TracFind (courtesy tbo.com)

I’m not sure why the inventors of the TracFind are targeting gun owners. You could attach their real time GPS tracking tag to, say, the bottom of your wife’s shoe to, you know, to make sure she’s safe when she’s — thinking out loud here — meeting an old friend for lunch. But there’s TracFind on Indiegogo, pimping their “Gun Safety Solution.” Here’s the elevator pitch from company founder and CEO Clark East via Tampa’s tbo.com . . .

Most gun owners won’t use ‘smart gun’ technology due to the possibility that it may interfere with the gun’s function when needed, so we designed TracFind with that in mind . . . TracFind is a device for smart owners of ‘dumb’ guns who want to protect their loved ones and prevent firearm tragedies.

I don’t suppose anyone told Mr. East that gun owners are also kinda hinky about firearms equipped with electronic tracking devices, in a “we don’t trust the government” sort of way. (Long time readers will recall our coverage of Chiappa’s RFID chip debacle.) I’m fairly certain Mr. East hasn’t thought this whole gun chip thing through.

Another exclusive feature of TracFind allows gun owners, at their discretion, to link local police to the tracking data, complete with an item description and photo so police can track and recover the weapon, possibly within minutes of the theft.

While that sounds great, the TracFind app continuously monitors the location of a tagged firearm. The government could, theoretically, surreptitiously monitor a gun owner’s firearms. (It wouldn’t be as hard as data mining billions of phone calls.) Or they could do it legally (though unconstitutionally) by requiring a link from guns to a police database.

In case you think I should take off the Alcoa chapeau, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (And Really Big Fires) is not averse to TracFind.

Kevin Richardson, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, had not heard about the new technology and was eager to see its impact on gun thefts . . . “I’d be very interested to see about this technology.”

That’s the same agency that tried and failed with its own firearms tracking technology during the failed anti-gun-smuggling-to-Mexico black bag job known as Operation Wide Receiver (which used RFID chips). It’s the same agency that somehow forgot to track some 2000+ firearms in the [ostensibly] anti-gun-smuggling-to-Mexico black bag job known as Operation Fast & Furious (using “I see nothing!” ATF agents), contributing to the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. No wonder they’re up for a private enterprise solution to gun tracking.

How great is that? Almost as great as this:

[TracFind’s president of business development Ron Laker] and East have been talking to gun manufacturers about the possibility of them embedding the device into their own products.

“Every gun manufacturer is concerned about gun safety,” he said. “We’re not involved in the politics of this, or gun control. “This just helps gun owners add another layer of security to a very serious issue.”

While you can’t stop the signal, you can choose not to use it. At least until you’re legally obliged to. Come to think of it, not even then.

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62 Responses to TracFind GPS System for Guns: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

  1. How about we attach one of these to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and make the data publicly available?

  2. Perhaps some people could have used this to recover their guns lost in a tragic boating accident.

    In all seriousness, I see the possible benefits of this especially for people that may live in a higher crime area that are worried about theft, but I wouldn’t resort to it. Even GPS can be jammed. Technology is not infallible.

    • Nope, I know exactly what part of that impossibly-deep lake my poor lost firearms went down in.

      /impossibly-deep 😉

    • Actually, that’s not a bad point. Take for instance that recent mass theft of handguns and rifles from that Houston gun shop. It could be used as an anti-theft measure for gun retailers. Install the chips and leave them installed while the guns are in store, and then uninstall them when they’re sold. Or, the buyer could purchase the GPS chip as an added feature.

      Think Low-Jack for guns.

      However, I wouldn’t personally want one. The potential for making me a target of theft is too great. Remember that fiasco in New York (or wherever), where the news posted a list of all gun owners in a certain area? Well, some thieves “coincidentally” targeted a gun owner. Yeah, no thanks.

      • I would buy one of these for my R/C planes and multi-rotors. Sucks if a radio or battery glitch causes your expensive toy to fly off into the great beyond.

      • then it should be a removable ( like clothing store security tag) lock fixture that will destroy or severely damage the gun if not removed properly by a dealer.

    • I wouldn’t necessarily mind something like this for my car rifle, as it is far and away the most likely gun to get stolen. I’ve already had one pistol stolen out of my car, and I would love the opportunity to wave at the POS that did it as the put him in the back of a squad car.

      That said, if any firearm manufacturer even SUGGESTED they were going to put this in all their guns, I would never do business with them again.

  3. Its just an option… They have the same technology for cars, phones, computers etc. And its all optional. I could see this working best for law enforcement guns since those weapons tend to be more exposed then most other peoples guns and are stolen at a higher per capita rate.

    • “And its all optional.”

      For now.

      Add this to a growing list of things the anti’s think we should have to have…a list that includes safe storage, mandatory training, trigger locks, microstamping, UBC’s, etc.

      Keep thinking the fact that it’s optional makes it ‘okay.’ That’s the kind of thinking slippery slopes are made of.

      • Yeah, I agree. I wouldn’t mind having them in my NFA items, and I would destroy/disable them in any other gun I bought. Notice, “I bought”. That means I own it, and I own any manner of tags, badges, etc that came with it. I can disable them if I like. And I would.

        • Agreed…. If it came on a gun i liked the first thing i would do is disable it….. “Oops i dropped the gps thingy in the toilet for a few hours. I didn’t know it was broken.” the camera, mic, and gps are the first thing i disable on a new lap top, and “location service” on a phone. Ive never bought a car with gps or low jack. That crap costs extra.

        • Best bet: when destroying one of these, take it out on a boat on a lake. destroy chip; “lost gun in terrible boating accident, guess the electronics just aren’t waterproof.”

    • Only problem is that the tracking would reveal how much time government employees are spending at doughnut shops and other more…embarrassing…establishments. Imagine the recent Secret Service scandal times a thousand.

  4. “TracFind is a device for smart owners of ‘dumb’ guns who want to protect their loved ones and prevent firearm tragedies.”

    Lolwut?

    How does this device “protect loved ones and prevent firearm tragedies”? Someone else’s loved ones, after my guns are stolen? It seems more likely to endanger me and my family by focusing the police on the owner of the lost/stolen guns, rather than the thief – presumably I would have to turn over the GPS info/access to LEOs to recover my firearms. Then perhaps get prosecuted for failure to secure (depending on your State of res.) Which seems to be just another way that gun-storage laws make us less safe, by discouraging use of such security measures.

    Anyways, this just looks like TILE (which has been around a while) repackaged/rebranded and marketed to gun-owners, so how do they justify the whole indiegogo campaign with a higher opening pricetag than TILE? Their device appears to be a bit smaller, but other than that…..

    • You don’t have to provide anything, the FBI can just get a judge to require Apple to provide an app that allows retrieval of all firearm data on any subject of the Amerikaan government, in moments. We’re seeing this TODAY, how can anyone be confused as to the desired result?

  5. I like the tag on the trigger guard that looks just about the right size to jam in there with the trigger. Does it call 911 for you when you ND? 🙂

  6. Steal gun and pop it into one of those silvered conductive bags.

    Let it sit a few months. With the battery dead, disassemble gun and remove GPS tracker.

    Smash GPS tracker with a hammer.

    Enjoy GPS-free gun.

    Q.E.D.

      • In summer in Florida? That’s a freaking *oven*!

        Just take the gun into any paranoid’s aluminum-foil covered paranoia room and have at it.

        And ask his mom to make you a nice sandwich. 🙂

    • You own the gun and the tracker. Take home from store and disassemble. Remove chip, smash with hammer and discard. Reassemble. Forget batteries, shipping containers, tinfoil hats and all. Get serious. Conversely, discard undamaged chip in a place which amuses you, like your city hall, or police department. You bought it, you own it.

  7. Could be useful for government weapons. If someone murders a cop and takes his gun it would be nice to be able to track it to the killer (or thief if it’s just a stolen weapon).

    • Criminals and thieves can disable or discard the chips just exactly as easily as you or I can. This would successfully transfer $billions to government cronies while accomplishing nothing.

      • By that logic we shoudn’t have GPS trackers in cars. Complete nonsense.
        1) While there are some criminals sophisticated enough to disable such technology they are the exception.
        2) The type of criminal that would kill a cop and take his gun- or take a cop’s gun in general- is even less likely to be ‘sophisticated.’
        3) Removing the device would take some amount of time and tools, neither of which are necessarily in large supply while the cops are closing in on you
        4)… assuming the criminal even knows the chip is there, which he probably won’t unless the chips become utterly ubiquitous in their prevalence and position.

        Price is another issue, but it’s ridiculous to claim that there isn’t a use for such items and I suspect it’s a claim made out of fear that the utility might be noticed by some lawmakers in places like Jersey.

  8. I suppose this could be a good concept. It would definitely have some valuable uses. But…

    I lump this in with the current Apple vs. Feds argument about unlocking cell phones. Yes, it would be great to get at the data left by dead terrorists. But, that opens the door to future abuses by the government. That fear of low life politicians abusing their power is what would keep me from implementing anything like this.

    If you think government abuses never happen, just recall Hillary with secret FBI files on all their Republican “enemies”. Those files exist for some “good” reasons. But, Hillary managed to totally subvert those reasons and used them as weapons against her enemies. (Just one more thing for which she should be jailed.)

    • Apple should agree to do as the FBI wishes in exchange for $1 billion from the FBI’s operating budget for this year, if the money comes from Congress instead, it’s $10 billion. Apple doesn’t need the money, but it is obvious that if the FBI does not agree, the request is unimportant, just an attempt to establish control over a private corporation without any controls on themselves..

  9. Its’ just the solution that the BATFE has been looking for…for thier guns.

    They seem to misplace them at a much higher rate than the civilian population.

  10. Huh, benifits?You cant turn it off but its use is optional, yeah right…Is there no end to this sht? I honest to God wish a meteor shower would knock every damned man made satelite otta the sky,an at the same time a massive solar flair would permentaly fck up every electronic device on earth, even my coffee pot. This crap has gone to far,WAY to far.

    • The massive solar flare will wipe out the power grid, so I hope you can heat your coffee pot over a camp fire, at least until the roving gangs kill you, rape and kill your women and children, and clean out your supplies and leave laughing.

      You *really* don’t want a superflare to make the power grid collapse…

  11. I could see using this on two types of guns:
    1. NFA items. Uncle Sam already knows you have them, and you have to show it to them when they come knocking anyways, so a hidden GPS chip wouldn’t give them any info they couldn’t reasonably get already; and it would absolutely help if a theft occurred. The people who would steal a machine gun are the exact people I don’t want having MY machine gun.

    2. Investment guns. Same reason as above, if it gets stolen, I want it back quickly. They aren’t guns I’m worried about hiding from the cops if Hillary is elected, and their value is enough that they are already declared on insurance paperwork.

    My defensive guns though, will never see a tracking chip of any sort. Ever. Stop asking.

    • Might help recover the gun if some crackhead or other random thief has taken it. However, it seems likely that someone targeting you specifically to steal your valuable collectible/NFA firearms would be familiar with the technology and take the fairly simple steps required to defeat it. All that would be necessary would be to block the cell signal until they have time to locate and disable the devices. Even the potato chip bag trick from Enemy of the State would work. If they can crack your expensive gun safe, do you really think one of these would stop them?

      Also, it may be difficult to effectively hide these chips on or in some valuable investment guns without damaging or risking damage to the gun in some way. How would you hide one in a mint original Colt Single Action Army, for example? Maybe behind the grips, but that risks damage to the screw every time you need to remove the grips to replace the battery. With other gun models, the situation is probably even worse.

      One more thing thing, if a thief finds a tracking device on one of your guns, he will probably tear the rest of them apart looking for more of the devices, damaging the collector value of the guns in the process.

  12. So the battery required to power the GPS works how long?

    6 hours?
    6 days?

    Oh, I know! I need anther charging device…

    I would not use one for my gun, but I do like the shoe-mount idea. LOL.

    • Using technology currently known to man, closer to 6 hours. Most of these things seem to rely on technology not currently known to man, ie; it’s nothing but an idea.

  13. Maybe we could all agree to do this if they would let us study a liberal’s brain to see where these ideas come from.

  14. That’s great that you can integrate it into an airgun, but the clearances available in a real gun are minimal, precluding integration into the grip. Not that a simple surge of electricity or tiny drill hole couldn’t completely disable it anyways even if it were to be integrated. To be honest, I don’t buy “cellular connectivity” and “3 year battery life”, unless it’s uploading data on once a week basis or even less frequently. Just monitoring for motion is bound to kill the battery in short order. Now if the makers were claiming low power bluetooth communications and required a partner app on a smartphone like how Tile works then I could maybe believe a 3 year battery life, but then you’re giving up all motion detection, gps tracking, and the ability to track without piggybacking on the rare phone that happens to have this specific app installed.

    This seems like vaporware… I won’t even discuss the magical technology they claim to have to ensure “TracFind™ Will Locate Your Item World Wide Wherever There Are Cell Towers And Has Unlimited Range Across Any Terrain.” then directly contradict this claim with “Will it work in another country?
    As of today TracFind™ has the ability for total coverage in the United States. TracFind™ management is in ongoing talks to secure world wide coverage. “

  15. This is great!!!! My guns have been trying to open the safe from the inside and I think they’re very close to figuring it out. With these devices attached, if they make a break for it, the cops and I will be able to track them down and punish them, maybe by denying them food for a long period of time. That’ll teach ’em a lesson they’ll never forget!

    • Just wait for the next generation of those things to mind-meld with house cats…

      “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty” *BOOM*

      “Clean my litterbox better next time, mother-fvcker.”

      *shudder*

  16. Having had firearms stolen in the past, however long before this technology was available, I would not mind having a device that I could track and only I had ability to track it if lost or stolen, and I tell the cops where it is. But as it is with this device you are not only one in possession of the chip codes and device to track it which means whoever has access to the app and the codes you are assigned would be able to track them.

    • it could be like “robo calls” just sequentially rolling through numbers to get a hit. find everyone’s location

  17. I can see a use for this in gun stores and at gun shows to help prevent theft. Of course it would need to be the removeable tag not the imbedded device.

    I could also see using this on guns kept in a safe though accessible to family members. Yes wveryone should be trust worthy if they have access to the firearms in the house but people do dumb stuff. Having an alarm that tells me when guns are removed from the safe when I am not home indicates there is a problem of some sort or another that I need to rush home to deal with.

  18. FYI, how long until the government starts tagging all of it’s guns this way? In the upcoming civil war battlefield pickups will probably be a no-no for the militia.

  19. See, this is something that may be useful for your car safe. At least if someone makes off with the safe then you can track it.

    Now, there are plenty of these kinds of things on the market and one specifically made for “firearms” just seems weird. too much room for abuse I guess would be the problem. ‘GPS location on all guns’ is not too far fetched of an idea.

    But just like my dog GPS tracker through Tagg, a GPS tracker at one’s fingertips would be helpful. But then again, how often do you lose your gun and if that does happen then I think you’ve got bigger problems.

  20. Another exclusive feature of TracFind allows gun owners, against their will, to link local police to the tracking data, complete with an item description and photo so police can track and confiscate the weapon, possibly within minutes of detaining the owner in Room 101..

  21. TracFind’s president of business development Ron Laker] and East have been talking to gun manufacturers about the possibility of them embedding the device into their own products.

    “Every gun manufacturer is concerned about gun safety,” he said. “We’re not involved in the politics of this, or gun control. “This just helps gun owners add another layer of security to a very serious issue.”

    Coming soon to a Blue State near you,

  22. I have an idea….why don’t we just have this on the criminal’s guns? Makes about as much sense as some of the things anti gun puppets have come up with. Just make that a law. Simple.

  23. Boy, that tracker zip-tied to the trigger guard would just be impossible to defeat. You’d have to have some kind of tool capable of cutting through a thin strip of soft plastic.

    And as others have mentioned, they can claim whatever battery life they want, but if it works the way they say it does, that tiny device can’t possibly work for more than a few hours with current battery technology.

  24. Of all the things I can think of that this device would be beneficial…and these guys pick guns as their target audience. And then say it isn’t about politics…sure buddy.

    While I can see this as being an option for people that might wanna keep their guns monitored, most will not want it. The market for this is potentially much larger for everything BESIDES guns.

  25. Smart guns, tracking guns, it’s all good. Just don’t force it on me. Some people like the technology or need it, and so there’s a market to take advantage of, that’s fine. But some people don’t, and that should be fine too. Freedom applies to everyone.

  26. It would seem that the market does not support this idea. Their Indigogo campaign just ended with only 15% funding.

    CAMPAIGN CLOSED
    This campaign ended on March 7, 2016

  27. Over the years thousands of military weapons have been stolen from military bases, Guard and Reserve armories, naval and air force bases, ships, etc. Think of all those stolen military weapons-handguns, M16s, M4s, machine guns, Stinger missiles, etc., that could be recovered if they had been GPS protected…Maybe they should install these devices into nukes, also. That certainly would prove their worth, if the taxpayers could recover these itsms.

  28. Any firearm manufacturer that voluntarily embeds these into their product would do well to read the history of Smith & Wesson with Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The results could be pretty ugly.

  29. You know what? i would buy the shit out of this.
    I own NFA firearms. I was in the military. I am a bona fide gun nut from dianne fiensteins worst nightmares.
    I literally just had my entire f-ng safe stolen right out of my house. Do you know how bad i wish i could have *voluntarily* put a tracker thingy in my safe? Pretty bad.

    Sure, i dont want the govt. to track my guns and stuff. But i sure as hell want to be able to track my guns and stuff.

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