Ann T. Berry: Guns and chips

March 10, 2013 

Guns and chips

As your March 3 front-page stories noted, most guns cannot be traced because they keep changing hands. This weakens the deterrent potential of a background-check system. While I favor strengthening that system, why not also try something entirely different? Why not, for example, require embedding microchip identifiers deep inside the grip (for handguns) or stock (for bigger guns) of every new weapon manufactured in or imported to the U.S.?

Such chips routinely keep pets from loss or theft and track both winged and footed wild creatures. Even butterflies get ID tags. Why not guns?

I know this wouldn’t touch the plague of existing guns, unless some bright techie finds a way to attach microchips irremovably to every gun that comes into contact with the law, including via gun shows. But 5.5 million new guns were made in America in 2010 alone.

Surely – and yes, I know the metaphor is ironic – equipping new weapons with microchip identifiers is a weapon well worth adding to our pitifully feeble defenses against violence by gun.

Ann T. Berry, Raleigh

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