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'Smart guns' aren't perfect, but that's no reason not to make them

To the editor: Jon Stokes makes a simple-minded argument against "smart gun" technology. He points out that there are significant engineering challenges and that some proposed solutions may introduce new risks. He concludes that there is no point in trying to design a smart gun. ("Will smart guns make us less safe?," Opinion, Jan. 17)

Of course, he has to stretch credulity to arrive at these results. For example, he theorizes that criminals will wander through a crowd with their laptops hunting for RFID-enabled guns. Good luck with that.

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Some of the design issues are real, and it will take time and ingenuity to figure out what works and what doesn't. But engineers don't say, "Landing a rocket on its tail is hard, so let's not even try." Instead they work hard and try different approaches until the problem is solved.

It's too bad Stokes doesn't understand that.

Geoff Kuenning, Claremont

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To the editor: The National Rifle Assn. and firearms enthusiasts have nothing against the development of smart guns. If left alone, the technology would evolve and a market for such guns would develop naturally.

It is only when smart guns are mandated by federal or state governments that resistance develops and the market is disrupted. In 2002, New Jersey attempted to mandate smart-gun technology and only succeeded in ruining the market for these guns.

Now, instead of allowing New Jersey to repeal its failed law and letting the free market take over, President Obama is doubling down on government interference with his executive action intending to "shape the future of gun safety technology." I fear that the only thing that the president will shape is another disaster for smart guns.

Steven Oetzell, Redondo Beach

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To the editor: Stokes' argument against smart guns — that they can be hacked — applies to similar safety technology in cars, planes, dams and other critical infrastructure.

Unfortunately, people exist who would cause mayhem by hacking into the electrical systems of planes and cars. This does not mean that such technologies should not be developed and used.

The NRA wants gun owners to fear smart-gun technology even though it has the potential to save lives. Shame on it.

Arch Miller, Arcadia 

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