Finally: The “smart” gun

posted at 2:41 pm on February 19, 2014 by Allahpundit

The centerpiece of today’s WaPo story, the Armatix iP1, isn’t new but the fact that it’s now on sale in the U.S. — at a lone gun store in California — is.

Am I right in assuming that serious gun aficionados hate this concept?

The arrival of smart-gun technology comes amid a flurry of interest in the concept from investors who think the country — after the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the brutal legislative battles that followed — is ready for new, innovative gun-control ideas. Last month, Ron Conway, a Silicon Valley titan and early investor in Google and Facebook, launched a $1 million X Prize-like contest for smart-gun technology

A variety of approaches are in development. Armatix, the German company behind the iP1, uses RFID chips, which can be found on anti-theft tags attached to expensive clothing. Trigger­Smart, an Irish company, also uses RFID chips, though with a ring instead of a watch. The company also has technology that would render guns inoperable if they approached electronic markers — for instance, near a school.

The New Jersey Institute of Technology is using sensors to recognize users’ grips and grasping behaviors. Kodiak Arms, a Utah company, is taking ­pre-orders for its Intelligun, which is unlocked with fingerprints. Other companies are using voice recognition. Yardarm, a California start-up, uses a smartphone app to notify gun owners of a weapon’s movement. Users can even remotely disable their weapons…

Teret and other smart-gun proponents point to a 1997 survey showing that 71 percent of Americans — and 59 percent of gun owners — favored personalization of all new handguns. Gun rights advocates, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, cite a survey the group commissioned last year showing that only 14 percent of Americans would consider buying a smart gun.

Here’s the webpage for the iP1, which not only won’t fire if it’s not paired with the accompanying smartwatch but can be programmed not to fire if you’re aiming away from a designated target. (The clip below, which is a few years old, shows what happens when you try to fire with the watch disabled and then enabled.) If you’re a parent who wants something for home protection and also wants to be 200 percent sure your kid can’t stumble upon your gun and have an accident — and if you also don’t mind sleeping with a watch on every night — then maybe this is for you. Or maybe not: The most obvious problem is that, if you ever did face a threat requiring you to pull, there’s a chance the signal from the watch would fail and you’d be dunzo. To paraphrase an old saying, when seconds count, a new smartwatch battery is just minutes away.

But that’s a practical problem. There are two theoretical problems for gun-rights advocates, I take it. One: The more mainstream smart guns become, the easier it’ll be for gun-grabbers to call for banning everything but smart guns as a “compromise” position. They’ve always had trouble selling the assault-weapons ban because the definition of “assault weapon” is hazy and assault weapons are used in only a small fraction of gun crimes. A ban on “dumb guns,” including handguns, would be clearer and more ambitious. If you want to protect your right to a “dumb gun,” maybe the smart guns need to be marginalized. Two: If the point of the Second Amendment is self-defense, including the right to defend yourself against a violently oppressive government, why would you want to embed a technology in your weapon that could probably be disabled remotely by the government? At the very least, seems like it’d be easy for the feds to create a gun registry if we stuck a tiny electronic beacon in every weapon. (That’d make it easier to solve gun crimes too, but then policing does tend to be easier in a police state.) Which is to say, all the privacy concerns about the “Internet of things” would apply to smart guns too, except in this case they might have life-and-death consequences.

Am I missing something? Gun-rights supporters might be more open to smart guns as a compromise if gun-control fans had the momentum on policy, but they don’t. Just the opposite.


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Cops first!

HBowmanMD on February 19, 2014 at 9:34 PM

I could see an actual, functional, practical way to do this. Some form of wireless charging (See something like the Qi chargers the Nexus phones use) for the firearm. No cords or other tie-downs for the weapon. Passive RFID chip in a ring or watch that is loaded with a PGP encryption key, the private key (passive-doesn’t need its own power source). Weapon has public key. Allows you to make duplicate unlocks that won’t be easy for a third party to duplicate, and to jam, you’d need a broadcast truck, not a handheld device. One contact unlocks until manually relocked. Include connectors to allow the user to update with their own key pairs. Could actually work in a way that wouldn’t provide government control, and a standard key pair (4096) is pretty much immune to the NSA until 2030 or so. Give the chips buffers for 8192 or 16384 pairs, and you’re good until 2070 or so.

Asurea on February 19, 2014 at 9:53 PM

If the point of the Second Amendment is self-defense, including the right to defend yourself against a violently oppressive government, why would you want to embed a technology in your weapon that could probably be disabled remotely by the government?

Allahpundit on February 19, 2014 at 2:41 PM
.

You had to go there. The thirsty tree of liberty must be paid lip service.

MJBrutus on February 19, 2014 at 3:09 PM

.
The Founding Fathers went there first … It’s the ONLY reason the Second Amendment exists.
.

The hope is always that lip service is all that winds up being paid.

The alternative is the reason for the 2nd Amendment.

Midas on February 19, 2014 at 3:12 PM
.

The alternative is a ridiculous right wing fantasy. It isn’t just the left who indulge in risible flights of fancy.

MJBrutus on February 19, 2014 at 3:15 PM

.
That’s implying that we’re all drooling, and wringing our hands in gleeful anticipation of a “civil war”, with our current government.

No matter how hard you try, I don’t believe it’s possible for you to get any more insulting than that.
But hey . . . if that was your goal, mission accomplished.

For myself, I totally reject the premise.
.

The course of human history as evidence to the contrary, of course.

Say, did you catch the video of the weenie roasts in Ukraine and the kegger their throwing down in Venezuela by any chance?

Good times, good times. A find flight of fancy, indeed.

Midas on February 19, 2014 at 3:22 PM
.

Yeah, and life is tough in N Korea too. Lock and load tough guy.

MJBrutus on February 19, 2014 at 3:26 PM

.
I understood Midas‘ first line, but then neither of you two, after that.
Probably my fault.
.

AP’s phrase is germane, and liberty isn’t a “thirsty tree”.

blink on February 19, 2014 at 5:03 PM

.
I couldn’t have said it better … : )

listens2glenn on February 19, 2014 at 9:59 PM

NotCoach on February 19, 2014 at 3:29 PM

.
Holy anachronism Batman! All those musket carrying 18th century heroes sure do make a lot of sense today. Get them Federals!

MJBrutus on February 19, 2014 at 3:33 PM
.

Who’s advice am I more readily going to accept: A group of men who actually fought for their freedom, gave us liberty, and established one of the most successful forms of government ever (all this while being incredibly well read and intelligent), or you?

NotCoach on February 19, 2014 at 3:41 PM

.
Good point. Let’s eliminate all constitutional text up through 1799, since sound governing principles apparently have an expiration date.

The Schaef on February 19, 2014 at 3:51 PM

.
HEY ‘BRUTUS ! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Advancements in the technological capabilities of modern hand-held, energy-based weapons, do NOT constitute a valid, legitimate grounds basis for abolishing or re-writing/re-interpreting the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

listens2glenn on February 19, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Cops first!

HBowmanMD on February 19, 2014 at 9:34 PM

.
That’s where this technology really needs to go … DITTOS !

listens2glenn on February 19, 2014 at 10:12 PM

I don’t know what that is, so no, I cannot answer the question.

MJBrutus on February 19, 2014 at 4:00 PM

.
Let me help you out.
Which words are you having trouble understanding:

Definition of common sense
noun[mass noun]
good sense and sound judgement in practical matters:it is all a matter of common sense [as modifier]:a common-sense approach
———————
Definition of civil
1 [attributive] relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as distinct from military or ecclesiastical matters:
Origin late Middle English: via Old French from Latin civilis, from civis ‘citizen’.
————————–
Definition of right
noun
1 [mass noun] that which is morally correct, just, or honourable
**2 a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something.**
——————————–
Definition of armed
adjective
**1 equipped with or carrying a firearm or firearms**
1.1involving the use of firearms:
2 Heraldry having claws, a beak, etc. of a specified tincture
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/armed?
————————————
Definition of self-defense
noun
the defense of one’s person or interests, especially through the use of physical force, which is permitted in certain cases as an answer to a charge of violent crime:he claimed self-defense in the attempted murder charge [as modifier]:self-defense classes

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/self-defence?q=Self-Defense

DinaRehn on February 19, 2014 at 4:20 PM
.

Now that you should know the meaning of those words in the phrase: Commonsense civil right of armed self-defense

Why do you have a problem with that civil right?

DinaRehn on February 19, 2014 at 4:28 PM

.
C’MON ‘BRUTUS . . . . . you can’t escape from this.

DinaRehn went to the trouble, and spelled it all out.
Now, are YOU … equal to the task of RESPONDING ?

listens2glenn on February 19, 2014 at 10:33 PM

So you’ve seen a lot of letters of marque and/or reprisal in the last couple of centuries, have ya?

MJBrutus on February 19, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Not much piracy happening in the states. We do have private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan providing “security” though. There are also citizens who patrol the border for illegal immigrants.

To be honest I’m not sure the point you are trying to make here. Letters of marque have not been issued simply because they have not been needed, not because the use of them is somehow invalid. What goods do Americans need to smuggle into another country? What pirate problem do we have that would require the use of privateers?

Oh, and your historical ignorance is showing. It has not even been a hundred years since the U.S. issued a letter of marque:

In December 1941 and the first months of 1942, the Goodyear blimp Resolute was operated as an anti-submarine privateer based out of Los Angeles. As the only US craft to operate under a Letter of Marque since the War of 1812, the Resolute, armed with a rifle and flown by its civilian crew, patrolled the seas for submarines. See Shock, James R., Smith, David R., The Goodyear Airships, Bloomington, Illinois, Airship International Press, 2002, pg. 43, ISBN 0-9711637-0-7

You may now either lash out in a anger to cover the shame and embarrassment having your ignorance exposed must have induced or sulk away and curse me under your breath. Either way, I hope you learned something.

Pattosensei on February 19, 2014 at 10:52 PM

What was the Pilar? Who was its captain? What was their mission? Who paid for it?

Kenosha Kid on February 19, 2014 at 11:24 PM

Dumb idea, but would it really be that big of a deal? I’m not a gun expert, but I understand the basics of how they function. How difficult would it be to change my “smart gun” into a “dumb gun”?

If somehow this technology ever became required by law, I think there are enough pro second amendment gun manufacturers who would design their guns in a way that would allow the owner to easily remove the “smart gun” feature.

Did I mention that this is a dumb idea?

HarryBackside on February 20, 2014 at 12:58 AM

A “dumb” weapon is an unnecessarily complex weapon. It is risible that the government could confiscate current private U.S. weapons (although they could try).

trl on February 20, 2014 at 1:40 AM

This is terrible. Someone can disable my gun by cloning a “no gun zone” device? No thanks.

TexasMoonshine on February 20, 2014 at 2:26 AM

Cops first!
 
HBowmanMD on February 19, 2014 at 9:34 PM

 
Secret Service first.
 
Regardless, has anyone here ever had their gun go off when they didn’t want it to?
 
How about your phone?

rogerb on February 20, 2014 at 6:58 AM

You may now either lash out in a anger to cover the shame and embarrassment having your ignorance exposed must have induced or sulk away and curse me under your breath. Either way, I hope you learned something.

Pattosensei on February 19, 2014 at 10:52 PM

When one knows everything, how can you teach them anything?

HonestLib on February 20, 2014 at 7:03 AM

Pattosensei on February 19, 2014 at 10:52 PM

When one knows everything, how can you teach them anything?

HonestLib on February 20, 2014 at 7:03 AM

Your comments here have been great.

hawkdriver on February 20, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Bill introduced by MA congressman Markey forcing all new guns to be “personalized”.

“…requiring all new guns be “personalized” with special features, such as fingerprint-reading technology, so they can only be fired by their owners or other authorized users.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/20/dem-bill-would-require-all-new-guns-be-personalized/

Hard Right on February 20, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Regardless, has anyone here ever had their gun go off when they didn’t want it to?

rogerb on February 20, 2014 at 6:58 AM

That’s the big benefit here. Now you’ll be able to set your gun to vibrate.

Shy Guy on February 20, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Ridiculous.
Will probably end up causing more harm than good. But that’s how libs roll.

BTW, on my wildly popular gun website, which gets an astonishing average of about 40 visits per day, I am making a list of every production gun in the world. I don’t think that’s ever been done.

justltl on February 20, 2014 at 10:34 AM

And probably for good reason, I’m sure.

justltl on February 20, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Holy anachronism Batman! All those musket carrying 18th century heroes sure do make a lot of sense today. Get them Federals!

MJBrutus on February 19, 2014 at 3:33 PM

You’re an idiot.

Dunedainn on February 20, 2014 at 11:23 AM

The iPhone is a horrible reference point. There’s a company out there that sells iPhones. If they decide you have some software that they don’t like (bitcoin wallet), they’ll take it off the app store and your phone for free!

You don’t really own your phone, but it’s so much easier when someone else thinks for you, isn’t it?

bbhack on February 20, 2014 at 11:25 AM

You’re an idiot.

Dunedainn on February 20, 2014 at 11:23 AM

No, I think he’s right on the money! We’re just waiting to get confirmation from him that the entire original text of the Constitution, plus the remainder of the first 12 amendments, should be stricken from our founding documents due to its 18th-century-ness.

The Schaef on February 20, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Regardless, has anyone here ever had their gun go off when they didn’t want it to?

rogerb on February 20, 2014 at 6:58 AM

Yes. I was shooting a loaner side-by-side shotgun on a sporting clays course. I flipped the select lever (which determines which barrel is shot first) and the gun went off.

I was in the station and had it pointed downrange, so all was well. And I was not intimately familiar with the gun, so I may have done something wrong, but I have yet to have anyone explain to me what exactly that would have been. I suspect that the owner had something done to the trigger that had it set too light and I managed to jar it loose by flipping the lever, but I’ll never really know.

TexasDan on February 20, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Stupid.

Pork-Chop on February 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

I suspect that the government would ALSO have the capability of
shutting off your “smart gun”. In the government’s point of view,
that would be even better than going door to door and confiscating
your guns under threat of jail.

Amjean on February 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM

So when an EMP hits, either natrually from a solar flare or as a weapon, you have a a paper weight.

cadams on February 20, 2014 at 2:37 PM

I suspect that the government would ALSO have the capability of
shutting off your “smart gun”. In the government’s point of view,
that would be even better than going door to door and confiscating
your guns under threat of jail.

Amjean on February 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM

.
That’s exactly the idea.

Back-door dis-arming of the American people.

listens2glenn on February 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM

The company also has technology that would render guns inoperable if they approached electronic markers — for instance, near a school.

Oy vey. So, just like cell jammers, everyone can now have one. I’ll just carry one in my pocket and that will protect me from all the folks dumb enough to buy one of these guns. (And, it wouldn’t be hard to produce – just jam the RFID frequency, probably.)

GWB on February 20, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Oh, btw, I don’t wear a watch, and haven’t for about 15 years. I don’t wear rings, generally (medical reasons on both). What about my right to bear arms?

GWB on February 20, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Ed Markey is the sponsor of the legislation. I rest my case.

cosifantutte on February 20, 2014 at 7:18 PM

Oh, btw, I don’t wear a watch, and haven’t for about 15 years. I don’t wear rings, generally (medical reasons on both). What about my right to bear arms?

GWB on February 20, 2014 at 5:27 PM

.
The future ‘electronic implant’ that will go in or on the back of your right hand, or forehead will take care of that.

listens2glenn on February 20, 2014 at 7:36 PM

“…and assault weapons are used in only a small fraction of gun crimes.” NO “assault weapons” rifles that will fire more than one shot per pull of a trigger have nearly never been used in crimes since these classes of weapons have been illegal for the average citizen to own since the 1930′s!! What you call “assault weapons” are semi auto rifles (one trigger pull one shot) that LOOK LIKE scary military rifles. Your use of the term was wrong before you even started the article…

Sulaco on February 20, 2014 at 11:54 PM

I have a bio metrics reader (finger print scanner) on my lap top to use in stead of a pass word. It works about 30% of the time first try and sometimes it does not work at all. Prior poster was correct government agents and cops first!

Sulaco on February 20, 2014 at 11:56 PM

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