Douglas Wiebe of the Firearm Injury Center at Penn (FICAP) at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia agrees. Last month, Wiebe and colleagues found that people who keep guns at home have a 72 per cent greater chance of being killed by firearms compared with those who do not, and are 3.44 times as likely to commit suicide (Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol 41, p 771). A 1997 survey by the CDC that compared the US with 25 other industrialised countries, including the UK and Australia, showed that the number of gun-related homicides in the US per 100,00 children below the age of 15 was 16 times that of all the other countries combined. The proportion of children below 15 who use guns to kill themselves was 11 times higher.
Gun maker Colt has developed a prototype gun that transmits a radio frequency signal to a tag worn by the user. On receiving the signal, the tag transmits its identity to the gun, which releases an internal electromagnetic lock and allows it to be fired.