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Solving the Gun Problem With an App - Dilbert Blog

Solving the Gun Problem With an App

Today I give you a bad idea with the hope that you can fix it. As usual, this idea is more for fun than for reality. Unless you fix it. No pressure, but lives are at stake.

The question is whether an app could reduce the death toll from mass shootings in public places. Follow me on this and see if there’s something there.

I will only be discussing VOLUNTARY actions by citizens. The government is not involved in forcing this idea on anyone. If you miss the VOLUNTARY part you will end up down the 2nd Amendment rabbit hole.

So, let’s say there’s an app that tells you whether a concealed-carry gun owner is nearby. Gun owners with concealed weapons permits could VOLUNTARILY sign up in a VOLUNTARY way to be tracked (without specific identification) to public areas. Anyone with the app would know whether these legal gun-owners are nearby – say within a block – but no one except law enforcement could unlock the identities. 

The idea is to give legal gun owners – the kind who don’t mind being known to the government – a way to see which public places NEED them to carry. If they see on a map that a public place already has legal gun owners with weapons nearby, no need to bring your own. That day, you don’t mark yourself as carrying on the app But if you are heading somewhere that the app says rarely has a legal concealed gun nearby, you might decide to bring one for the greater good.

Yes, yes, yes. I know, I know, I know. The bad guys would use the app to figure out where there are no guns.

But keep in mind that the gun-free map would be changing all the time. The very next person who arrives might be carrying. And legal gun owners would learn, over time, where to carry and where not to carry, in order to get some sort of minimum coverage for public places.

Let’s assume that the minimum requirement to register your gun with the app is that you have gun safety training, military experience, or police experience. No one else would be able to register on the app.

If a shooting breaks out, the police can unlock the identities of legal gun-owners who VOLUNTARILY registered with the app so they know how many guns to expect in a given situation, and who to contact by cellphone.

Over time, users of the app would learn when to carry and when it doesn’t matter so much. The gunless areas would eventually attract more guns of the legal type for defense.

In a business environment, this could take the form of one registered employee who keeps the gun at work in a gun safe. The gun would still show up on the map if the user registers it.

Gun owners who don’t want to be part of the program don’t have to participate. And obviously it only works in states with concealed-carry laws.

When you comment, keep these things in mind:

1. No gun owner will be required by law to use the app. It is voluntary.

2. The number of guns might increase because of this, but they would be concentrated in the hands of people who have gun safety training and no evil intent. 

3. This idea could be tested in one city. No need to go big until we know it works small.

How bad is this idea?