Hirsch: Making Smart Guns is About Business, Not the Second Amendment

smith & Wesson american outdoor smart guns

courtesy American Outdoor

You may remember that last year, a number of shareholder groups (including an obscure group of nuns) pushed to force publicly-held firearms companies like American Outdoor (Smith & Wesson), Vista and Ruger to answer a questions about their operations. They wanted to know about so-called reputational risk from being in the business of making firearms, any “assault weapons” they produce, and plans they may have for developing “smart guns.” This all came about following the Parkland shooting

Last week, the Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski reported that as a result of the review mandated by the shareholder vote, Smith & Wesson had announced that they have no plans to get into the “smart gun” business.

As Gutowski’s report details, American Outdoor noted that. . .

“Today’s report complies with a Resolution that was passed by a small percentage of our shareholders in September,” American Outdoor Brands told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement. “Despite the fact that the Resolution was put forward by parties whose interests were not aligned with those of our customers, or those of our shareholders seeking true risk mitigation and value creation, the report represents our good faith effort and investment of company resources. Its contents demonstrate that our reputation with our customers for protecting their Second Amendment rights, and our ability to manufacture the high-quality firearms they want to purchase, are paramount to sustaining and growing our market share and stockholder value.”

For a response, we talked to the Smart Tech Challenge Foundation’s president Margot Hirsch. Her organization funds entrepreneurs building so-called smart guns (Kai Kloepfer may be their most famous investment) and other gun safety devices like biometric locks. Here’s what Hirsch had to say about Smith & Wesson’s statement:

I understand Smith & Wesson’s reticence about developing a smart gun since they were boycotted back in 2000, but it’s been almost 20 years and times have changed. And I can certainly understand any reluctance to trigger the counter-productive New Jersey mandate that has stifled innovation for years.

But there is clearly a push for increased gun safety technology in the US and I don’t believe that is going to go away. The drumbeat started by the Parkland kids and other gun control groups has staying power and they are mobilizing their forces and slowly gaining strength.

This is something the gun companies are going to have to deal with and they will not be able to push it aside.

From a smart tech standpoint, the question of innovating and offering firearms with this kind of technology isn’t about the Second Amendment and/or gun rights. This is all about business.

Car companies are developing autonomous cars which are incredibly complex. Most of their customers may not want them now, but that will change.

We are able to use microelectronics in airplanes and spaceships. Putting electronics in guns is literally not rocket science. It may not be easy, but it certainly is doable and it will happen.

If a company doesn’t have the ability to do it now, they need to invest in the talent to get people who do. There are people out there who have the know-how. If gun companies like Smith & Wesson want the technology, they can hire and/or license it from the innovators who are working on the technology.

My understanding is that Smith & Wesson didn’t talk to a single current innovator and has done no current research on their own to understand if there is a market for these products. Instead, they relied on research from 2013 which is outdated.

Harley-Davidson has innovated and introduced a line of electric motorcycles. Who would have thought that their tattooed, leather-clad customers would ever want to buy an electric motorcycle? Maybe they don’t, but there’s a whole generation of customers behind them who will.

Building and offering a line of guns with electronic safety technology is about capitalism and business innovation, product line extension and attracting new customers. Gun makers’ current customer base is getting older. Shareholders want companies to innovate, not get stuck in their stodgy, old ways.

Smith & Wesson’s traditional customer base will eventually die off and they will need to attract new, younger customers to gun ownership. This kind of innovation won’t replace “old” guns, it will just add new models to their product catalogue.

Younger people aren’t tech-phobic. They’ve grown up with technology and many of them will see this as a plus. What’s more, the PR value in providing a next-generation, new way to secure your firearm would help to appease shareholders and the segment of the public that is concerned about gun safety.

Companies have to continually innovate and invest in new technologies. Look at the ones that didn’t: Kodak, Blockbuster, BlackBerry. All are either in the corporate graveyard or just a shell of their former selves.

There will always be gun buyers who have no interest in these technologies and don’t believe they are viable. To those people I say, fine, don’t buy them. Smith & Wesson and other companies should continue to offer products for that segment of the market as well.

But to refuse to offer products for an increasing number of customers who will want more technologically sophisticated options is short-sighted. This is all about consumer choice. Or should be.

comments

  1. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Interesting that while claiming S&W did no market research, no customer outreach, the spokeshuman failed to detail any market research and customer outreach, relying on opinion to justify business decisions.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Shills gotta shill and she shilling for smart guns. I wonder how many shekels Soros shells out for her shilling?

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Soros doesn’t do sheckels, just like every other good little Nazi, he shells out Reichsmarks.

        1. avatar ThisEnd^ says:

          As I recall, Soros was only 9 years old when the Nazi allied with Hungary! Try a different more plausible lie…

        2. avatar Geoff "Bring the EDIT button back, will ya, TTAG?" PR says:

          Never seen the pictures of very young kids in Nazi uniforms?

        3. avatar Victoriaillinois says:

          I believe that Soros turned in his fellow Jews to the Nazi’s. Wonder why.

        4. avatar ThisEnd^ says:

          I doubt very much that a 9 year old Hungarian Jew would Turn People into the Nazi’s…

      2. avatar Reason says:

        Try saying that 10 times fast.

  2. avatar pwrserge says:

    It’s not about “consumer choice” when there are laws in place to FORCE people to only buy your “smart gun” piece of shit.

    1. avatar rt66paul says:

      This is the problem – even when the gun works exactly as designed. some yahoo will take the company to court and they will be constantly hiding and ducking. Guns have a job to do. If they work as designed(even and especially with operator error), there is alway someone to claim they didn’t.
      In the political climate today, the laws in some states automatically default to these guns as the only type to buy. This give an unfair market playing field to a product we all know will need some help. Just look at the gun drop safety on many of the new handguns.
      If I were in business of making guns, I would wait until someone out of house got the patents and put the onus on him.
      No one is that stupid, yet.

    2. avatar Huntmaster says:

      “Harley-Davidson has innovated and introduced a line of electric motorcycles. Who would have thought that their tattooed, leather-clad customers would ever want to buy an electric motorcycle? Maybe they don’t, but there’s a whole generation of customers behind them who will.”

      All I can say is good luck Harley-Davidson. And to Margo Hirsch the woman cited in the article, “Do you even know anybody who rides motorcycles and have you ever ridden one? I doubt it.

      1. avatar DaveDetroit says:

        Notice the unbridled bigotry in assuming that ALL Harley riders are “tattooed, leather wearing”. The bigotry of the Left is astounding. Harley riders like gun owners come from diverse backgrounds, geographies, cultures, ages, politics and even gender identity. But to the Left, all blacks are the same, all white men are the same, all women are the same…. I guess it makes a complex world more simple for the IQ challenged.

        1. avatar Rad Man says:

          I don’t have a single tattoo but I wouldn’t swing a leg over my Electra Glide without wearing leather for safety.

        2. avatar BLAMMO says:

          You mean, not all gun owners are dumb, beady-eyed, pin-headed, ball-cap-wearing, old, fat white guys?

          https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a3/be/ae/a3beae1d30768004e23b368152701d17.jpg

    3. avatar B says:

      Yup. So they can eventually just turn off your Smart POS whenever they want or just track you constantly. In the meantime, they phase out tried and true hammers.

  3. avatar OBOB says:

    Funny thing this guy mentioned this
    “We are able to use microelectronics in airplanes and spaceships”

    to this day there is a dumb old analog backup to every computer on every modern passenger jet….just like there was 50 years plus ago

    but a ‘smart gun’ does not have that backup or will have it for keep the gun grabbers happy….

    1. avatar CantHappenHere says:

      I like reading about commercial aircraft crashes/near misses. There was an AirBus flight where the pilots literally were fighting the computers for control of the aircraft. Analog backups for everything my azz.
      Self driving cars are a menace. Just read some of the reports of them going completely batsh1t and crashing into things. I’ve been working with computers since the punch card days, and I have a great respect for the multitude of ways technology can eff up and cause massive problems.
      I will take my firearms without electronics, thank you, except for ancillary systems. If it needs an electronic anything to fire, that’s a non-starter.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “I’ve been working with computers since the punch card days, and I have a great respect for the multitude of ways technology can eff up and cause massive problems.”

        Same here. The only thing computers are good at is presenting errors faster than you can fix them.

        1. avatar Rincoln says:

          As an CIO and former programmer/dba/help desk associate, I can say with absolute certainty that computers should never be allowed near devices you rely on for your life. I won’t even drive a car with an automatic transmission (fuel injection is here to stay, but I still don’t trust it).

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “As an CIO and former programmer/dba/help desk associate, I can say with absolute certainty that computers should never be allowed near devices you rely on for your life.”

          Agree. When computers are as sophisticated as on board NCC 1701, I will be impressed.

        3. avatar L says:

          So true. I program as a hobby and another issue I see with this: if there’s an error in the first version of the program in the gun that ships out, how does that get fixed? Do I need a software update for my Glock now? If so how? Manual recalls? Bugs are so frequent that is just implausible. The only other way is to have my Glock connect to the internet now. There are serious implications to that single sentence that I don’t even want to get into… it’s just scary. Absolutely scary.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “The only other way is to have my Glock connect to the internet now.”

          Not to worry. Smart guns have one feature/function, and will perform reliably enough for the gun grabbers – make owning a gun so difficult, people will not even try. If smart gun laws can act to cause manufacturers to make guns that don’t sell, all the better.

          The challenge for everyone involved will be when mandates appear that make the use of any but a smart gun a crime. Preventing the use of non-smart guns at public ranges could be a condition of maintaining an FFL. Same for retail outlets…selling anything other than a smart gun would be illegal.

          There is just so much room to create havoc for gun owners.

          Now, if I were really sneaky, I would declare that all smart guns must be returned to manufacturer for software updates. Then ensure that software updates are released every coupla months. That way, a good portion of the smart guns would be in transit at any one time (getting them off the street), leaving the gun owners with the choice to be jailed for using a traditional gun for self-defense. Horns of a dilemma sort of thing. The sweet irony would be “if you like your traditional gun, you can keep your traditional gun”; just can’t legally use it.

        5. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Well, before we start shooting people, let’s remember that *all* of what you describe is blatantly unconstitutional, dig deep and fight it in the courts. Electing Trump has provided a good start, reelection should finish the job for over 100 years.

    2. avatar Victoriaillinois says:

      The micro electronic door button on my car doesn’t work in the cold with gloves on. Sometimes not even with glove off and cold finger. Thankfully there’s a back-up on the key fob. Will there be a back-up button if the smart lock doesn’t work on your gun?

  4. avatar bill says:

    The only new tech I want to see at S&W is for Hillary’s hole to close shut.

    1. avatar Fully Involved says:

      There are nice inserts for that, just sayin’ (but i get your point).

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        she has a drawer full.

  5. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    The NJ law is a major factor in the non-development of smart gun technology. The failure issues, the external control possibility, the the un-inclusion on approved handgun lists (e.g, CA, MA) are also significant factors.

    Did I miss any!

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Yes indeed. The irony is that “new models of handguns” can’t be sold in California. Which means smart guns will be illegal to import and/or sell here. Too bad, considering California (despite the CA.gov’s best efforts) is still 10% of the US gun market and probably the largest potential market for “smart guns”. Talk about economic disincentives.

  6. avatar strych9 says:

    “Smith & Wesson’s traditional customer base will eventually die off and they will need to attract new, younger customers to gun ownership.”

    As a younger person who’s never owned an S&W product I can say that this statement is absolutely true.

    When S&W releases a working and reliable Phaser, Zat, Disruptor or similar I will happily become one of their customers. Adding electronics to old-fashioned lead slingers? Not so much.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      ” Adding electronics to old-fashioned lead slingers? Not so much.”

      Hhhhmmm. If you think like this, can you really be “a younger person”? Seems like too much wisdom for youth.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        One of the things my BJJ coach used to say to me, well actually tell at me, was “Why are you trying to invent new Jiu Jitsu on the mat!?”.

        He stopped yelling at me when I stopped being too cute by half and went with the tried and true method for victory.

        Guess that rubbed off on me a bit. Certainly made me a better JJ player.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          *yell. Fucking lack of a goddamn edit button.

          Who ever came up with the idea to take that away is someone I’d like to strangle with their own intestines.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Guess that rubbed off on me a bit. Certainly made me a better JJ player.”

          Harummppff, cough, cough. Yes. Of course. Carry on.

    2. avatar Southern Cross says:

      The problem with adding electronics to guns is the forces they will be subjected to. More so if applied to moving parts such as slides.

      The forces a slide mounted component will have to endure would be the 2 way acceleration and deceleration forces every time the slide moves backwards and forwards. The can be up to the hundreds of Gs. The components will have to be extremely rugged to survive this repeatedly.

      The strongest scopes ironically are fitted to air rifles. The Wierauch HW77 and HW80 air rifles were infamous for breaking scopes.

      Electronics in missiles are apples and oranges compared to firearms. The G forces in missiles apply when accelerating at lift off and in re-entry, and tend to constant in linear directions.

      There may eventually be a market for smart guns but there are too many issues to be resolved before they are considered reliable and dependable enough for people to trust their life with. For now, the market has said no, and petty politics have reinforced this.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “There may eventually be a market for smart guns but there are too many issues to be resolved…”

        Chopped off part of your sentence to say this: All that is needed to make smart guns the standard is regulation. Regulations are not required to be sensible. The Californication SC declared that just because a regulation cannot be complied with is no reason to overturn the regulation. As Californication goes….so goes the nation. Emission controls for automobiles didn’t just magically appear out of thin air.

      2. avatar EWTHeckman says:

        To be fair, red dots on pistols are exactly the kind of abuse you’re talking about. Apparently they are quite reliable, so hardening electronics against those forces is doable at a reasonable price. The real trick is actually finding something useful that electronics can do that actually makes them better at their main purpose. The “authorized user” just doesn’t seem to be achievable.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          EWTHeckman,

          Apples and oranges: a red-dot sight only has a single light-emitting diode (LED), a single resistor, and a battery. Those items are fairly robust and we are only talking about three components. Perhaps much more importantly, you can still use your handgun quite well if the LED, resistor, or battery fails because the gun still fires and you can still view through the glass lens of your sight.

          Electronics that involve biometric or radio-frequency identification/authentication are far more sophisticated and would have several thousand, if not several million components, many of which are much more sensitive to the massive G-forces of a firearm. When you have several thousand or million more components that are much more sensitive to G-forces, you have an item that is radically less reliable than a reflex sight with three components.

          To be totally honest, I am having a hard time picturing that anyone will ever (even 1,000 years from now) be able to develop a miniature biometric or radio-frequency identification/authentication system that is reliable to life-saving standards. Why? Because technology never changes the laws of Physics. And that is exactly the problem that we face with such systems — the laws of Physics. It is akin to saying that we want still water to NOT freeze when that water is cooled to -15 degrees Fahrenheit. It simply cannot be done: not because we don’t have the technology, but because Physics doesn’t allow it.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “It simply cannot be done: not because we don’t have the technology, but because Physics doesn’t allow it.”

          Interesting thoughts, but I seem to remember back in the early ’80s, physics limited the amount of data one could get through a data pipe, specifically modem capability to compress data/wave form (?). Also, at one point it seems the atom was the smallest particle in the universe because, physics. And quantum physics was impossible because, physics.

          However, the intention of the leftists is not to incite the creation of a workable, reliable whizbang firearm. Anything that can be made to go “bang” in a controlled environment will be enough for their purposes.

        3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          EWTHeckman,

          To further clarify, miniature biometric and radio frequency identification/authentication systems for firearms would also have to be INEXPENSIVE.

          That is an extremely important point to understand because someone will claim that there are military systems which survive such G-forces, therefore those system should be viable in the civilian market. What those people fail to realize and communicate, however, is that such systems can cost several thousand dollars AND THEY ONLY HAVE TO WORK ONCE in the case of guided missiles and bullets. There is no way to make such a system that only adds something like $100 to the cost of a handgun AND will work through several thousand cycles.

        4. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Sam I Am,

          Basic Physics has always limited the uppermost capabilities of communications systems. One such limitation is:
          — noise —
          The inherent noise of devices in communication systems (and any noise present in the communication medium) limits how much information we can send. No amount of technology can overcome noise. While advancements in components has reduced how much inherent noise they generate, we have pretty much hit the physical limit now in those devices and it is not possible to make them any more quiet since the random motion of atoms is the culprit now. Note that a few systems like radio telescopes actually use cryogenics to cool the temperature of the components in their receivers to theoretical limits. You just cannot get any less noise than when your components are a few degrees above absolute zero where all atomic motion stops. There is no magic “technology” that will improve anything beyond today’s best components working near absolute zero. And note how expensive and bulky such a system is using cryogenics!

          Again, my point is that we are at the theoretical limits of Physics when it comes to nearly all electronic components in the past 20 or so years. There is no magic “technology” that will take electronic components beyond their current capabilities.

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Understand what you are saying. Perhaps the limits are ours (methods, means, materials).

          At one time in history, the atom was the smallest existing particle. Then our capabilities upgraded and we found physics did not limit the particles to atom size.

      3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        And now to emphasize Southern Cross’ point:

        Use your smart phone to pound in 200, 16-d nails into pine 2x4s and tell me how well your smart phone works after that. I’ll even go so far as to let you attach a steel plate to the back of your phone to ensure that your smart phone case/enclosure remains undamaged from the impact of your phone hitting the heads of the nails.

        1. avatar EWTHeckman says:

          I’m not aware of any smart phones that are designed to survive such treatment. Are you?

          I have seen pistol red-dots subjected to similar abuse that to test them because they are designed for that. Typically, what fails isn’t the electronics, it’s the optics.

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          EWTHeckman,

          Read my comment above where I describe the world of difference between a red-dot reflex sight and a necessarily sophisticated electronic system which uses biometrics or radio frequency identification/authentication.

          The point that I was making about using a smart phone to pound in nails is that miniature electronics are inherently delicate and no amount of “design” is going to change that fact, especially when we are talking about something that has to be inexpensive and work through several thousand cycles. The physical properties of the materials that we use to make electronic components — especially active components which dominate sophisticated electronic systems — are delicate and will not tolerate hundreds/thousands of cycles of G-forces inherent in a firearm. It is no different than requiring a glass object to not crack, chip, or shatter when using it to pound in several hundred nails. It simply is not possible.

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Gaston has made zillions by pursuing great reliability at lesser cost, something which will ALWAYS go bang. Is there *any* iteration of these “electronics” which are not intended SPECIFICALLY to *prevent* the firearm from firing? Why would anyone spend one nickel more than a Glock costs in order to own a gun which will NOT always fire?

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Why would anyone spend one nickel more than a Glock costs in order to own a gun which will NOT always fire?”

        Because it will be mandated? Traditional firearms made illegal to use, for any purpose?

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        LarryinTX,

        The biggest argument for a firearm that will NOT always fire is a safety measure which ensures that an unauthorized person (e.g. a criminal or a child) will not be able to shoot.

        Of course such a system would be extremely desirable if that same system could not ever prevent authorized people from shooting when they want to. As it turns out, such a system is not actually possible because there would always be ways in which such a system would prevent the authorized person from shooting when they really want to shoot. And such a system would only stop a criminal from immediately shooting: it would never stop a criminal from disassembling a firearm and removing the biometric/radio frequency identification/authentication at a time and place of their choosing after their theft.

        Since those last two FACTS are deal-breakers, there is no point in pursuing such a contraption.

  7. avatar ThisEnd^ says:

    I also remember that one of those Shareholders was a Singapore HQ Financial Group with almost $6 TRILLION USD in asset’s. I wonder what the NRA would do if they had $6 Trillion in asset’s just laying around collecting interest…

    1. avatar SouthAl says:

      Give Wayne a raise.

      1. avatar ThisEnd^ says:

        I guessing at least $1-Billion! But per Year or per Hour…

  8. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘And I can certainly understand any reluctance to trigger the counter-productive New Jersey mandate that has stifled innovation for years.’

    So why don’t they spend their energies getting the counter-productive law repealed instead of criticizing a company for not violating their fiduciary obligations to their investors.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Stop projecting your logic and sense of fair consistancy on these people! You will drive yourself mad good sir!! Look at them through the lens of their ultimate objective (civil disarmament/control) and it will all make sense. I think the non-threatening politispeak word for that is “optiks”.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Well yes, capitalists are from Mars and communists are from Venus.

  9. avatar M1Lou says:

    Why do I not want a smart gun? Because someone will find a way to interfere with it from a distance and render it useless. Instead of failing into operation, it will most likely fail into a non-operational state for liability reasons.

    1. avatar ThisEnd^ says:

      A “Smart Gun” could mean anything! Like an Electric Impulse Firing Pin, that creates a spark so hot that all the propellant is consumed with no residual propellant left in the cartridge. But hey that’s just a personal observation…

    2. avatar Gadsden says:

      These smart cars are next too. Soon criminals will be able to cut out the middle man, and simply hack the car and drive it straight to the chop shop. Traditional car theives will be out of work.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “and simply hack the car and drive it straight to the chop shop”

        Already done, with cars, ships and airplanes. Well….not to the chop shop, but to prove the vehicles can be re-directed externally, and in certain tests, those “driving” were unaware they were changing direction because the visible instruments presented no sign of vehice path being altered.

        Meaning….

        Your car can be sent to the chop shop with you in it. Accomplishes a “twofer”: chopped car and kidnap ransom.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          They’ll regret that when I show up armed and already murderously angry at the car for making me late.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “They’ll regret that when I show up armed and already murderously angry at the car for making me late.”

          Well….there’s that.

        3. avatar California Richard says:

          Unless they remotely disarm your government permitted smart gun too.

      2. avatar Truckman says:

        they all ready can on those that use a transponder to turn car on and you just push the start button all you need to do is match the code and off you go

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          That’s “all you need to do”? Easy peasey? Has to be done from *inside the car*, and it is no longer one of 10 codes for a particular car, more like one of a million. I don’t think it’s real easy except for talking through your hat about it. And 25 years ago, or anytime before, you had a choice, either rip all the wires loose and connect the required ones together (5 seconds) or insert a tool in the ignition lock and break the lock (2 seconds). But you keep thinking it’s all some conspiracy, OK?

  10. Maybe they’ll make an “Electronic Sound Suppressor” that uses White Noise to cancel out the Gun Shot…

    1. avatar Geoff "Bring the EDIT button back, will ya, TTAG?" PR says:

      “Maybe they’ll make an “Electronic Sound Suppressor” that uses White Noise to cancel out the Gun Shot…”

      Technology close to that is used in industrial applications to reduce noise around loud machinery.

      In effect, it ‘listens’ to the noise the machine makes, and then inverts and amplifies then feeds the signal into a loudspeaker. The end effect is, a machine operator is exposed to less noise. It’s a scaled-up example of an active noise reduction headset…

      1. How many of those are Man Portable and run on Lithium-Ion Batteries, smaller than a C-Cell…

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “It’s a scaled-up example of an active noise reduction headset…”

        And if you have all the parts lying around to make a white noise suppression device, you will be considered in constructive possession of an illegal silencer.

  11. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    Just read an article that autonomous car developers are backing off their predictions of availability. It seems that developing the technology to deal with the real world road conditions are a little more complex than they thought, then you add weather on top of that…..

  12. avatar Anthony Atrox says:

    “Harley-Davidson has innovated and introduced a line of electric motorcycles. Who would have thought that their tattooed, leather-clad customers would ever want to buy an electric motorcycle? Maybe they don’t, but there’s a whole generation of customers behind them who will.”

    Yeah I’m afraid not. May I ask what did you use for a reference to make that statement? For many years now Harley’s target market has been the weekend warrior professional types. They have distanced themselves and alienated the, as you call them, tattooed, leather-clad customers who made them what they are. Nice try, but the statement is pure b.s. opinion, not based on facts, and it negates the rest of your argument.

    1. avatar Minuteman says:

      Harley is struggling badly. They priced themselves out of the market. Electric motorcycles aren’t going to save them. Smart gun technology isn’t going to save any gun manufacturers either.

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        Smart gun devolpment isn’t meant to save gun manufacturers. It’s prohibitive development cost is meant to put a nail in the coffin of manufacturers. Encourage your enemies to make stupid mistakes.

    2. avatar Matt o says:

      The new electric Harley is going to sell like dog turds, they took so long developing it that its at least five years out of date already. It price starts at 40k and its slower, significantly heavier and has half the range of its american made competition that costs about a third as much.

  13. avatar Mad Max says:

    I have a “smart” phone, why would I need a “smart” gun; so the battery can go dead when I need it most (like the “smart” phone)?

    I hate battery-powered stuff.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “why would I need a “smart” gun; so the battery can go dead when I need it most (like the “smart” phone)?”

      You just don’t get it. Your smart gun would be equipped with solar panels, and a small wind turbine. Battery always stays charged.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        It will also have an emergency backup fuel cell charged with self-replenishing unicorn farts.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “It will also have an emergency backup fuel cell charged with self-replenishing unicorn farts.”

          Really? Haven’t seen anything in the news. Do you have a reference? Three, redundant power sources. Whooda thunk?

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          It was part of NIna PInta Santa Maria Ocassio Corrrtez’s “Green” [read: RED] New deal.

        3. avatar Geoff "Bring the EDIT button back, will ya, TTAG?" PR says:

          ” [read: RED] New deal.”

          A cartoon blurb in a 1970’s ‘Mad Magazine’ once read :

          “Reds are buried in communist plots”…

          *snicker* 😉

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Reds are buried in communist plots”…

          Be interesting to see how that plays. The “joke” is more subtle than generally thought.

  14. avatar Tim says:

    Make all the dopey-a$$ “iGuns” you want. I’ll never buy.

  15. avatar American Patriot says:

    The claim is “there’s clearly a push for increased gun safety technology” BS! The left just wants to ban guns & the Right wants to keep criminals locked up or kept from entering the county PERIOD. It’s not the gun….it’s the evil behind the gun.

  16. avatar Mark N. says:

    Firearms manufacturers are protected from liability for making “dangerous” products that kill people, but they are not protected from products liability exposure when a gun blows up in your face because it was made improperly. As a mechanical device, and aside from competition guns, firearms are not terribly prone to failure, and thus the risk is low. Guns usually go bang when they are supposed to. But what happens when your EDC does NOT go bang when you need it to because its poor little brain is fried and you cannot use the analog mechanical features as a backup? Think about it–unlike a lot of machines that are designed to fall back to a mechanical override in the event of electrical or electronic failure, the whole point of a smart gun is to eliminate the mechanical backup in order to prevent unauthorized use. Will manufacturers be sued when the gun does not go bang and bad things happen? And look at it another way–how many people buy a handgun for personal protection and stuff it in a drawer in their bedside table, never to pull it out again for many years, if at all? The batteries in those guns will be dead dead dead, and the guns will not function. All of a sudden, that smart gun seems kind of stupid.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Then I guess these people will finally get what they want, and open up gun manufacturers to frivolous law suits. Smart guns are a win-win for these people….. the problem they face now is the same problem all social extremists run in to: They are so anti-gun, that they can’t be seen promoting any gun even smart guns. Its why they make these fake “pro-smart gun/pro 2nd ammendment” lobbying groups. They can get “pro-gun” legislation passed and blame the “pro-2nd amendment” lobby.

  17. avatar Anchar says:

    I’m 31- in the ‘young’ target market. I Want a gas vtwin harley with a proper cv carb and a quality simple steel firearm( bought a .500, great revolver!). no thanks on tech in my weapons- unless it’s a directed energy weapon. A 10watt microwave laser would be nice. You can silently and invisibly light people on fire from a block away

  18. avatar ahil925 says:

    Hirsch already started the response with a dearth of credibility but completely lost it by claiming Harley Davidson has done ANYTHING innovative with their electric motorcycles. The LiveWire is a $30k turd, under powered and crap range compared to its competitors. The only “smart” tech coming to firearms will be shadowrun-esqe ballistic computers, integrated HUDs in optic displays, better thermal and NV, and maybe self-guiding bullets.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Exacto baby….. https://youtu.be/BCUohOxL6Us

      1. Very unlikely that EXACTO will ever sold to the General Public…

  19. avatar Hannibal says:

    “But there is clearly a push for increased gun safety technology in the US and I don’t believe that is going to go away…”

    Yes, a push from people that don’t buy guns. So maybe not the group that should be driving business decisions.

    The path to ‘smart’ firearms is clear, and it is the same with many advancements in weapons: military and governmental buy-in. Is the military clamoring for smart guns? They have so many rules about safety that everyone has to wear reflective gear when jogging lest someone miss a platoon. So why wouldn’t they be looking to make ‘safe guns’?

    What about law enforcement? Why didn’t the Secret Service ever push Congress to give them a budget for smart gun grants? Who wouldn’t want federal agents’ guns to be ‘safe’? The FBI has caused calibers to rise and fall through their purchase decisions, why not them? What about the NYPD… wait a sec, nevermind, the idiots in charge of them might actually try it.

    1. avatar California Richard says:

      Going on 10 years now and I’m still holding my breath… https://www.cbsnews.com/news/smart-guns-for-nypd/

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        Not surprising but even those ‘smart guns’ are nothing like what we consider ‘smart guns’ today.

  20. avatar former water walker says:

    My “dumb guns” will work in an emp attack. I’m happy with my 19th century technology…unless I can get a ray gun😄😊😏

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      You can keep your Raigan… I’ll take a bolter. Because nothing quite says “fuck you commie” like a 3/4″ rocket propelled grenade to the face fired in three round bursts.

    2. avatar rt66paul says:

      and a flying car….

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “and a flying car….”

        That idea is raising its ridiculous head again. There is no infrastructure for “hop in and go” traffic with flying cars. To add to that, too few people understanding that flying is a matter of moving in four dimensions, simultaneously. The number of people who even realize that you can’t stop a flying car in the air and figure things out is astounding. Anyone who attempts to buy a flying car should be required to calculate the turning radius of an airborne vehicle at various speeds. And then describe the effects of turn radius on navigation and operation. Putting wings on a self-driving car isn’t the answer, either.

        1. avatar Tim says:

          C’mon. Pull on the thing – stuff gets embiggened. Push on the thing stuff gets smallified. Not that hard.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “C’mon. Pull on the thing – stuff gets embiggened. Push on the thing stuff gets smallified. Not that hard.”

          Ok. Yeah. I forgot all about that. Thanks for the reminder.

        3. avatar Geoff "Bring the EDIT button back, will ya, TTAG?" PR says:

          “Putting wings on a self-driving car isn’t the answer, either.”

          Actually, it is.

          A number of companies are developing scaled-up versions of drones to carry people as a kind of ‘flying taxi’ service.

          Get in, tell it where to go, and it will take you there with zero input from manual flight controls…

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Get in, tell it where to go, and it will take you there with zero input from manual flight controls…”

          Controlling air traffic, all of it including cars, is the issue. We have already seen that self-driving cars can’t reliably deal with ground traffic. Self-driving aircraft are even more difficult.

          We are also finding that even all the automation in aircraft is leading to problems. The issue is understanding the assumptions/presumptions that are embedded in the software, and where the software deviates from how people think. There is also the issue of resorting to full manual control, which would require flying skills of carplane drivers.

          Flying cars will not be as simple as plug and go.

        5. avatar LarryinTX says:

          As we celebrate all the fun this will be, let a pilot tell you how long it will last. When you punch in your destination and your car lifts off, seven other cars lift off at the same time within a block of you (just like every morning commute now), all bound for the other side of town to get people to work. Two multi-car crashes in the next 30 seconds result in huge flaming wrecks causing your entire neighborhood to burn to the ground before quitting time. That was the end of flying cars. And you!

        6. avatar Hannibal says:

          FINE, a hovercar, whatever.

        7. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “FINE, a hovercar, whatever.”

          You may be on to something there.

    3. avatar Gadsden says:

      Personally I’m interested in seeing where Gauss rifle technology goes.

  21. avatar GS650G says:

    The Jersey law is a violation of the USC. I say trigger it and let the SCOTUS step on it. If it stands let it be a monument to what happens when you vote your rights away.

  22. avatar dwb says:

    Contradict yourself much? The idea that “Building and offering a line of guns with electronic safety technology is about capitalism and business innovation, …” is not compatible with:

    “But there is clearly a push for increased gun safety technology in the US and … their forces and slowly gaining strength.”

    If the Parkland kids and the gun control lobby wants this stuff, they can buy it. If their forces are growing, so must the demand. Oh wait, the gun control lobby wants to *impose* these restrictions. Not for the purpose of “safety” but to create barriers to ownership (i.e. cost). Creating barriers to the free market and imposing the desires of elites is about as socialist as it comes.

    1. avatar dwb says:

      On the other hand, Smith and Wesson does their own virtue signalling with the moronic integrated lock on their revolvers aka Clinton hole. If Smith and Wesson really wanted to impress me with their new customer centric focus, they ought to get rid of that stupid thing.

  23. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

    If “smart guns” are such a good business decision that major firearm companies do not want anything to do with, why don’t you start a new gun company that only produces said product? Do it for the kids that are screaming for it.
    Kodaks’ problems did not have anything to do with technology. Kodak invented digital photography! Their problems had to do with bad managemental decisions that included wrong marketing decisions of what to do with digital photography.

  24. avatar Vaughn Winslett says:

    I buy several firearms each year. NONE will have Clinton locks or be Smart Guns for idiots.

  25. avatar DaveL says:

    Sure people want smart guns – people who don’t want guns, that is. What they don’t explain is why any company would want to make guns for people who don’t want to buy guns?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “What they don’t explain is why any company would want to make guns for people who don’t want to buy guns?”

      Good point.

  26. avatar EWTHeckman says:

    I really have to question the analysis of someone who repeatedly says “well yeah, people don’t want it now, buuut…”. Spending huge amounts of money on something for which there aren’t customers is the definition of a bad business decision.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Spending huge amounts of money on something for which there aren’t customers is the definition of a bad business decision.”

      Post-it notes had no one clamoring for an adhesive that didn’t stick well.

      1. avatar EWTHeckman says:

        As I recall, they were trying to develop an adhesive with different properties when that one was created by accident. Then someone realized it would be useful.

        People have been actively working on biometric identification systems for decades. They’re nowhere near something that wouldn’t get gun owners killed in self defense situation. Fingerprints don’t work through gloves. Retinal scans don’t work through sunglasses. Batteries have limited lives. There is no computer security that is unbreakable. To think that a company could make such a massive investment all by themselves and remain financially solvent is laughable.

        People who think it’s possible to develop a gun that can only be fired by an authorized user and will work with the current level of reliability are guilty of magical thinking. There are some people who will say that we’ve done “impossible” things like going to the moon, so we should be able to do this. But they demonstrate a profound lack of knowledge, much like the guy who used that example to defend the idea that we could eliminate all fossil fuel use in this country (no nuclear, either), replace airplanes with trains, and replace every building in the country in only 10 years.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “People who think it’s possible to develop a gun that can only be fired by an authorized user and will work with the current level of reliability are guilty of magical thinking.”

          Not actually. The propagators don’t really care. It is the gullible who “believe”. The manipulators only want to promote new ways to make gun ownership a hardship. Magical guns are just one of the gimmicks.

        2. avatar CantHappenHere says:

          I don’t trust the finger print reader safes to open reliably, and I especially don’t trust them not to open for someone other than me.
          Simplex mechanical locks for my quick access safes. Regular S&G combo lock on the big safe. No batteries to go dead. No electronics to fry from an EMP.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          If I am caught in a shooting situation and I go down, I *want* the guy next to me to be able to use my gun. WTF are we thinking?

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “WTF are we thinking?”

          Uuuhhh, well…the gun grabber are thinking that if we need a gun to defend ourselves then we are stupid people, in stupid places, winning stupid prizes. Better to die than present a never-ending threat of going mad and shooting up a mall.

          (Oh, Dan Z…the “save my name, email, etc checkbox is a nice feature.)

  27. avatar AlanInFL says:

    To me, a smart gun is like a smart bomb. I rather have a firearm that’s highly accurate like a smart bomb. A smart gun is the worst way to teach firearm safety and like anything else electronic: prone to failure.

  28. avatar Kyle says:

    I love any new innovation in the gun manufacturing and design industry.

    I would never carry a ‘smart gun’ at least at this point. But the fact that I can’t even get one pisses me off. New Jersey should be ashamed.

    And I dont buy the “government will force us to use smart guns so they can turn them off at will” argument. Guns have been around for 800 years. building a working one takes minimum skill, making an excellent one takes more time, but is likewise a doable thing. between smuggling, 3d printers, and the ol 2nd amendment, I just dont believe that no matter how hard government may try, they will ever be able to succeed in a gun control scheme.

    I do want my smart gun. Yes, it’ll be a safe queen that I shoot just for fun, but I’d still like one someday.

  29. avatar Jim from LI says:

    Every time these people want to ban something or demand something, it’s “bla bla Parkland bla bla”. How would a Smart gun have helped there? The shooter used his own gun. Unless the gun is really really smart and knows when you’re shooting at the wrong people.

  30. avatar Million says:

    She knows what is best for business? This is an example of the conceit of the central planner. She knows the perfect structure for society.

  31. avatar enuf says:

    My 19.5 year old daughter does not want a smart gun. She figures the brains of the gun belong between her ears. So it’s not just us old farts that feel negatively towards microelectronics in firearms.

    Her mother takes credit for the young lady’s brains and good looks. I agree on the good looks but I provided the gun ownership lessons, so it seems the credit distribution is a tad uneven there.

  32. avatar Sora says:

    Smart gun is all about Controlling Gun, via tech.
    Just like how government can spy and shut off your cell anytime they want.
    Case in point Egypt internet shut down, China’s full internet control.

  33. avatar m. says:

    shareholder a**holes: sell out & invest in your idols antifa-gs, blm, cair, mb, splc…if your brains were as big as your butts…

  34. avatar Minuteman says:

    So I guess this group that wants smart guns is actually saying the original owners/buyers of the guns really aren’t the problem. It’s the criminals that steal the guns that they are worried about. We know criminals never buy their guns legally, hmmm. I guess once the smart gun is on the market we all need to destroy our other guns so the criminals won’t get their hands on them.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “I guess once the smart gun is on the market we all need to destroy our other guns so the criminals won’t get their hands on them.”

      Uh Oh.

      Another crazed gunnut who likes clipazines and thingies that go up in the back looked under the curtain and found the truth. Ought to be ashamed of yourself for peeking.

  35. avatar Richard Coon says:

    I already own a smart gun. It shoots where I tell it to shoot.

  36. avatar John Galt says:

    They could run on pulonium.

    What we REALLY NEED is to get our actual hands on the commie “representatives” that front this stuff and HANG THEM on tv at dinner time.

    The tree of liberty is parched and needs watering

  37. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    The challenge I shall issue is this one:

    -If the gun companies are so far behind on their work then show me a single technically viable smart gun in a caliber people want (minimum 9mm) with reliability where the police are willing to use it (e.g. should be able to pass a military style trial) and it can’t be bypassed extremely quickly. To my knowledge such a gun does not exist and I would be intrigued if someone claimed it did at this point in history.

    Also don’t they remember the “hillary hole” thing back in the early 00s? it was nearly the end of S&W.

    They also ignore that part of the reasons that guns may be “cool” to tech heads is their simple mechanical nature; I am in the IT industry working on infrastructure and don’t always want to do something computational. In fact I fucking hate a lot of aspects around things like mobile devices.

  38. avatar Craig in IA says:

    It’s difficult to tell what future technology might make available for firearms and gun owners/users but the larger issue would seem to me: How would the new technology be used on the already-available 300-million or so firearms currently in the hands of US citizens?

    Retro-fitting? I doubt it.

    Of course some thought we’d never get to the moon, either. (Or did we…?) 🙂

    On another “modern tech” topic: First the “Edit Feature” went away. Now we are no longer being asked to “Confirm Follow” for initial posting? Perhaps our posts now go directly to NSA, huh? That ought to shake up a few bunker dwellers.

  39. avatar jakee308 says:

    The only way that smart tech should become mandatory is if some major concession were also agreed to (by law so they can’t squirm out of it) that stops them from increasing demands on gun owners with no corresponding giving up of some of the gun controllers more ludicrous reasoning for gun control.

    We’ve been the ones giving up our rights but we don’t see the Democrats giving up any of their first amendment rights and in fact present some really outrageous statements about guns that they never let be refuted.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      The Constitution is far more powerful than any law, if it is not sufficient then adding a law will not help. Allowing XX in exchange for YY will result in lots of XX and not a whit of YY. Don’t allow ANYTHING.

  40. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    “Fascism” and “Socialism” is defined by elites forcing ideas, no matter how disastrous, on society. There is no place in free market capitalism for forcing companies to research and implement other’s ideas. There is nothing stopping anyone from investing their own capital into putting delicate electronics into devices which rely on shock-producing explosions. How come George Soros isn’t funding this guy’s “brilliant idea”? Forcing others to invest in schemes that they don’t believe in and which would harm their own self-interests is evil.

    Socialism and “Progressivism” are defined by forcing others to do things they don’t want to at the point of a gun. That’s a lot easier when the citizens who will suffer the most are disarmed. Which is why

  41. avatar WARFAB says:

    The people pushing to incorporate electronics into firearms don’t realize what kind of genie they’re trying to coax out of a bottle. Once that genie gets out and they realize what it means, I guarantee they’ll wish they could put it back in the bottle. Anyone who plays paintball and is familiar with paintball marker technology knows that electronically controlled guns would just end up being a nightmare for the ATF and people who want to regulate 2A rights.

  42. avatar CHS says:

    I have absolutely no problem with smart guns.

    And I’ll happily carry one just as soon as any major military or police service issues them as standard.

    I’ll wait….

  43. avatar Ralph says:

    “Smith & Wesson’s traditional customer base will eventually die off”

    You first, honey.

  44. avatar Docduracat says:

    That is by far the stupidest, most biased thing I have read in a long time.
    Leftists buy very few guns.
    They might buy a “ smart gun”
    Gun enthusiasts will immediately boycott Smith and Wesson if the ever offer a smart gun for sale.
    Smith would be committing suicide if they even researched the concept

  45. avatar Willie says:

    Real gun owners and shooters don’t want smart guns. I know I WON’T pay a large premium for experimental technology that won’t take away any responsibility for my own use and ownership of firearms.

  46. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    “…From a smart tech standpoint, the question of innovating and offering firearms with this kind of technology isn’t about the Second Amendment and/or gun rights. This is all about business.”

    Then you should have zero problem helping firearm owners overturn bad policies like the one mentioned out of New Jersey. I mean it only makes sense that you should want to clear the way as much as possible so you can move your tech product forward, right?

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