Why isn't Silicon Valley trying to fix the gun problem?

Silicon Valley is all its "we can save the world" mindset when it comes to education, income inequality, and green tech. But where is the Bay Area's tech industry when it comes to gun violence? Over at Backchannel, Scott Rosenberg writes about the technology and sociopolitical challenges in the efforts to build a "smart" gun. From Backchannel:

If smart guns really offer both a potential market and a public good, why hasn't the world of tech money come running? Here are some reasons.

(1) There's no data. Tech investors are a data-driven bunch, yet the entire field of gun studies is moribund — it never recovered from its kneecapping by Congress in 1996, when legislators threatened to defund the Center for Disease Control unless it stopped all research into gun violence. An executive order by Obama lifted the ban in theory three years ago, but the field remains hobbled, and even if the floodgates opened tomorrow, there's a whole lot of ground to be recovered.

(2) There's too much shouting. Tech investors prefer to stand above the partisan fray, and even those who have more of a stomach for public policy debates might quail at the level of vitriol the gun issue triggers. Those who do wade in need to dial up the discretion filter to a level that many in the freewheeling tech world might find uncomfortable. For example, in 2014 progressive Seattle investor nick hanauer made a high-profile contribution to a Washington state background-check initiative. Then he got in trouble for an obviously sarcastic Facebook post that read, in part, "We need more school shootings!!!" That just doesn't happen when you're investing in, say, high-speed wireless networks.

(3) There's just no natural constituency. Tech entrepreneurs and investors flock most avidly to ideas that meet their own needs; they like to "scratch their own itches" and "dog food" their products. It's not as if there are no gun nuts in the tech world. But if you are, say, a libertarian-leaning programmer who enjoys shooting, you might well think twice before getting involved with smart guns. Why be called a traitor? On the other hand, if you're an investor with liberal leanings and friends, getting involved with smart guns means actually dealing with gun people, which could be, you know, awkward or unpleasant.

"Why the Tech Industry Shuns America's Gun Problem" (Backchannel)