The second amendment, a major cause of the well-known polarized gun control debate between the republicans and the democrats, states that the United States people have the right to bear arms are necessary for their security. Consequently, this has led to a major gun violence problem that has resulted in America reeling from mass shootings, causing loss of lives. The republicans are adamant about maintaining their stand that Americans should own guns, whereas the democrats lean towards monitoring. They all, however, understand that guns should end up in the hands of responsible owners.
What are Smart Contracts?
Blockchain technology’s smart contracts, a fairly new technology, might just be the solution that may solve this problem by controlling who can access or buy guns. This article will evaluate the possibility that smart contracts can be a creative solution to gun control in the United States.
Smart Contracts are programs that automatically execute when predetermined terms and conditions are met. They eliminate the need for an intermediary to ascertain the exertion of contractual terms and conditions formed during the agreement.
They also automate the next action once a certain condition is met, as the agreement’s contents are inscribed into code. They are stored on a blockchain or any other distributed ledger, making them safe, secure, and transparent. This is due to the unhackable and immutable nature since each entry is linked to the previous, which would require changing the entire chain to change an individual record.
How Smart Contracts can help in Gun Control
Security of Gun Owner’s Private Information
Before purchasing a gun in the United States, one has to pass a NICS background check. This Federal Bureau of Investigations’ national instant criminal background check system ensures all gun owners meet the baseline safety qualifications for possessing a firearm.
The current system is centralized; thus, all the information is stored in one place. The centralized nature makes it prone to hacks, and following the FBI records, close to 3000 unqualified people pass the NCIS background check due to the flawed database.
On the other hand, Blockchain technology is decentralized; information is stored on a distributed ledger, making attacks difficult and such systems less vulnerable as many transactions are verified by many people. Gun Owners’ data can also be inaccessible to all outside parties to the contract, ensuring that only permitted individuals access their private information.
Verifying Credentials and Qualifications
As stated earlier, federal law requires one to fulfill specific credentials to own a firearm in the United States. The flawed system makes it difficult to prove the authenticity of such owners. However, smart contracts can ensure that the parties to a contract fulfill all the required transactions before an exchange is complete.
The rules around gun ownership can be embodied in congressionally written and periodically updated smart contracts that indicate the specific credentials required for the delivery and acquisition of a specific firearm.
This would assist those selling guns to know that the buyers possess all the necessary qualifications, whereas the buyers can vet the gun ownership and possession of the vendor.
Storage of Vital Data through Electronic Gun Safes
A public health professor at Washington State University in November 2017 published a white paper named ‘A Blockchain solution to Gun Control,’ where he proposed a blockchain-powered electronic gun safe that would store vital data of aspiring and current gun owners. All aspiring gun owners would be required to keep all their information on the safes, as is the case for anyone who wishes to buy cryptocurrencies.
The electronic gun safe would be secured by the individual’s biometric data, which may include a retina scan or fingerprint. Before a transaction is made, both receiver and the seller should approve the transaction by signing a smart contract that verifies that both parties are aware of the other’s credentials as they would be visible to them.
Here the receiver must pass an electronic gun safe test, which will check for the individual’s parole history, immigration status, mental health issues, history of illegal activity, and more. By doing this, authorities would be in a better position to identify potential dangers, thus ending the gun violence menace.
Blockchain’s smart contracts are a relatively new technology that seems promising in different sectors. The recent surge in school shootings, leading to massive losses of innocent lives, indicates that the American congress needs to quickly devise a solution that deters gun ownership by wrong individuals.
Smart contracts may be the magic bullet; in this case, the immutable and transparent nature of these contracts makes them conducive for storing vital data whose alteration or unavailability is the primary cause of firearms ending up in the wrong hands.
Adopting the new technology comes with its can of worms, especially due to the fragmented United States system presenting a challenge in balancing state and federal laws. State-to-state laws would hinder information sharing. However, Smart contracts should not be overlooked entirely, as they can appeal to both sides of the American political spectrum.