After the recent events we have seen played out in the United States; fears over security are extremely heightened in all areas. Besides the new firearm legislation being enforced currently, there has been a lot of talk over how to best secure weapons to stop them falling into the wrong hands. Adam Lanza, who committed the atrocities at Sandy Hook elementary school, was able to access his mother’s unsecured firearms and then commit murder.
Hi-tech systems are being rushed into service that recognise who is holding the gun via fingerprints and only allow the trigger to be depressed by the authorised user. Other versions include systems that scan the DNA of the user for authorisation. While in theory this method seems like a good idea, critics have made some valid points against the rollout of these weapons. Service personnel are reluctant to adopt new devices containing these safety measures due to questions over their operational reliability. According to sources, the delay in the system being activated is enough to give the criminal the upper hand in a shootout, not to mention fears that the system may not unlock properly, leaving the officer unarmed in a potentially deadly situation.
Some have stated expressly that had Adam Lanza’s mother had this technology in all of her weapons hen this tragedy would never have taken place. I personally don’t agree with this argument. What if Lanza had decided to cut off one of his mother’s digits to validate the weapon with?
I think people are missing something fundamental in this scenario. Take the United Kingdom’s gun laws as an example; in the UK you are only granted a shotgun or firearms certificate if you can prove that you are a trustworthy person AND have the means of safe storage of both the firearms and ammunition. You need two separate, high security, locking cabinets; the first for the firearms, the other for the ammunition and main operational parts, such as the bolt or receiver on a rifle. Without having access to both of these cabinets the items inside are useless.
When being interviewed by the Firearms Liaison Officer (FLO), who will ultimately approve your application, your will be asked if you have sole access/knowledge to whereabouts of the keys to these storage cabinets. If your answer to this question is anything other than ‘Yes’, you will not get a certificate. Sometimes they will try to trick you by asking “So where do you keep the keys?”, you MUST NOT tell them! Even if you have the keys in your pocket during the interview, leave the room first and then come back with them as if you went to retrieve them from elsewhere.
This is exactly how all firearms should be stored in my humble opinion. If the cabinet is of a sufficient standard and is fixed to the fabric of the building as it should be extremely difficult to force entry or remove completely. This method is of course dependant on one element, the keys must be hidden at all times and absolutely no-one other than the rightful owner should know where they are hidden.
Short of ‘un-inventing’ the gun itself, it is my firm belief that if all guns were held in strong, special purpose cabinets or safes then the incidences of mass shootings would decrease, I believe this because I believe that a high number of these types of crimes are committed ‘in the moment’ due to the easy access of firearms.