A gun that only fires when its authorized owner is carrying it: Sounds like something out of the movies—and indeed, James Bond carries one in Skyfall—but such technology, as well as features to make guns safer, is very much possible. So why hasn't it been widely implemented? Because "gunmakers don't care," declares Farhad Manjoo on Slate. While our cars, appliances, and other products are subject to consumer safety laws that have made them less dangerous over the years, guns are exempt from most of those laws—so gun companies can't be sued and embarrassed after gun deaths the same way car companies can be after vehicle accidents.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is also prohibited from regulating guns. "If they can’t be sued and can’t be regulated, gunmakers have no incentive to make smarter guns," writes Manjoo, even though such guns "might prevent hundreds or thousands of deaths per year." Manjoo concedes that "smart guns," which use a variety of different methods from grip-recognition to fingerprints to RFID tokens to passwords to ensure only authorized users fire them, may not have stopped Adam Lanza's recent massacre, since his mother presumably would have added him as an authorized user so she could take him to the shooting range. But such guns, or guns with other safety measures gunmakers have been slow to implement, could have saved many victims like 7-year-old Craig Loughrey. Click for Manjoo's full column. (Read more guns stories.)