Let me be the first to say that I’m sold on smart guns, firearms that utilize technology to disable a firearm for unauthorized users. That’s right, I fully support the development of smart guns! I didn’t always feel this way but now, now I feel like why not? Why not encourage young gun nerds and tech wizards to develop smart guns?
Yes, yes, I get the obvious objection to smart guns. They’re unreliable — at least for now. Both of the systems commonly used in smart guns are flawed. For the unfamiliar, most smart guns use either radio or biometric technology. A radio system uses a signal contained in a separate key (RFID chip) worn by the user, typically in the form of a bracelet, ring, or watch, to unlock the firearm. A biometric system uses sensors in the grip of the gun to scan for unique body patterns, such as fingerprints.
As we all know, radio signals can be jammed or hacked by an outside party and the key to unlock the firearm can be lost or stolen. With biometric systems, they obviously won’t work with gloves on, so that’s a non-starter for many as well as the fact that sensors can run out of battery life, become damaged or break down over time. But these very real technological hurdles shouldn’t stand in the way of those venturing to bring workable smart guns to market.
In the video posted above, you’ll see a precocious 19-year-old by the name of Kai Kloepfer who has created a biometric smart gun that has potential. But more than the gun itself, I see a lot of potential in Kloepfer, who impressed me with his passion and love for firearms. One of his financial sponsors called him the “Mark Zuckerberg of guns.” In my opinion, that’s what the gun industry needs. More young and dynamic gun guys and gals who want to challenge the status quo, solve problems and create products for future generations.
For me, the best current success story of young visionaries jumping into the gun industry and radically changing the way we shoot are the founders of Silencerco. Who would’ve thought a decade ago that suppressors would be a mainstream accessory? Well, the guys at Sliencerco saw the challenge, took it head on and we now see the results. Cans are becoming a must-have, not just for serious gun owners but for all hobbyists, collectors, and hunters.
So, I don’t see why someone like Kloepfer can’t bring us into the age of smart guns. Now, due to the controversial history of smart guns, I recognize there are still a bunch of naysayers reading this; let me be very, very clear. The real problem you’re having isn’t with smart guns, it’s with smart gun politics. And I totally agree. Anti-gun lawmakers in places like New Jersey are chomping at the bit to force us into giving up our tried and true firearms for smart guns. This is unconstitutional and should be stopped. To paraphrase my friend Alan Korwin, “Making legal arms illegal is infringement.” Infringement is unconstitutional, hence the phrase “Shall not be infringed.”
Lawmakers can’t force us into adopting smart guns. Quite ironically, there very effort to do so has retarded smart gun development. For many major gun companies, it’s been a forbidden fruit because of these idiot politicians foisting their gun-banning agenda. Meanwhile, the marketplace suffers, consumers suffer. Because there is a market for smart guns. For example, while my kids are growing up (I don’t have any right now, this is a hypothetical) and are too young to learn the basics of firearm safety, I think I would want to keep a smart gun by my bedside instead of my traditional pump gun, a Stevens Model 320. The smart gun provides an extra level of security. That seems logical, right?
I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Plenty more people do (I also wonder how many non-gun owners who may not consider owning a traditional gun, might be interested in owning a smart gun. Smart guns could be a gateway for those on the fence about gun ownership). The point is we should have options. We should be able to own whatever firearms (including full autos) we think are necessary and best for our defense posture, both at home and in the public square. That’s what the 2A protects. And if you’re being honest with yourself, I’m sure a smart gun would make its way into your rotation at some point in your life (maybe it’s your bedside gun or your truck gun or your backup gun, it’ll all depends on what you think is best). So, I say if we can get these anti-gunners off our backs we ought to welcome youngsters like Kloepfer and their new smart gun developments with open arms.
“Lawmakers can’t force us into adopting smart guns”——–I KNOW this is an old article that will probably never be read by anyone else but I’d like to go on record as having said THAT comment is TOTAL BULLSHIT and ONLY A FOOL WOULD THINK IT OR VERBALIZE IT!!! YOU FOOL!!!! SAY THAT AGAIN AS YOU REACH FOR YOUR FINE VINTAGE THOMPSON!!! I’m UPGRADING—–YOU SIR ARE A FUCKING IDIOT WHO IS DOING NOTHING BUT THEIR DIRTY WORK FOR THEM!!!!
Another excellent work, leading the way to intelligent conversation, and maybe development of a new chapter. Thank you for your continuing excellent work.
I don’t have much to jaw about, regarding technology that isn’t here, versus fears that are. I’m more into simplicity. For me, simply put, I learned that my all time combat defense guru/hero, Massad Ayoob has a revolver on his nightstand by his bed. He also has a ring on one of his fingers. The gun will not operate in a hand that does not have this ring on the hand. Now, this isn’t “new” technology, as Mr. Ayoob has had this revolver for awhile. But it is my goal. I don’t have children typically anywhere near my nightstand or home. But a safe gun, while I sleep or while I am not in that room and who know who decide they should be in there, with or without an invitation from me — I love it. Thanks, again for your good work / attitude. I’ll try to spread same.
As a former police officer I have some questions on the reliability of this whole concept. What does a police officer (or private citizen) do when he is fighting with an attacker and his hands are covered with blood, sweat, dirt, etc. and he is forced to go to deadly force and the sensor doesn’t work? What happens if there is a fight for the gun and the bad guy is trying to rip it out of your hands and this changes your grip (and your finger’s placement on the sensor)? What happens if you are shot in your dominant arm and you have to switch your gun to your non-dominant hand (his prototype is set up with a sensor for a particular finger on a particular hand)? In the world of “life and death” simple is good and complex gets you dead. I have no need of smart guns or the anti-gunners who want to legislate them into existence.
Smart Guns are not smart. Neither are the creators, and supporters. Should these modified firearms become even slightly reliable the Communist political hacks and Judges that now rule as Tyrants will make these devices the only firearms lawful to be made and sold in the USA. Using Automotive technology as a guide, the morons in Congress that forced on us Tire pressure monitors, Alcohol gasoline mixes, ended mandatory Sealed beam headlights for foggy plastic covers, and costly other mandates will force these expensive electromechanically modified firearms on us. And, the government would require a license key for each gun, solving the registration dilemma. A Wireless interlock would also be part of the requirement so the government gestapo could broadcast a disabling command in time of civil unrest or national disaster rendering the guns into rocks. Would all existing dumb guns be removed from society to make government controlled smart guns the only firearm in use ? Over time, yes. Nothing is 100%. But over time maybe 80% of civilian owned firearms would be removed from society. And the government could implement smart gun laws within the 2nd Amendment the same way all gun control acts have been implemented. What about a federal mandate that ammunition be redesigned to only work in smart guns, and all conventional ammunition be removed from stocks and banned from manufacture. Reloading would be banned along with ammunition components. Now the Govt Tyrants would control all civilian small arms.
Never say never. It can happen. Who would have believed a man like Obama could get away with his destruction of our Republic, while another criminal named Hillary is in line to finish off what remains, and create a Communist state from what remains. Then smart guns will be irrelevant for civilians, as all civilian weapons larger than nail clippers will be illegal, for the good of the state of course.
If this works anything like my cell phone thumb print unlocking feature, there is NO WAY I would ever have that kind of system on my gun! The fingerprint reader works some of the time, even most of the time, but if your thumb is wet, or dirty or isn’t positioned just so, it doesn’t work. For me to adopt such a system it would have to be 99.99% reliable under all conditions. So while interesting, at this time, such technology does more harm than good, as anti-gunners or ignorant people (like politicians) will latch onto this and make laws that won’t do a thing to deter crime.
Aside from the obvious potential for failure (I can’t even get my smart phone to unlock on the first print), there’s a tactical reason for not doing this. Say you’re at home, dude breaks in, shots are exchanged, he’s not down and he managed to render you unable to use your primary hand, now what? How about this, what if both of your hands have been disabled and your significant other or children are the only ones capable of shooting? What if you’re out on the street and this happens and a brave pedestrian attempts to help you but darn it their biometrics aren’t programmed to it? Now what? Know how you keep your firearm out of someone else’s hands? It’s called weapon retention, and there are multitudes of techniques out there which don’t leave you SOL if you’re unable to return fire. Stop passing responsibility on to technology, that makes people complacent and mindless.
This statement ” I recognize there are still a bunch of naysayers reading this; let me be very, very clear. The real problem you’re having isn’t with smart guns, it’s with smart gun politics.” is incredibly condescending. Who are you to tell me what my issue with “smart guns” are? I don’t like the idea of “smart guns” and it has NOTHING to do with the politics of them. I don’t care how perfect one can make a “smart gun”, they will ALWAYS be subject to hacking and/or other controls that I would have no say against them.
there are already devices that turn off all cell phones in a certain area. Firetrucks have devices that turn traffic lights green for their emergency response and red for opposing traffic. Government wants cell phones/computers to be available to their investigators whenever they ask. How long before government declares marital law and turns off all civilians smart guns? This could easily lead to government dis-armament at the turn of a switch without any fear to government storm troopers. guns keep interactions civil for all. A disarmed citizen is a slave. An armed citizen is just that-an armed citizen.
Why not support “smart guns”? Because of future Fed Gov regulation and mandates. Look no further then your driveway for an example. Look at cars, engines, gas (leaded) and prices before emissions standards and mandatory MPGs. How may of the computers in you car can you fix? Whats the shop going to charge?
What if the gov mandates a transition to smart guns in 10 or 50 years? You expect your current guns to last longer then that. Ah.. make more lawabiding citizens criminals with the stroke of a pen.
OK, so we all get our personal identifying “smart gun” and we’re all fat and happy, then the Chinese pop a high altitude nuke over the U.S. And all these “smart guns” go inert, unusable, DOA.
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) over the United States could end modern life in America overnight. Whether caused by an enemy attack (a nuclear device detonated above the atmosphere) or by a natural phenomenon (a geomagnetic storm), an EMP can cause entire regions of the country to lose electricity—permanently. Despite the EMP Commission’s recommendations in 2004 and 2008, hardly any progress has been made in protecting the country from an EMP attack and its catastrophic results. The U.S. must prepare to deal with an EMP—now.
Example: Solar storm of 1859, or the “Carrington event”.
Do you think the police will be issued EMP generators?
Si vis pacem, para bellum ; if you wish peace, prepare for war
Oh my goodness, I didn\’t think of the Chinese destroying the US with nuclear weapons! What if a meteor falls out of the sky and burns off your and your wife\’s dominant hands?? What if a North Korean sniper shoots off all your fingers?? What if a bad guy attacks you with a belt sander and sands off your fingerprints??Get real. Do some research on ACTUAL defensive gun uses – how it happens. Besides, you know there will always be ways (one way or another) to disable the \”smart\” features, and make it into a regular gun, right?
Let’s face it, so-called smart guns are coming. But, before you get your hopes up listen to the one reality this article ignores. Time lag. Yup, there is an additional time lag for the “smart” technology to work if it is to accomplish its intended functions, and that time lag will cause people to die.
Why? Simple, police will be the first to be saddled with these things and they are typically already behind the power curve when in a gun battle because of their ROE (Rules Of Engagement) which require that they wait until they are certain that the bad guy is going to shoot, stab, run-over, or otherwise become violent enough to warrant deadly force. Yes, when you pull that trigger you are using “Deadly Force” and if it takes a couple hundredths of a second for a relay to work or a sensor to recognize, then someone will die at the expense of this pipe-dream…
Smart guns may not be for everyone, but gun owners should have a choice. In addition to biometrics (fingerprints), there are a range of other technology options in development. RFID-enabled smart guns allow you to wear gloves and are impervious to water and dirt, smart trigger locks and gun safes are also in development. There is not a one-size-fits all solution. More on various technologies in development at smarttechfoundation.org.
And just how does such a gun work when you’re wearing gloves? Have a bandage over the finger?
To the politicians that would force such technology on the public – let their security details be first forced to adopt “smart” guns. Then the police. We’ll see how it goes from there.
Please keep guns stupid. Any mechanism to unlock causes delay. Wireless technology can always be hacked. Batteries run down. Biometric scanning is subject to misalignment and influence of water, sweat or blood. Just notice how unreliable Touch ID is on so called smart phones.
Guns are inherently dangerous instruments and should be. It is that very danger that makes them useful. But it is always the hands that hold them that control their dangerous power. Any step taken to remove responsibility from the user allows that user to become less responsible.
I have fingerprint recognition on my smart phone. I often have to hit it multiple times before it unlocks. That is one feature on a defensive firearm NOT to have. I can use any one of the auto pistols I own for defensive use, and I chose to use a revolver. Why? Because all I have to do is pull the trigger and it goes bang. No drills, no tap ‘n rack, just boom.
We need guns that would not fire unless the users’ IQ exceeded a certain level. Would stop a lot of criminal activity!
I become disabled and someone close to me (wife, son, brother, neighbor, stranger involved in the melee) cannot pick up the gun and continue the fight. Smart!
The only problem is it doesn’t work. If your hands a wet (sweaty) it doesn’t work. 1.5 seconds from touch to fire, how far will the target move in 1.5 seconds? Waste of time and money, good for nothing.
It doesn’t work YET. As the author said, the tech has to advance and that means intermediary versions that aren’t that useful. The sweating hands issue (do your fingers sweat much, never noticed mine sweating) is an issue to overcome. The 1.5 seconds isn’t an issue if your finger is in place as you pull the gun from holster/case. The 1.5 seconds pass while you are bringing the gun up.
Your missing the point. Hands are OFTEN hit in gunfights, so what happens when your pistol turns into a club, because you just got a finger or two mangled or shot off. Also another feature not talked about but it should be is an anti gun device that makes all smart guns, except ones coded in INOPERABLE. You think another revolution or civil war is coming in our country. Not if OUR side is suddenly disarmed with weapons that can be jammed or blocked. I will stick with my dumb firearm, with the smarts upstairs with the operator. Oh how future generations are going to look upon us with absolute scorn. You ALLOWED WHAT?????.
S.H. Blannelberry . How the hell can you support such BS as a pro gun person. Or maybe you are voting for Hillary
Yup. You got me. Because I support advancements in firearm technology I’m a Hillary supporter… That makes zero sense at all! Clearly, you haven’t read my article or thought critically about what I’m suggesting!
Think about it this way. What do we say to the left when they demonize black rifles or any firearm for that matter? “It’s an inanimate object. It’s not going to steal your lunch. It’s not going to shoot you by itself. It takes a crazed idiot to do that.”
Well, same holds true when gun owners demonize smart guns. They’re inanimate objects. They’re not going to steal your lunch. They’re not going to take your guns. It takes an idiot politician to do that.
The problem isn’t smart guns, it’s smart gun politics.
Plus, both the NRA and NSSF don’t oppose the development of smart guns, why do you think that is?
Didn’t read the article.
And here is proof positive that the use of big words does not necessarily correlate to a higher level of intelligence…