By now you may have heard of a new app available on the Google Play Store and likely coming to the Apple iTunes Store soon. It’s called Gun Geo Marker and it’s developer claims the app is designed to help protect children by allowing anonymous users to mark the homes and businesses of “potentially unsafe guns and gun owners.” The Gun GEO Marker F.A.Q. claims the app does not invade anyone’s privacy because it does not “connect U.S. government database, PRISM, or utilize any magnetic remote sensing applications or satellite systems…to invade our privacy.”
The developer, Brett Stalbaum, is listed as a lecturer in the Visual Arts department of the University of California, San Diego. In spite of his locale, place of employment, or the stated purpose of his app to out gun owners, Stalbaum claims he is a “gun owner who wants to see our rights preserved.” He goes on to claim his intention is merely to simply give parents and community members a means to alert each other to dangerous conditions in their neighborhoods. Stalbaum also parrots the Obama claim that 90% of the American People want what he calls “commons sense, constitutional measures” to improve gun safety.
The app itself, as mentioned earlier, is on the Google Apps Play Store and free to any user. Users, according to the developer’s website, are anonymous. And once a location is marked, IT CANNOT BE UNMARKED, though Stalbaum claims these markers will eventually be deleted (presumably by him) for the sake of keeping the data “fresh.” There are no specifics on how long it takes a location to be deleted from his database. Stalbaum claims that anyone expressing concern about the potential criminal use of this application is simply paranoid. He goes on to say that the U.S. Constitution does not protect anonymous gun ownership or stop others from speaking freely about gun owners. His view is that it’s the gun owners’ responsibility to keep the fact they own a gun a secret (never mind that some states/municipalities don’t give you that option) and that criminals would look for softer targets like the homes of those whose cars sport NRA bumper stickers.
Stalbaum says he can’t be held responsible for the criminal miss use of his app. Painful as it may be, I have to agree with him on that single point but, guns are actually a federally regulated item. Though we have a right to keep and bear arms; at present, anytime we buy a gun from a licensed dealer, we have to submit to a background check. That’s been the law since NICS went online in the late 1990s. There is no background check to Stalbaum’s app. As much as people of his ilk claim that access to guns it too easy, his app makes it too easy to mark innocent people as potential targets for home invasion , strong-arm robberies, or domestic violence should an abusive husband/wife use the app to locate an estranged spouse. But he seems too short sighted to see any of these concerns because, as usual, it’s for the sake of the children. Never mind how many children the app itself might endanger.