doesn't make me stupid. I've been in more than 3 confrontations in my 50 years on Earth, and rarely have had to escalate beyond strong rhetoric and body language.

    Oh, I've also been in far worse places on the planet than Johannesburg; the military saw to that. Plus, I've been to New York City on vacation! And hey, this stupid Okie is still breathing. :o)

    Thanks for the feedback; I was imprecise in the information initially given, so thank you for pointing that out, albeit in a somewhat insulting manner.
  • My main contention is simply this: I think it's far more likely that rather than Bob winning control of the gun and then firing (in which case your reasoning is OK) we'll have one of the following:

    1. gun is accidentally discharged by either one in the scuffle (by far most likely)
    2. Bob manages to fire the gun before actually breaking free with it (that's what I'd be trying to do - why grab the gun when it's easier to point it and shoot it while they still have a hand on the gun?)
    3. Bob manages to wrest the weapon free and Alice's response is to throw up her arms in defense (irrational, but reflex) or make a grab for the gun. In either case - Bob can fire.


A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson