Chicago Official Asking GPS Tracking Devices on Guns

22 Jan 2013

In the aftermath of repeated mass shootings, Chicago pushes for GPS tracking of guns.

As the country prepares for possible stricter gun control, a former police officer in Chicago, Illinois, is suggesting GPS tracking of all guns in the country. Alderman Willie Cochran wants to propose a new tracking program that will require all guns to have Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers to be fitted on all existing and new guns. Not only would it allow gun holders find their guns if they’re missing or stolen, but it would track down owners and their guns used in crimes.

Cochran suggests it would be similar to use gps tracking to locate your stolen car. “Just like if your car gets stolen, OnStar can tell you where your car is. If your gun gets stolen, and you report it, we should be able to find that gun,” he said.

In the last year, there have been multiple shootings with the two most prolific occurring in July 2012 and December 2012. In July, James Holmes walked into the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, being shown in Aurora Colorado, and shot his gun more than 60 times in the theatre. 12 people were killed and another 58 were injured. Just six months later, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother then went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire. 20 children were killed along with 6 staff members and teachers.

Cochran has approached the Committee on Public Safety in hopes of receiving testimony on the new GPS program he wants instated in Illinois and on a national level. He insists the cost of outfitting guns with GPS chips would cost less than what gun crimes cost their state. Cochran isn’t the only one trying to find a solution to the gun crime problem. In Massachusetts, a state senator has a similar goal.

“Let’s measure what it costs in hospital costs, lost wages, deaths,” Cochran said.

Another concern about the GPS tracking proposal is that registered gun owners would have a violation of privacy. However Cochran responded to this concern: “As for the privacy of gun owners who could be tracked with the GPS chips in their guns, Cochran said, “safety is … a much more important issue than is privacy.”

“It is extremely important that we look past this privacy issue, at this point, and understand how important it is for us to address the issue of safety,” Cochran added.

The mayor of Illinois has yet to respond to Cochran’s proposal, but it doesn’t change the multitude of suggestions across the state and nationally in response to gun control. Gun crimes and mass shootings are leading to more fear and the desire for stricter laws.

Editorial Comment:  While what this Chicago official proposes may sound like a good idea, it is not.  If he completely understood the technology he would realize that what he is asking for is technologically impossible.  A gps tracker works by processing gps location information through a gps chipset that is built into the device.  Once the location information is processed, the gps tracker transmits location.  Commonly this is done on a gsm or cellular network where data is sent to a connected server, and location information is overlaid on a map.  Moreover, in order for a gps tracker to work it needs a power source.  A vehicle, is powered by its battery – while a gun has no power source.



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