Geo Gun Marker, a smartphone app created by Walkingtools, which describes itself as “a loose confederation of software and related art or education projects,” allows users to electronically log the locations of “potentially unsafe guns and gun owners.”
A description of the app, available at the Google Play store, reads as follows:
Geolocate Dangerous Guns and Owners with the Gun Geo Marker. Geolocation means marking dangerous sites on the App’s map so that you and others can be aware of the risks in your neighborhood.
The Gun Geo Marker operates very simply, letting parents and community members mark, or geolocate, sites associated with potentially unsafe guns and gun owners. These locations are typically the homes or businesses of suspected unsafe gun owners, but might also be public lands or other locations where guns are not handled safely, or situations where proper rights to own or use any particular type of firearm may not exist. Electronically marking these locations can help others in the area learn about their geography of risk from gun accidents or violence. No matter what your safety concern with firearms might be, you should feel free to use this tool to provide the most accurate information you can such that others can make their own safety decisions.
The app states that it is to be used to electronically log the location of only “potentially unsafe guns and gun owners”— but judging by the gun control proposals pushed by anti-gun zealots throughout the Nation over the past several months, it’s obvious that there is no way of knowing who classifies what as a dangerous gun or gun owner.
Never fear, the app makers offer some guidelines.
Here’s who they say you shouldn’t mark:
- Hunters or gun enthusiasts who safely store and properly enjoy their weapons in the field, or at local firing ranges for recreational purposes.
- You should not be concerned merely because your neighbors are a member of any national gun advocacy organization. The actual threat – just to cite the best known org – that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its kin present to you and your children is political.
- Finally, there is at least one particular situation in which you should certainly not use the Walkingtools Gun Geo Marker. If you have direct, personal knowledge or even a suspicion that guns are being used in context of organized criminal activity, then it may be extremely risky for you to mark related locations. You should forget about the Walkingtools Gun Geo Marker in all such cases, and instead consider getting appropriate law enforcement agencies involved in the situation.
The last point is one that seems to negate the need for the app in the first place: if someone is using a gun in a dangerous (criminal) manner, call the police.
Here’s who the app makers want marked:
- Note that while people who keep loaded firearms in their home should not necessarily have their location marked as a gun owner of concern, studies do show conclusively that guns in the home greatly increase the chances of death by gunfire for the owner, family members and visitors. This is especially the case with guns kept unlocked and loaded for “personal safety.”
- First time gun owners or others who may not have not taken basic gun safety training, or who were not raised in a culture of gun safety, represent a real and present danger to their community, themselves and their family members. Their locations may be marked at any time. Bear in mind that these people are most often well meaning, thus as a concerned neighbor you might very well be able to educate them and therefore avoid marking their location.
- A more obvious category of dangerous neighbor is someone who frequently displays or brandishes weapons, or those reveal their gun ownership status during normal conflict resolution. Such people are potentially a very serious concern, and the home or business locations of potential high conflict gun owners should be marked only when feasible. The same goes for any neighbor whose children speak frequently of their parent’s gun ownership, or who talk about guns as a potential tools for conflict resolution.
- There are many locations, such as remote public or private lands where the discharge of firearms is legal. If you frequent such a location, you are likely a gun owner yourself and moreover, you probably have a strong interest in re-establishing safety standards at these sites.
And here are some options for marking gun threats in the app:
- “Possible unlocked/loaded/unsafe storage”
- “Possible insufficient training”
- “Guns and unsupervised children”
- “Guns and substance abuse”
- “Possible medical related concern”
- “Neighborhood talk, unsafe”
- “Possible high conflict, armed neighbor”
- “Possible out of place, large arsenal”
- “Documented/frequent unlawful discharge”
- “Possible illegal weapons on premises”
- “Possible prohibited persons”
- “Possible anti-government/terror threat”
- “Other concern (describe)”
Perhaps a better—and less obviously made for and by people who dislike guns— version of the app would simply let people mark the locations of potentially dangerous people? Of course, an even better option would be for folks to mind their own business and focus on their own self-preservation and family protection without resorting to an app designed to spread gossip about gun owners.