I’m quite sure that the idea of applying free market solutions to gun safety gives the typical gun hater the heebeegeebees. They’re usually the sort that want government to drive solutions to this, that , or the other societal concern. The thought of “the rabble” deciding what’s best is, well, unthinkable. When it comes to gun safety, their ideas are as a rule unworkable or impractical. Their solutions also come with laws that attempt to force you to use their “product”. One of their bright ideas is mandating the purchase of a “gun lock” with every new firearm. These usually end up locking everything but a firearm. (The last one I was forced to buy is a nice lock, but it’s better suited to securing the dressing room door on our horse trailer than a handgun.)
So why is this the case? It’s simple: You cannot market a product that no one wants. There’s a reason why there’s no such thing as celery flavored beer, sweet-and-sour birthday cake, or Carolina Reaper flavored bubble gum. This also explains the wild success of smart guns in the retail market. Nobody wants them.
At first blush, they may sound like an interesting idea. But, as you dig in a little bit, you realize that this is a product being marketed to gun muggles, not gun owners. It’s just not practical to put a hackable computer between you and your self defense firearm. Strike 1.
And they’re expensive. Strike 2.
And they have yet to prove themselves capable of withstanding common gun cleaning chemicals or harsh environmental conditions. Strike 3.
Gun haters bemoan the lack of these gizmos on gun store shelves. They blame the NRA, of course. Their stock solution to this “problem” is, no surprise here, to demand laws mandating their sale. The real reason they’re not flying off the shelves is that there’s no demand for them. The free market has spoken, and its answer is a resounding “NO!”. Does this mean that there is no market whatsoever for gun safety products? Of course not.
Gun users design some handy and thus marketable tools for increasing gun safety. For example, the ZØRE gun lock from Israel was designed with defensive use in mind. Once it’s unlocked, racking the slide on your pistol disengages it, throws it clear, and leaves you with a ready-to-go handgun. It comes with an app for monitoring the lock for tampering as well as a feature for timing yourself to see how quickly you can disengage it. The app can even be set up to “surprise” you as a practice drill. Hornady offers its Rapid Rack empty chamber indicator for AR platform rifles and some shotguns. It does more than indicate an empty chamber, it’s designed to act as a charging handle. Pull on its big, red handle and it strips itself away from your firearm to make it instantly available for use. The market already has products like retention holsters and gun safes to prevent unauthorized access. All of these are gun safety products offered to gun owners who actually want to spend money on them. In other words, these are free market solutions.