Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

“Smart” Gun Glitches Confirm Gun Owner Concerns

Friday, October 14, 2016

“Smart” Gun Glitches Confirm Gun Owner Concerns

As part of his executive gun-control fixes, President Obama has endorsed so-called “smart” gun technology on the premise that if “you can’t unlock your phone unless you’ve got the right fingerprint, why can’t we do the same thing for our guns?”

Never mind that smartphone technology is currently far from infallible. A fingerprint ID feature is liable to fail when it is cold outside, or when fingers are sweaty, wet or dirty. Smartphone engineers continue to wrestle with more general performance and safety concerns, like inexplicably exploding phones.

It’s not particularly surprising, then, that a “smart” gun recently showcased revealed some of the same failings. A prototype using a Glock 22, developed by 19-year-old inventor Kai Kloepfer, has a biometric fingerprint sensor, similar to the one in a smartphone, built into the grip and aligned to approximately where the shooter’s middle finger would rest. The prototype takes approximately a second and a half to recognize a fingerprint and unlock the gun. In order for the gun to continue to be available to fire, the shooter’s finger has to remain aligned with the sensor. The sensor can’t recognize a wet fingerprint, and the gun isn’t designed to work for persons with dirty hands or who are wearing gloves. The modifications to the gun also mean that the magazine capacity is downsized from 15 rounds to nine. All of these raise concerns about the viability of the gun as a weapon in a critical defensive use situation.

Gun owners have additional legitimate reasons for viewing “smart” gun technology with reservations.  

Radio frequency ID (RFID) access or token-access “smart” gun technology comes with its own kinds of glitches. This is based on the firearm remaining locked and unusable unless an authorized user’s token (like a watch or ring) comes within a defined proximity of the enabled gun. In November 2014, the New Jersey Attorney General issued an opinion on the Armatix iP1 handgun, a “smart” gun utilizing RFID technology that retails at around $1,800. The iP1handgun is paired with a wristwatch containing an RFID chip that enables the functioning of the gun. The watch must be situated within 10 inches of the gun in order for the gun to fire. The opinion concluded that “as a matter of design, the pistol may be fired by a person who is not an authorized or recognized user.” Provided the gun is “situated within 10 inches of the enabling wristwatch, it may be fired by anyone,” including an unauthorized individual who simply maintains possession of the gun within 10 inches of the authorized user’s wrist, or an unauthorized user who forcibly takes both the wristwatch and gun.

One gun-control group, The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, recommends the development of “smart” gun technology that, besides preventing unauthorized use, would allow guns to be remotely disabled and their locations GPS-tracked. This capability was echoed in a 2016 Report to the President by the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense, which noted that technology currently being tested would allow “real-time data collection involving the location and use of law enforcement firearms.” A computer chip embedded in a law enforcement firearm would transmit data, using the officer’s smartphone, to a police operations center about the gun’s location and use. “More sophisticated systems can collect additional information about the gun’s use—such as when the weapon has been unholstered or discharged.” It’s not hard to imagine how this kind of data collection and tracking technology can be used or abused if it’s incorporated into “smart” guns more generally.

Despite these targeted developments, the law enforcement community itself hasn’t been quick to validate “smart” gun technology. Quite apart from the high price tags, there are justified concerns about how these firearms will perform in the field. San Francisco’s Police Chief Greg Suhr has volunteered his department for testing “smart” guns, but he necessarily frames this in the context of more developed technology using willing volunteers. “Officer safety is huge, so you wouldn’t want to compel that upon officers,” he says, although he is “all but certain there are officers that would be willing to do such a pilot.” 

The NRA doesn’t oppose technological advances and has never opposed “smart” guns or the ability of consumers to make their own choices. What it doesn’t support – in common with the vast majority of Americans – is government mandates that impose expensive and unreliable technology on the buying public as a matter of law.

TRENDING NOW
A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

News  

Monday, November 11, 2019

A New Candidate for Confiscator-in-Chief

Former Texas Congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke abandoned his run for President last week, once again leaving a void for the most strident anti-gun candidate seeking the Democrat nomination. Even before declaring his candidacy for President, ...

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

News  

Gun Laws  

Monday, November 11, 2019

Strong Firearms Preemption Laws are More Important Than Ever

Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Tremp In recent weeks, gun owners have been given two prime examples of just how important strong firearms preemption laws are to the vibrant exercise of Second Amendment rights. On October ...

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

National Hearing Conservation Association Supports Suppressors

Photo Courtesy of Silencer Shop On October 28th, the National Hearing Conservation Association sent its new position paper on firearms suppressors to the American Suppressor Association. The paper, in short, recognizes the important role that ...

New Hampshire: Firearm Seizure Bill Headed to House Floor

Thursday, October 31, 2019

New Hampshire: Firearm Seizure Bill Headed to House Floor

On October 30th, the New Hampshire state Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee sent House Bill 687 to the House floor for further consideration after a motion to kill the bill failed by a vote ...

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

Friday, September 20, 2019

Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Calls for Firearm Confiscation & Criminalizing Private Transfers

On September 19th, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, Representative Melissa Sargent (D-48), and Senator Lena Taylor (D-4) held a press conference calling on the Legislature to violate the Second Amendment by: 1) ...

Bloomberg’s Gun Control Apparatus Lies to Virginia’s Firearm Owners in Election Mailing

News  

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bloomberg’s Gun Control Apparatus Lies to Virginia’s Firearm Owners in Election Mailing

Here’s a hint for Virginia gun owners and sportsmen: When you get a firearm-related election mailing with a New York City return address and proudly proclaiming that it’s printed on soy ink, you can safely ...

Wisconsin: Legislators Protect Second Amendment, Adjourn Special Session

Friday, November 8, 2019

Wisconsin: Legislators Protect Second Amendment, Adjourn Special Session

On November 7th, the Wisconsin Legislature adjourned from its special session not long after it was convened. Governor Tony Evers’ latest attempt to pass gun control failed.

NRA Statement on 2019 Election  Results

News  

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

NRA Statement on 2019 Election Results

The National Rifle Association released the following statement on the 2019 election results: "As if Gov. Northam’s legacy of ineptitude wasn’t enough, Virginians are about to experience life under a distant tycoon’s thumb."

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.