Ever since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I’ve been seeing proposals calling for GPS tracking for guns. I don’t really see how this would work, since GPS tracking systems require a power source and a transmitter.
Basically, it would be up to the gun owner to make sure the system was always charged, and anyone up to no good would likely let it drain down or disable it. We’re pretty much talking about turning firearms into an electronic device. Can you imagine what retrofitting existing firearms would look like? Clearly many of the folks proposing this don’t have much of a clue about GPS technology.
A workable alternative: RFID tracking
Yet there is another option that requires no power source, and would add almost no weight or bulk to a weapon – Radio frequency identification (RFID). These are the tags that trigger alarms when a shoplifter walks out of a store with merchandise. They only have a range of a few meters, but sensors could be set up at entrances to schools, theaters, public buildings, etc. Apart from the politics of it, this still leaves the issue of existing devices.
And while I’m sure the technology could be circumvented, I also know that there are folks being caught committing crimes while wearing GPS tracking devices. Clearly, there are plenty of criminals and deranged people who don’t think things through. RFID tagging would no doubt help prevent some senseless tragedies.
Image adapted from kcdsTM, Creative Commons license