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smartgun

“All the gun safety technology in the world is no substitute for absolutely serious and careful practice. What these techy guns really prevent is fast deployment in the very moment that they are most needed. The only moment that matters.” – Tom Hartsfield in Smart Guns are Stupid Science [at realclearscience.com]

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193 COMMENTS

  1. Good lord, it looks like the abortion between RoboCop’s gun and a heavy pistol from Mass Effect. DO NOT WANT

  2. I really hope that piece of crap is just a proof of concept and not something they’re thinking of trying to sell as is.

    • + 1B

      I they’re hell-bent on converting something that might help mankind, they could become fertilizer.

  3. Even after you put a slide on it, I’m guessing it’d be more effective to throw that gun at someone in self defense than trying to fire it.

    • Don’t forget the potential of an armed attacker busting out into laughter when that weapon is deployed. Might give a nimble person time to escape, or at least to be turning away when the bat crashes into the back of their head.

  4. Smart guns only make sense to people who are afraid of guns and have no experience with them. I would only trust my life to a simple mechanical tool that is well maintained and well tested. Lets see the secret service or another force take them up and show us how great they are. They won’t because they can’t. Smart guns are utter hogwash, meant to dupe those who would read cosmopolitan. Feelings matter in that worldview not fact.

    • I am very confident with firearms and I would like a smart gun. It’s not to prevent a negligent discharge, it’s to control who can fire it. I lock up my guns and follow proper safety rules, but I still want to control the firing mechanism.

      I want a reliable smart gun that only I can control (not the police or the government) and I don’t want other people to be required to have one. If it doesn’t meet those 3 requirements I wouldn’t waste the money. Let capitalism prevail.

      • And in a few decades the electronics may be so reliable and robust that you can have that. But we sure aren’t there yet.

        I mean Apple has spent $billions of dollars and has tens (hundreds?) of millions of user experiences to draw upon, and they’ve managed to make a phone that is mostly reliable most of the time. Which isn’t good enough for a gun.

  5. Ugghh. This article is click bait. The concept of an electronic technology being integrated into an intentionally purely mechanical contraption which has stayed purely mechanical for 600 years for a reason is only evidence that the people concerning themselves with discussion of “smart guns” as something that should exist have gone only so far as to give another example of Dunning-Kruger at work.

    • Paint ball guns have electronic triggers with amazing fire rates. I think a robust technology could be designed into a firearm. There are a lot of cool things you could do with a firearm if you didn’t have to pivot a hook to release a spring.

      • A selenoid operated firing pin comes to mind to resolve all or most of the problems with mechanical triggers, but if I’m not mistaken the government says that is a big no-no. Not to mention you then require a battery to operate the thing and all the uncertainties that come with that.

      • I’m not a paintball expert by any means, but I’ve played a few games and I’ve seen a bunch of e-trigger failures. There’s a reason that serious woodsballers still use mechanical markers.

  6. I have a biometric bedside safe I keep my bump in the night gun in. I leave it open at night so I don’t have to fumble for my pistol. Locked and stored away when I go to work. Sometimes it takes a couple tries to open if I slide my finger wrong the first time. Technology is great but simple has stood the test of time.

  7. Just as no amount of legislation will prevent stupid people from doing stupid things no amount of technology will either. Unless that technology comes in the form of shackles. The best benefits are in lessening the impact of stupidity as with airbags and seatbelts. Maybe states that prohibit non-LEO use of less-lethal ammunition could permit their residents to own and use such ammo if they so choose? That’d be a non-intrusive, non-totalitarian way to possibly decrease deaths due to firearm use/misuse. How about bringing firearms safety to the classroom? Education defeats ignorance after all. That would of course assume the “smart gun” proponents were genuine in their desire to reduce injuries and deaths and not just jump on any bandwagon they perceive as as attack on gun ownership/owners. Are there any sincere advocates for safety? Since MDA hates Eddie Eagle I doubt it.

  8. If only stupid people make smart technology, then only criminals will have guns.

    Gun-grab lifeclock at 2.75 seconds to midnight.

  9. Nice article. Made some interesting observations. The sort of thing one does to justify not developing the internal combustion engine; it can’t be perfect today, so it will never be worth pursuing. Better to rely on the most error prone element of any system…the human.

    • I think you are conflating some issues there. If a system is designed to save lives, it is inherently poor if it causes you to die and will not be adopted. If an engine breaks down the car stops, but then you can fix it and make it better, if this breaks down, you die.

      A better analogy would be a prescription drug that gets pulled off the market for killing more people than it helps. According to your logic you would still use it because perfect is the enemy of good enough.

      In terms of systems, the human element is not always the most error prone… but Im glad to see you would promote a system that would try to prove that point 🙂

      • The Luddite philosophy of not progressing is the same, regardless of the technology. Because a technology is in its infancy, is deeply flawed, is attempting to do something unproved, then it is a waste to even think about it. If the current state-of -the-art is not nearly 100% safe and effective, the pro-gun supporters declare there should never be any attempt to push the technology toward maturity.

        And because pro-gun people reject the ideas of caring and compassionate people who merely seek to protect themselves and their families from negligent death at the hands of gun owners, we are returning to the days of Dodge City and the Earp brothers. America was safe until the last 50 years, when the unregulated sale of guns to the public began to be popularized. The result has been an epidemic of death by handguns and the like not seen since the 1880s.

        Don’t forget, the original Patterson revolver had no trigger guard, or any other safety feature. But that didn’t stop research and development of safety features while the “unsafe” guns were on the market.

        • ‘America was safe until the last 50 years, when the unregulated sale of guns to the public began to be popularized.’

          Here’s where you lost me. Before the Gun Control Act of 1968 there was no federal licensing for gun dealers. You could order a firearm out of a Sears catalog and have it shipped straight to your door. There was no such thing as a ‘prohibited person’. The only way that statement could possibly make any sense is if you’re referring to the black market the GCA of 1968 created, except there was exactly zero regulation before. The only restrictions before 1968 were on weapons that were deemed to have no military value and they could be had with a $200 tax stamp.

          As far as your Luddite comment, you’re not completely wrong, but you fail to understand that resistance to smart gun technology is not out of fear of technology but political. And it’s not political because of gun owners, it’s political because the gun control crowd seek to use the technology to impose their agenda on gun owners. Give up your agenda and resistance to the technology will evaporate overnight.

          • Do I understand correctly, if smart-gun technology were divorced from any political action, Left or Right, then pursuing the technology would be acceptable, but regardless of the good such technology could do, just because the support comes from a political camp you reject, that technology should be buried, forgotten?

        • Yes. There are two problems with the technology. First, there’s no market for it. The only people who want it are the people who are the least likely to buy a gun. Second the left has politicized it and made it a threat to the rights of gun owners. It was the New Jersey law that killed the first ‘smart’ gun to reach the market. At this point it will take at least a generation to undo the damage the left has done. If you really want this technology to be developed, shut up and when one goes on the market run out and buy one. If I’m still around in a hundred years when the technology is perfected I might even buy one.

          • You vastly underestimate the acceleration of technology these days. The 3-D printer came out of nowhere, and had probably the shortest market acceptance of something so mundane…a printer. Yes there is a market, but it did not exist until the first printer arrived. That first unit was unaffordable to the general public. Now those printers are no lager that desktop printers, and sell for under $1500. A case of the public not knowing they needed something until it was in front of them…sorta like Post-It Notes.

            Here’s a thought…if the pro-gun crowd really wanted to cut off the march to confiscation, they would support smart-guns as a way to stifle the gun control supporters. The claim, after all, it that safe guns would protect everyone from negligent shootings. I’m surprised you guys don’t just slam-dunk this in our faces.

        • Dear 2ATroll who will not be swayed by anything any of us write in response to your comments:

          The point that is made over and over again on this site and others whenever the subject of “Smart Guns” comes up is that it is being mandated by government/politics, not driven by market demand or acceptance. Just like your example of 3D printers, if a manufacturer were to devise a true smart gun, find the financial support to bring it to market, and have it reliable enough to gain market acceptance, the product would sell in quantities sufficient to justify its production.

          At this time the market, that is, those of us who know a little something about the product we seek and what performance standards it must provide, does not believe that the smart gun technology is adequately reliable to fulfill our needs. So the actual target market for this consumer item has said that they do not want it and they resent any attempts by politicians or any government agency attempting to force us to buy something we do not want (see all opposition to Obamacare over the last 7 years).

          As stated over and over again – mandate these smart guns to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including each and every member of the Secret Service. If after a suitable testing period they prove to be reliable and accepted by these professionals in actual field trials then, and only then, will the POTG begin to accept them.

          Here’s an idea – have POTUS write an executive order mandating that every small arm and/or rifle utilized by JSOC (Navy SEALs, Delta Force, MEU SOCs, etc.) must use the best available “Smart gun” technology, starting now. Let’s see how that plays out.

          • Agree that an industry solution would be best. The government only mandates when hard-heads refuse to adopt reasonable, rational safety measures designed to not only improve the safety of those around you, but the safety of the nut behind the wheel (so to speak).

            No, I will not be swayed by sloganeering, bluster, ignorant outbursts, mindless mantra. But those are the very aspects of the character of the pro-gun gang we depend on for our ability to improve gun safety through popular and political avenues. You make it so easy.

        • What are you afraid of the free market? Pretty sure the free market has spoken about so called “smart” guns. They do not sell nor well they with anyone who wants reliable self defense. Remington awhile back came out with guns using batteries and the market spoke. You do not see them anymore for a reason.
          What about the 330 million estimated firearms already in the states? Do you intend to retroactively try and fit the technology on them?
          As for your last comment, again I say let the market decide. If your afraid of the American people’s decision making than I would guess you have an agenda.

          • You underestimate how easy it is in this society to render yesterday’s acceptable condition a crime tomorrow. There are many who argue that making the use of a firearm for any reason other than hunting or sport target shooting a felony of the highest order. There are some who would support making gun use a felony under any situation. The challenge is to get this done faster. The intent is to put gun owners (“some of the most law-abiding people”) into a conflict that either makes them compliant or criminals. The tactic now is to build better barriers to gun possession, one town council at a time (I will catch hell for letting you know this).

        • ‘Here’s a thought…if the pro-gun crowd really wanted to cut off the march to confiscation, they would support smart-guns as a way to stifle the gun control supporters.’

          Ah, the time tested Neville Chamberlain strategy of peace through appeasement. You’re not even really trying here, 2A. We have ‘shall not be infringed’ on our side and if that fails we have ‘Molon Labe’.

          • A phrase does not make a truth, repeating it does not make it truer, screaming it does not make it more substantial as a defense of anything.

            “…shall not be infringed.” is so yesterday, and over. You are being infringed. The discussion is not by whom and how much will infringement be allowed. The clatter of chattering voices talking to themselves sway not legislator, judge, nor supporter of reasonable efforts to make society safe from reckless, negligent gun owners (and they are legion, just not yet self-identified). To belabor the point, Waco was a long time ago, but the society endorsed the actions of government agents using deadly force to remove guns from a place where children lived and played…because it was the sensible thing to do.

            “Molon Labe” is so weak; based on claims of the pro-gun crowd, the time has long passed when revolution against “an out of control government” should have happened. The founders of this nation would never tolerate the reduction in personal freedoms we enjoy today; theirs was an entirely different time and place. So long as you and your kind accept without rebellion the sensible rules and policies of a modern society, there is no chance of a revolution. Keep doing what you are doing, and you will find the government (and over half the population) will be quite willing to come and take it.

        • Nothing that you stated is surprising. The NRA (among others) has been calling out that line of argument for decades. Here is something for you to chew on, firearms ownership has grown at tremendous rates under this president. If anything there is two America’s in regards to firearms. The big leftist urban areas and everyone else.

        • I’ve always found it odd that the people who claim to be so concerned with the safety of others seem to want to start a civil war. Of course, they don’t have the courage to come and disarm us themselves, they want others to do their dirty work, but still, a lot of blood in the streets if they get their way. ‘Make America Syria’ – could be the new Democratic slogan. Beats anything Trump’s come up with.

          • My side is not threatening to rise up and war with the government. My side is not foaming at the mouth with “Molon Labe” (which is a declaration of war). My side is not claiming that guns are all that stand between limited freedom (which you have), and full-scale government tyranny. My side has no illusions that citizen soldiers will on day be called on again to overthrow sensible laws.

            BTW, a call for individuals to come take your guns, is a call for a different kind of civil war. Now where on the gun control side have any threats like that been made (yes, I mentioned that a government can resort to coercion to enforce the will of the majority of people expressed through laws). My side has always said we will seek to make our lives and neighborhoods safe through the political process, your side is saying “You can’t make me ’cause I’ve got a gun !”

        • Here’s a thought…if the pro-gun crowd really wanted to cut off the march to confiscation, they would support smart-guns as a way to stifle the gun control supporters. The claim, after all, it that safe guns would protect everyone from negligent shootings. I’m surprised you guys don’t just slam-dunk this in our faces.

          As you have previously stated, the technology is not perfected. Feel free to perfect it – in the meantime the current offering of smart guns suck, and there is approximately no market for them.

          • I agree there is no market for what is offered today. Pro-gun people do not want to even consider for a moment the value in moving forward. Thomas Edison was asked if he felt he was a failure when he tried 100 times to perfect the incandescent bulb. He replied, “I didn’t fail; I learned 99 ways not to make a light bulb.” Edison’s idea was ridiculed right up to the moment he brought forth reliable electric light. You guys seem to have the attitude, “When you have a working product, bring it to me so I can spit on it.” Would I be wrong to conclude that should an absolutely defect-free, perfectly reliable smart gun be available this afternoon, pro-gun would reject it. So, when it comes to the will of the majority to have only safe guns available for sale, government must then step in to to enforce that decision. So being a law resister calls for government action, and somehow that is unacceptable. How do you think the criminal element reasons about being regulated by the laws of the majority of the public? In a free society you do not have the option to simply drop-out and go your own way. Why? Because if your philosophy ruled, you would demand compliance of those who object, and rightly so.

        • Why should we put another barrier between ourselves and a useful tool? Please explain that first and then maybe we can talk. Most of us have a gun for various purposes, do you expect us to retrofit all 330 million guns that are already in circulation?

          • The situation here is that technology is proposed as a means to further reduce negligent death and injury by supposed “good guys with a gun” (bad guys will only obtain smart guns if they steal them). The solution is not yet at hand.

            The problem is that the people who should be supporting research into how to make guns work when they should, and not work when they shouldn’t cannot bring themselves to even consider possible improvements (with that attitude, we would not have trigger guards, safeties, drop safeties, trigger safeties, grip safeties, trigger blocks, decockers, etc. All of which were determined needed to improve upon safe handling of the weapons, and these developments have prevented an unknowable number of accidents (who self-reports violations of the four gun rules?).

            Pro-gun people should be doing everything possible to assure the majority of the public (gun owners are a minority) that random souls possessing guns is not a threat to the general welfare. Instead, the public sees gun owners declaring, “Stuff it, I got my gun and that’s all I care about.” It is the public face that energizes to insist (to the point of “forcing”) that guns be rendered so safe as to be almost unusable.

        • Molon Labe is NOT a declaration of war. It’s a challenge. If you dislike the fact that I’m armed so much, go ahead, come and take my arms. The onus is on you. And if you come to disarm me and the other 100,000,000+ gun owners in this country we will defend ourselves. If your concern was the welfare of your fellow Americans you’d leave well enough alone. The fact that you’re not willing to leave law abiding citizens alone exposes the fact that your intentions are malicious.

          And if you think you’ve got the majority on your side, repeal the 2nd Amendment. Otherwise there’s no such thing as a ‘sensible’ unconstitutional law.

          • History tell us (recent history), that no, 100 million people will not defy the law, 100 million people will not rise up as one and throw-off the chains of serfdom. You and yours issued the challenge, Molon Labe, if ever the time comes to confiscate every firearm (an impossibility) your Molon Labe is the precipitation of bloodshed, not the law-biding majority who legally determined to confiscate what would then be illegal firearms. You have no real idea of just what people will forego in order to protect jobs, futures, financed, reputations. Again, and again….your tyrannical government already took your measure and found you lacking. Waco was a test of resolve, and the anti-government, constitutionalist crowd did nothing.

              • Not my intention. Just describing the likely outcome when the majority of the voters decide that confiscation is the least complex and least accommodating solution to gun owners. A majority of responders on this blog seem to believe that slogans and dreams of revolt will prevent any loss of “rights”, any attempt by government to enforce discipline on its citizens. If one’s answer to any discussion of how to improve safety, reduce the number of homicides by gun is “come and take it”, that is a formal invitation for the worst political elements of a society to do just that. Not my idea of the best possible outcome.

              • Actually if you want to play the long game civil war is probably the best possible outcome.
                It would settle the matter with a degree of finality.
                When a system becomes too broken the only way to fix it is to destroy it utterly and replace it.

              • My studies in law and international relations would tend to support your conclusion. Interestingly, that last civil war in this country only permanently decided secession.

                Your thoughts, while not considered polite in my circles, are certainly in sync with T. Jefferson and some of the other founders.

              • Which circles? Gun safety supporters, or Jefferson and the founders/

                Even a compliment to your comment is too difficult to withstand.

        • ‘…law-biding majority who legally determined to confiscate what would then be illegal firearms.’

          Uh… you do know that the Constitution is the highest law of the land? You and you’re imaginary ‘law-biding majority’ who you think are going to dissolve the Constitution, try it. Sure 100,000,000 won’t fight, but 50,000,000 will. Then what?

        • Majority this majority that. If you don’t properly recall history and civics, our Constitution, Bill of Rights, and form of government were put forth and designed to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Our country is not majority rules.

          • Your “rights” are subject to majority rule. Every element of the constitution can be changed through the amendment process. The second amendment can be repealed by majority vote of the states (3/4s). Prior to that, congress can pass legislation restricting your rights (and they have). When the majority of voters want increased gun safety, gun control or confiscation (or something in between), they have the right and ability to try to influence their congressional representatives to implement legislation for that purpose. If you think the second amendment hasn’t been successfully infringed (according to the definition of pro-gun advocates), then you haven’ purchased a gun in decades, have not applied for concealed carry, have not visited most schools, hospitals and city/state owned parks. Ammunition taxes have been implemented, requiring a required background check to make a purchase, or an ammo purchase identity card (like concealed carry cards, additional safety taxes on gun purchases, laws and ordinances about what you can carry, where you can carry, when you can use your firearm and where. All of this successfully accomplished without altering a word in the constitution. All these “infringements” were done with the consent of the “majority” of the citizens voting.

            • “Consent” or merely lack of opposition?

              Rape is when she doesn’t say “yes” not just when she says “no”

              • Consent, acceptance? The outcome is the same. The longer the consent, the greater the degree of acceptance, until what was unthinkable becomes the norm. The old values are eroding, the old ruling class is dying-off, the wave of new immigrants is unstoppable. Their values will become the norm. Ours is best a waiting game, but some loud elements want tomorrow today.

        • ‘The longer the consent, the greater the degree of…’

          Resentment.

          You think you’re being clever, and I’ll give you a certain degree of latitude for just being some douche on a computer. But what you’re really bragging about is a very dangerous situation. Waiting for waves of illegal immigration to change the demographics of the country so the current minority will can be imposed on the majority. Why don’t you take a look at Europe. Why don’t you stop and ponder why Trump is doing so well? Inviting a clash of cultures is a recipe for violence. Europe is ripe for genocide. Trump’s only real appeal is his outspoken views on immigration. You pretend to be concerned with people’s safety yet promote bloodshed.

          • Providing information and observation is bragging? Am I wrong that encouraging more immigration from places that don’t have old American culture or values will provide more political leverage to change the way America works? All along, I have said time is against the pro-gun supporters…and they are doing nothing about it. Why shouldn’t your opposition take advantage of your political weakness? You have ideas about what you think America should be all about, the anti-gun, “leftist”, “liberal” elements are free to have their ides…no matter how different from yours.

            If the day comes when immigrants from non-traditional sources provide the impetus for changing American culture, they will not be imposing the will of the minority on the will of the majority.

            It is not the cause or need or responsibility of people who support reasonable gun control, and a safe, kinder society to explain to people who oppose it all how to engage and persuade this new American populace to support your vision of America. That is on you. Do not complain it is unfair if you are losing by clinging to the past.

        • I believe Gov J has forgotten the reason for the first shots fired in Lexington and Concord. The tyrant of the day tried to confiscate the weapons and it didn’t turn out all that great for him. You talk about majorities and changing attitudes. In 1775 a mere 3% supported telling a tyrant to shove it.
          Your whole philosophy of the waves of immigrants going for a gun free USA is laughable. 35-40% of our new gun sales go to people who have immigrated to this country. They love the fact that the government here can’t forbid them from owing weapons. Many of these people came from places where the state controlled their lives. They will not stand by and watch it happen here anymore than those of us who love our freedoms and were born here will.

          • I think we live in a time (and will for the foreseeable future) where ballots trump bullets. Ballots can modify the way bullets are obtained and used (already happened in some towns), ballots can modify purchase and possession of guns. The demographics are not in your favor.

    • The sort of thing one does to justify not developing the internal combustion engine; it can’t be perfect today, so it will never be worth pursuing.

      Yea that is not what was said. But a delightful looking strawman. It is garbage, so we don’t want to use it today. Feel free to perfect it and we will consider it later when it’s done. When it’s done, please resist the urge to forcefully shove it down everyone’s throats.

      • As I said, pro-gun people want the rest of society to accept that leaving gun safety up to the most error-prone element in the system (people) is a rational world.

        • As I said, pro-gun people want the rest of society to accept that leaving gun safety up to the most error-prone element in the system (people) is a rational world.

          I have no problem with people having smart guns. I have no interest in them is all. Most gun owners have no interest in them either. As an electrical engineer, I have zero interest in them, currently. If one could make them so they don’t run on batteries I would be more interested, or if they were not susceptible to electromagnetic interference, or remote control, or GPS tracking, etc. In engineering, the simpler the device, the more inherently reliable. Gun owners don’t want safe guns. They want reliable guns. We are already well aware guns are not “safe” without correct practices followed. Even with a bio-metric or enabling device on the firearm – you are still leaving gun safety up to the person holding the gun. I know it’s inconvenient for you, but you can’t have gun ownership without also having this.