Can Blockchain Be Effectively Used in Gun Control?

Whether it’s overhauling the maritime industry or revolutionizing international tourism, there is seemingly no end to how blockchain technology is transforming our lives. But what about contentious issues defining modern life in some of the world’s biggest countries? Issues like gun control.

Across the world and, particularly in the United States, there is an increasing number of people realistically looking at whether blockchain can be effectively used to stop or, at the very least, cause a reduction in gun crime. Basically, can blockchain be effectively used in gun control?

This article does not intend to take either side in the gun control debate, but let’s look into the general overview of each opinion and what each side wants.

But, before we get stuck in, there’s a high chance that, after reading this article and seeing the potential blockchain holds, you may want to invest in some form of blockchain technology such as cryptocurrency.

Three types of virtual currency represented as golden coins

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Who Wants What in The Debate Over Gun Control?

The gun control debate in the United States has been going on for decades and has polarized opinions. Nowhere is this characterized more than in the two biggest parties of the country, the Democrats and the Republicans, who generally, believe the following:

Republicans: American citizens should have the right to own and use firearms under the U.S. constitution.

Democrats: Believe that the use of guns needs more control and monitoring.

Neither side’s opinions often meet a common ground aside from the fact that both sides believe guns should only be owned by people who are responsible, mentally capable, and able to look after their weapons properly. 

Aside from the fact that both Republicans and Democrats agree that guns should only end up in the hands of responsible owners able to take care of their firearms, it’s often hard for them to find points to agree on.

Gun violence across the United States is at crisis levels, and the debate over gun laws in the senate is a quagmire that is practically useless in stopping it. So, there are increasing calls for the U.S. to find a solution that, rather than getting bogged down in constant debates, serves to strengthen the current method of gun control across the country.

This is where the blockchain comes in. This revolutionary decentralized currency could have the ability to overhaul how background checks are carried out, how firearms are tracked and, most importantly, could bring rival political parties together over something they both agree can help.

A Case Study of Blockchain and Gun Control

Statue of a revolver with a twisted barrel

Implementing blockchain into gun control is nothing new. In fact, its origins can be traced back to the winter of 2017. Enter Prof. Thomas Heston From Washington University.

Heston wrote a fascinating paper called A Blockchain Solution to Gun Control that proposed the idea of electronic firearm safes powered and reinforced by blockchain technology.

Using the blockchain, these safes would store and monitor the information of people who either owned or planned to own guns. All in a decentralized and unbiased way.

It can be compared to cryptocurrency holders who store their digital assets in a decentralized wallet. With these blockchain-powered gun safes, responsible weapons owners could digitally upload their info that would then be linked to their unique biometric data, such as a fingerprint.

If the owner then decides to add, remove, or transfer a weapon to or from the safe, it would be tracked, verified and recorded on the blockchain. 

Why Is Blockchain a Potential Answer to the Gun Control Debate?

There is a wide range of reasons that blockchain can be a promising answer to the issue of gun control in the United States and beyond; let’s take a look at some of them.

It’s Free From Corruption

The blockchain is a decentralized ledger that works through validating and securing a network of peer-to-peer nodes. 

Due to its unique decentralized nature, the blockchain is often seen as a technology that cannot be corrupted or made a target of hackers. When it comes to using blockchain as a gun control solution, both of these aspects are crucial. 

The most typical consensus method for blockchains to operate is called Proof of Work (PoW). For a hacker to target this, they would have to successfully hack the majority of miners who form a wall of defence around the entire blockchain system.

Doing so would not only be astronomically expensive, but it would also be immensely time-consuming.

You Cannot Modify Data and Information Stored on the Blockchain

If blockchain is to be used successfully in gun control, the data and information stored on their needs to be unbiased and free from individual modification after it has been stored. 

For example, imagine if an enemy government or a terror organization was able to modify gun data on a government register.

When compared to the current gun registry used in the United States, which is indeed open to being hacked and exploited, the impenetrable blockchain solution is superior. 

In the event that a gun register was hacked by ill-intentioned people, records of firearms ownership could be wiped out and those who don’t have weapons could be identified, located and targeted for home invasions or other crimes.

It Can Efficiently Overhaul Background Checks

The background check process is a major part of effective gun control in the United States and beyond. However, it’s currently massively flawed. It’s estimated that millions of vital records for people with criminal backgrounds and mental illnesses have been lost, thus losing the ability to identify people who should not be allowed to own firearms.

Through the blockchain, the background check system could be flawlessly streamlined into one efficient process by transferring a wide range of complicated sources of data into one, smooth blockchain-based system. 

Who Wins From Blockchain-Based Gun Control?

Four red Winchester bullet casing

When it comes to determining the winners of better gun control that fits both political standpoints, it’s clear that it’s everybody! Well, except for those with ill intentions.

Through a blockchain solution to gun control, we could see the process of background checks made flawless, with better security, and fewer chances of the wrong people getting their hands on lethal guns. 

Overall, it will also have a profound effect on society as a whole, a large portion of which is being worn down by increasing gun crime. But that’s far from all.

Law Enforcement

Through the accuracy, reliability and security offered by a blockchain-based gun registry, law enforcement officers would be granted an additional layer of protection to carry out their jobs as they’ll have a better understanding of what weapons they may be facing when dealing with certain suspects. 

Gun Owners 

With a blockchain solution, there will be no drastic changes to current gun laws so the hobbies of law-abiding gun owners will be unaffected. Instead, it could reduce gun crime and sway public and political opinion, thus leading to less animosity towards gun owners in general.

The Economy

It’s no secret that gun crime does nothing positive for a country’s economy. From rising law enforcement costs to plummeting house prices in high gun-crime areas, it’s crucial for a country to get a handle on gun crime before gun crime gets a handle on them.

Thus, both the overall economy and the public themselves would benefit enormously from a working, blockchain answer to the issue of gun control.

What Challenges Lie Ahead?

So, it’s clear that blockchain can potentially supply the answer we’ve all been hoping for in the long quest for a working solution to gun control. But, as with anything related to this topic, there are some bumps in the road that we may face.

The first issue is the overall cost of implementing blockchain into the enormous gun control system already in place across the U.S.A. It’s a new technology, so selling it to a majority of the senate may be difficult. 

However, nothing successful gave up at the first hurdle. Blockchain presents a potential answer to the plague of gun violence and is one that has the potential to appeal to both sides of the political sphere in the U.S.A.