Every once in a while, someone comes up with yet another bright idea for how we can reduce gun violence by making the products whose use results in the violence more ‘safe.’  For a couple of years, the ‘safe gun’ movement featured technologies which only allowed a gun’s owner to shoot the gun by matching his or her fingerprint to an electronic sensor on the grip of the gun.

              Now our friends at The Trace have discovered a new approach to gun safety being developed by a company which manufactures and sells something they call ‘less lethal’ guns, which use ammunition made out of plastic which cannot penetrate human flesh like a solid metal bullet and therefore can’t cause the kind of tissue damage which leads to serious bleeding and then leads to death.

              The company, Bryna Technologies, is selling their guns on their website for $379 and $479 bucks and you can also buy these products on Amazon where the listings refer to them as ‘launchers’ and say that what you are buying is an – ready? – ‘un-gun.’

              The Amazon listing goes on to say, “Looks like a gun, performs like a gun, but designed to be non-lethal.”

            Because this so-called ‘launcher’ uses a CO2 charge to propel the plastic round, it doesn’t meet the legal definition of a gun and therefore no background check or licensing is required in order to buy or carry what is, when all is said and done, a rather expensive toy.

              Actually, products like the so-called ‘launchers’ being made and marketed by Bryna have been around for a long time. They are called ‘paintball’ guns, and you can buy one for a hundred bucks or so at Wal Mart, Dick’s and just about everywhere else which sells toys which look like guns but aren’t really guns.

              I must have owned a dozen or so water guns when I was a kid and there’s a company out there now called HydroGlock which makes a water gun which looks exactly like a Glock. The basic model costs $40 and has an effective range of about 30 feet. Buy a couple of these guns and let your 10-year-old son and his friends run around in the back yard shooting each other all day.

              What makes the products from Bryna different is not their design but rather the messaging which the company is using to promote itself to the buying public because for the first time we have a non-lethal gun which is being advertised as doing exactly the same thing that a standard, lethal gun will do, namely, protect its user from some bad-guy threat.

              In other words, what we have here is an attempt to cash in on what has become Gun-nut Nation’s obsession with armed self-defense, while at the same time appealing to Gun-control’s concerns about the lethality of guns.

              I’m in no position to predict whether a company selling what is an alternative to the products that are usually purchased for armed, self-defense will make any kind of dent in the market over the next couple of years.

              The issue which needs to be addressed, however, is not whether the sale of such guns will give the manufacturer(s) a bang for their buck (no pun intended.) The more important issue, which isn’t addressed directly or even indirectly in the article, is what will be the impact of such products on the current rate of gun violence which lately seems to be spiraling out of sight?

              In 2021, the last year for which the CDC has published data, there were 48,830 deaths from gunshots, of which 549, or 1.1% were accidental shootings. The other 48,281 fatalities occurred because someone picked up a gun, pointed it at themselves or someone else with the intention of committing serious bodily harm. The CDC has given up trying to come up with a number for the non-fatal, intentional shootings which occur every year, but I suspect that if the agency could develop a valid method for tracking such events, it would add at least another 60,000 or so to the overall gun-violence rate.

              The individuals who engage in shooting a gun at themselves or someone else with the conscious intention of committing serious harm up to and including death have any interest in using a non-lethal gun. To the contrary, for purposes of why such men (and it’s almost always men) carry guns, the more lethal the better, not the other way around.

              The Trace says its role is to “investigate gun violence in America.” That’s fine. That’s what they should do and generally speaking, they do it very well.

              But this article has nothing to do with gun violence at all, and if Bryna Technologies is hoping to expand its market, the company might try to figure out a way to justify spending $400 to buy a toy.

              I can buy an X-Box video console plus the latest version of Call of Duty for $500 bucks. All Bryna needs to do is add some targets to their package and they’re good to go.