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To reduce gun deaths take a ‘Q’ from the latest James Bond flick

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POSTED December 21, 2012 10:50 p.m.

Twenty six people - mostly kids - were shot to death at Sandy Hook School.

Compare that to some of the other gun-death statistics.

Using 2009 - the last complete breakdown provided by the Centers for Disease Control - there were 31, 347 gun-related deaths in the United States. Of those, 18, 735 were by suicide, 11, 493 were homicides, 333 were accidental, 360 were at the hand of law enforcement, and 232 were undetermined.

Also, the overwhelming majority of firearms used in crimes - murderers, shootings, rapes, strong-arm robberies and such - are stolen.

Any debate about guns should encompass more than just mass shootings.

If not, we get wild-eyed suggestions ranging from arming classroom teachers to the gem Senator Barbara Boxer tossed out this week of sending armed National Guardsmen to patrol campuses.

The Second Amendment isn’t going to go anywhere.

Nor is passing new laws going to be the end all cure.

So what rational, middle-of-the-road approach is there?

Well, we might be able to Google the answer.

The same innovative thinking by Google is advancing the concept of a roadway system made inherently safer and even more fuel-efficient by deploying driverless car technology can make long-term strides in reducing gun carnage.

The latest James Bond movie “Skyfall” toys with the idea of weapons that only fire when a pre-scanned thumb print pulls the trigger.

It may sound a bit Buck Rogers but so at one time were eye recognition scanners.

Just like driverless cars and related infrastructure will take a long time to implement, so would the use of guns fire-able only by matching a thumb print.

Given the fact almost all crimes in this country are committed with stolen guns - in Manteca its well over 90 percent - it ultimately will have a major impact on crime.

Eventually the black market for domestic arms would virtually dry up, especially if thumb scanning technology can’t be disabled or modified.

Accidental shootings where a youngster grabs a gun and plays with it would be nil.

Incidents where a suspect suddenly attacks an officer and wrestles a gun from him and shoots him will become a thing of the past.

But what about mass shooters that are unbalanced who buy their own weapons by somehow slipping through the cracks of the background check system?

That will have to be tightened up. Even so, such a potential shooter would be limited in his ability to secure guns he can fire once the 300 million guns now in place are eventually replaced or discarded for recycling.

Gun buyback programs - such as the two in Oakland and San Francisco that paid $200 apiece for more than 500 guns earlier this month - would become more effective as thumb recognition weapons slowly replace traditional weapons.

Mass shootings are horrific, but that isn’t what we should fear.

More kids die each year in accidental shootings than in mass shootings.

Also, the chances of any one of us being killed by your garden-variety criminal using a stolen gun is much greater than some unbalanced individual buying guns and ammo at Wal-Mart and taking countless other lives as he ends his own.

Technology in terms of automatic weapons got us into this mess. Technology can get us out.

 

This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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