Should High Capacity Magazines Be GPS Chipped?

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On December 14th, 2012 Adam Lanza entered into Sandy Hook elementary school armed with a variety of guns and proceeded to commit one of the most atrocious mass murder in the history of our country. Compounding the amount tragedy of the casualties, 27 including Lanza himself, was the fact that 20 of them were first graders and many of the 6 teachers who died did so attempting to save the lives of students. But it seemed that almost before Lanza ended the sickening episode by killing himself, debate was already raging over who was to blame for the tragedy and what could be done to keep from something similar ever happening again.


Among the many “solutions” that surfaced in the days and weeks following the attack was one written as a letter written by Wally Grigo to the editor of the New Haven Register. In the letter, Grigo suggests adding GPS tracking microchips to magazines with a capacity to hold 30 or more rounds. He postulates that, had the guns Landza used been so equipped, police could have cut him off before even reached the school and the disaster could have been averted. The letter has since made its way around the internet through repostings, linkings, and message board discussions.


But there at least two problems with Mr. Grigo’s proposal. The first is that, as he proposes it, Mr. Grigo offers no way to differentiate between a marksman taking his gun to the shooting range and would be murderer headed towards an elementary school. Without a way to differentiate between the innocent and the malicious, there is simply no practical way for a police department to track high capacity magazines. Secondly, it would take an overwhelming amount police correctly monitor the movements of magazines – police who could and should be on the street.


A GPS device doesn’t have a brain. It cannot determine the malicious from the innocent. And if we’ve learned anything over the past several years it is that neither, apparently, can we. Nobody interviewed has said that they thought all along that Lanza, Cho, Holmes were destined to become mass killers. In the face of such difficulties, reform certainly is needed, but attempts at reform that predicate a foreknowledge of who will kill and when they will do it are more than likely doomed to fail.

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Darrell Fogal

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