A Kansas state senator announced this year at SHOT Show On-Demand a device he believes will stop accidental discharges and prevent suicides: the SmartGunz 9mm Sentry.
“Our sole purpose for launching SmartGunz LLC is to save lives. Full stop,” the company says on its website.
“Americans are killed or wounded every day by handguns, whether they are targeted victims of violence, children or bystanders harmed by accidental weapons discharges, or people suffering from mental illness intent on taking their own lives,” they continue.
“SmartGunz LLC believes one way to save lives lost from gunfire is to offer ‘smart gun’ firearms technology where the firearm can only be operated by its intended user.”
SmartGunz was founded by Democratic Kansas State Senator Tom Holland, according to a bio on his campaign page.
During his reelection campaign, Holland called himself a “responsible gun owner” and criticized his opponent for leaving a loaded gun in a committee room.
Rather than the yet-to-be-proven fingerprint technology used by most “smart guns,” Holland’s 9mm Sentry uses an RFID-enabled glove to unlock a firearm. Images posted on the SmartGunz website show a 1911-style firearm with a chip embedded in the grip.
A fingerless glove appears next to the 1911, which users must wear for the handgun to function. Each glove is paired with a single firearm, so one glove cannot unlock multiple guns.
The company claims on their FAQs page that the gun will unlock in 200 milliseconds and that it is “as responsive and reliable as any other firearm.”
The unlocking mechanism is powered by a battery in the magazine, which can be recharged using a USB port.
In an interview with GunsAmerica, Holland assured potential users that the mechanism is reliable, and he called the design “simple and elegant.” He did not know whether the mechanism could be circumvented if the gun were taken apart, but he said the mechanism is self-contained and cannot be hacked electronically.
The website doesn’t provide any videos of the gun in operation. It does, however, list the MSRP: $2,495. Products will start shipping in the second quarter of 2021.
Holland sees two markets for his product. On the law enforcement side, he believes agencies and officers will appreciate that the sidearm cannot be stolen and used against them.
“We see the gloved implementation of this model as ideal for correctional facilities where inmates are constantly trying to wrestle firearms away from officers. With this gun, if they get it out of an officer’s hand, it’s as dead as a doornail,” he said.
On the commercial side, Holland admitted that the gun may not appeal to people who already own guns and store them securely. But he does see a market among people who are afraid of firearms but still want one for protection.
“We’re marketing it to people who are scared you-know-what of handguns. That’s the point of the glove. This is something where you kids won’t accidentally discharge a weapon, commit suicide, whatever,” he said.
Anyone with access to the glove can use the firearm. When asked about this potential flaw, Holland said, “That’s their decision to make. We’re telling those people who would not have a firearm because of young children they can keep the glove on them. The kids can come across the handgun loaded, it’s not doing anything. We feel that this is truly safe for a mom dealing with a domestic violence order, dealing with intruders.”
Asked about the price, Holland said he’s confident people who are afraid of traditional handguns will be willing to pay for the markup.
“Smart guns” have for years been used by anti-gun proponents as a Trojan horse to advance the gun control agenda. Even though the technology doesn’t yet exist in a durable and reliable platform, politicians like President Joe Biden are hoping to make “smart guns” the only type of legal firearm in the United States.
With his new company, Holland appears to be giving Biden’s agenda a boost.
Note: This article has been updated to reflect comments from Sen. Holland.