Smart gun prototype
Michael Recce, associate professor of information systems at New Jersey Institute of Technology and inventor of a "smart gun" technology holds a prototype of the gun with grip recognition technology, during a news conference in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004. New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey and other Democratic elected officials gathered at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Tuesday to announce a $1.1 million federal grant in a pending federal appropriations bill to help refine what they hope will become the first commercially marketable smart gun technology. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
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Safe, reliable “smart gun” technology doesn’t exist. That’s one reason guns featuring the tech aren’t available for sale in the United States. The other reason was the longstanding New Jersey poison pill law that mandated the technology in every gun sold in the state once a gun using it was marketed anywhere in the country.

Now, however, survivors of a 2018 shooting in Toronto are suing Smith & Wesson, the maker of the stolen pistol used in the crime, for failing to equip the M&P40 pistol with “smart gun” features.

As the BBC reports,

Toronto’s Danforth Avenue shooting victims have launched a class action lawsuit against US gun maker Smith & Wesson.

A statement of claim filed in a Canadian court alleges the gunmaker was negligent for not incorporating “smart gun” technology in the firearm used in the shooting.

The proposed class action is seeking C$150m ($114m; £87m) in damages.

Two people were killed and 13 injured in the attack on 22 July, 2018.

The shooter used a Smith & Wesson M&P40 that had been stolen from a Saskatchewan gun dealer back in 2015.

The statement of claim filed at the Ontario Superior Court on Monday says Smith & Wesson had agreed to incorporate smart gun technology into its new weapons in 2003, and was aware that thousands of handguns are stolen each year.

The 40 series, introduced in 2005, did not include that technology. That includes the M&P40 semi-automatic pistol used by the shooter, Faisal Hussain. …

“[The] defendant knew the handgun was an ultra-hazardous product that posed a substantial likelihood of harm to the public,” says the statement of claim.

“In the circumstances, [the] defendant owed a duty to the Class to ensure that any handguns it made available to the Canadian market were designed and manufactured to implement technology that would prevent unauthorised users from causing the very type of harm and injury suffered by the Class members.”

What was that 2003 agreement referenced in the suit? That was the deal reached between Smith & Wesson and the Clinton Justice Department in 2000 that the administration said a the time would “fundamentally change the way guns are designed, distributed and marketed.”

The agreement committed Smith & Wesson to a variety of steps the Clintonistas claimed would reduce “gun violence,” including the following:

Two percent of annual firearms revenues will be dedicated to the development of authorized user technology that can limit a gun’s use to its proper owner. Authorized user technology will be included in all new firearm models within 36 months.

That’s the 2003 date referenced in the Canadian complaint.

The Clinton administration agreement became, in effect, moot with the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2006. That law protects gun makers from liability when their lawfully-sold products are used to commit crimes.

The PLCAA, however, doesn’t apply north of the border.

Will the fact that reliable “smart gun” technology doesn’t exist yet be a persuasive defense if and when the case comes to trial?

Watch this space.




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  1. Smith and Wesson did not perpetuate the crime, the shooter did.

    Even up north people lay the blame everywhere except the one who did the crime. I guess his estate doesn’t have enough money for them.

    • Smith & Wesson DID commit a crime–A crime against every supporter of the 2nd Amendment. They committed it when they sold out to the Clintonistas by promising to kowtow to Clinton DoJ directives in return for not getting sued. They are STILL committing the crime by STILL having the HillaryHole On/Off Key Switch on virtually every one of their revolvers, despite there being no practical reason to retain such a ‘feature’–one that not one other manufacturer sees fit to install.

      If S&W, in their panic and zeal to avoid difficulties with Government, agreed to start installing ‘Smart Gun’ technology within 36 months back in 2003, and failed to do so, then let them reap what they have sown. They made a bargain with the Devil, and now He’s come for them to collect what they owe, via a Canadian court.

      I have no pity for them.

      • There are other manufacturers that utilize the “lock” feature that S&W uses actually. Bersa and Taurus comes to mind.
        I’m not disagreeing with your sentiment, just clarifying what’s out there.

        • In reality, MANY manufacturers jumped onto the bandwagon in the early 2000s; Remington applied a ‘j-lock’ to its 700, 7, 870, and probably other long guns. Even Glock fitted a similar gadget, concealed inside the debris channel at the back of the grip frame. Ruger, bless Bill’s little Disarmist heart, also fitted a key lock to their revolvers that was hidden under the grip panels.

          NONE of those manufacturers still fits an integral key-switch on their current firearms, and demands that purchasers either buy guns fitted with them, or do without. Not one.

          Just S&W remains. “You want our revolver? Fine. You get a key lock, and you get a key lock, and YOU get a key lock.”

          If I sound just a bit like a bitter ‘scorned lover,’ that’s exactly what I am. My first new pistol was an S&W 59, first year of production (1971). Every duty gun I carried was an S&W, revolver and semi-auto both, until Glock brought out the 21. Shotgun? S&W 3000. Rifle? S&W 1500. Handcuffs, leg irons, knives? S&W.

          Those days are over.

          S&W decided to abandon me, to grovel before the Clintons, and to put an on/off switch where none was needed, despite everything that gun buyers told them–and they refuse, to this day, to take it off or make it optional. It’s like mandating training wheels on a new Harley, and making it so that they cannot be removed –‘for your safety.’

          I can stand the MIM internals, the fake barrels, the Gold-Pressed Latinum frames, and things like that; But, On/Off Key Switches? No, no, NO.

          –End of rant. Soapbox put away.

  2. Do any of these clowns ever have a thought about going after the scumbag who stole the gun and shot them with it? Oh that’s right, no money there, and it does’nt fit the narrative!

    • That would not advance gun control and Hussein the terrorist is broke. They could reconsider letting middle eastern people in without proper vetting as a cause but that offends so nope.

  3. If the law protecting manufacturers from suit doesn’t apply in Canada, why would the Clinton agreement?

    • Is a blue dress involved in the Canadian version of Clinton-era regs?

      Fortunately, most of the Canadians I know are from Alberta and B.C. and they think eastern Canadians are as batshyte crazy as U.S. progressive Liberals.

      • I think at one time Western Canada wanted to be part of the US. That’s why the trans-Canadian railroad was made. The official reason was to make it easier for vacationers to see Lake Louise and the beautiful west. (I think)

    • One could argue that S&W wasn’t spending the 2% profit towards the “smart features” they had agreements of doing, making them financially liable since they failed to fulfill that obligation agreed on. But Im not an attorney and am clueless how a seperate country can even try to sue a company across a border, unless they have some HQ in Canada. I tried to use Google and the main S&W activity in Canada appears to be done through Grech Outdoors Inc.

      • Technically the agreement does not make any reference to smart guns. Just that they can be restricted to use to the authorized user. This can be accomplished in a number of non-electronic/stupid ways. Like say a keyed lock through the action or around the trigger. You know, exactly like those operation child safe locks that are included with US pistols all the time.

        Of course even if there was a wiz bang smart gun system installed in the gun the shooter used, it wouldn’t have mattered. The gun used was stolen from a retail location. It would not yet have been initialized to lock anyone out. Even if it had been, the shooter would have just gone through the new owner initialization process to unlock the gun.

        • If those magical safety locks on S&W revolvers were capable of preventing unauthorized use by anyone but one user, that might fly. The truth is that every one of those little keys are the SAME, which means that anyone who’s ever possessed a key thus has a key to every S&W revolver. It also means that anyone with some imagination, a piece of wire, and a hammer can make a ‘key.’ You also know, of course, that once ‘unlocked,’ the gun will STAY ‘unlocked’ until it’s either ‘locked’ again or something important breaks. You also know that the removal of ONE PART from the mechanism, done in 5 minutes, negates the ‘lock’ functioning at all.

          Somehow, I don’t think that this meets the standard for an ‘exclusive’ device, do you?

      • In Commonwealth country’s courts, a foreign case can be used as a precedent if there if no local precedent to be applied. But it’s influence as binding or advisory can vary. It’s often considered to be a desperation move.

  4. I don’t want any gun I might ever own to potentially be hacked by faceless enemies from the other side of the planet!

    Too many people think that everything must be IP addressable.

    Smart gun technology is nothing more than gun registration forced onto the world that no one in the world can actually control.

    Funny how an article about Smith&Wesson use a photo of a Beretta.

    • The more technology the more chance for it to malfunction. If my hands are cold my “smart” car door handle opener won’t work.

  5. I’m suing Walmart for not implementing smart knife technology that would have saved me from being stabbed. Also suing GM for not creating smart car technology that would have saved me from being run over after being stabbed. If these companies just changed their products then people wouldn’t have tried to hurt me! Oh yeah! Baseball bats…

    • So, I can sue Bombardier, Canadian, I believe, for not putting anti-roll technology currently available on SUVs on their snowmobiles.
      I got a boo-boo when the sled rolled on a hillside at, ahem…. 60mph. Ish. In theory.

    • For bats, you need to go for the source and sue the lumber/foresty conglomerates. If you can stop the evil wood products industry, you’ll stop every conceivable crime currently performed with baseball bats. Deep pocket theory.

      And once that’s done, you can move on to the global aluminum bat murder issue the U.N. keeps pushing.

    • My wife broke her arm when she tripped on a part of a sidewalk that had lifted in Toronto.
      That’s when we discovered how sucky Canadian healthcare was. We purchased travelers insurance but they would not accept it at any of the healthcare places so, nor would they accept a credit card. So I was forced to find a bank and withdraw $500 to start treatment.
      Can I sue Toronto for lousy sidewalk maintenance?

      • You may be able to. Not sure about Canada but that stuff (falls due to dangerous paths, steps, floors) especially on private property is common to see lawsuits over. Some crooks make a career out of that. Municipalities are different though. Contact an attorney. That sucks about travel insurance. I’ve heard of people needing airlifts and other medical transport abroad having to pay thousands out of pocket. State department insurance option covers treatment abroad. Some federal workers from different departments can get it.

        • What we learned was to avoid Canadian companies who offer travelers health insurance in Canada.
          Each province has its own rules and at least back in 2015 insurance purchased from a company in BC might have difficulty being used in Quebec for instance. They were not able to get someone online to verify the insurance so they were refusing it. We did get a refund since we could prove it was not accepted.
          We were advised to buy from U.S. based companies for future trips. Which we have done since and so far have not needed to use.

  6. If Canada allowed the import of S & W arms without the tech then they approved the weapon for sale. Should be case closed!

  7. All this smart tech will probably be defeated by a bored redneck in his man cave. 80% builds won’t ever see it at all.

    • Red Green showed us the way. A little bit of duct tape and woo-la.

      That show used to come on around 2am when I was working the midnight shift.

  8. Don’t the S&W guns include the dreaded key lock? Or at least, didn’t they include a trigger lock in the box when they delivered them to the Canuck-equivalent of an FFL? If so, there’s your “authorized user” right there. Not S&W’s fault if the thief didn’t steal the trigger lock with the gun.

    • Not S&W’s fault that the shop the gun was stolen from didn’t keep a trigger lock on it either.

      This is purely an attempt to go after the people perceived to have the deepest pockets.

  9. Suing S&W for a used & stolen gun? Sounds a bit like Nancy Lanza being vilified because her evil spawn murdered her and went on it’s spree…did the the Lanza boy share the same malady with Time’s Person of the Year?!?😩

    • Yes, according to Wikipedia, they both have been diagnosed with a form of Asperger’s Syndrome. The violent outbursts are a big clue in my book.

  10. I’m all for “smart gun” technology coming on the market… after the cops and military have been using it for a decade without any oopsies.

    • I agree as long as I can have all the same arms as police and military as a regular citizen. Shall not infringe

      • I agree too, as long as there are inexpensive apps available to show the real-time location and status of every police and military firearm in the system, correlated with the name, address, and contact information of the individual person carrying and/or assigned to that firearm. Fair is fair.

        • I’ve heard of this amazing new intelligent nanotech coat hanger technology. Or there’s this cool new third hole algorithm people are trying in Minecraft.

  11. I wouldn’t want a smart anything. Hell my thousand dollar smarty phone regularly fails to identify my fingerprint 30 times in a row then “enter passcode” to open it…

    • This, and if your finger is damp or wet it will not recognize it.
      So smart guns would be safe to own in arid places.

      • “So smart guns would be safe to own in arid places.”

        That fine sand in the Middle East gets into *everything* and jams guns up…

  12. Commitment was made in 2003 and they had 36 months to fulfill the “obligation” for all new handguns. M&P 40 was new in 2005. Seems to me that the gun came out before the so called obligation was due. 10 other reasons this is bs.

    • I’m not sure the specifics of the S&W/Clinton agreement, but it seems to me that gun manufacturers put themselves in dire peril any time they concede even one inch on gun control. This concession feels like a case study in “unintended consequences” to me…

  13. Law suits are the Big Casino*. Actually, better than a casino: suits can be filed at no cost to the player. However, the alternatives (like making plaintiffs put up bonds for alleged costs of defense of the target) have their own set of unpleasant side effects.

    Suing without consequence is probably one of those unlisted rights retained by “the people”.

    * For those keeping vigilant watch for the doorkickers, it is a mere signature away to make all guns without single-user safety features illegal to own and possess. No different from making purchase of machine guns manufactured after 1986. Not a violation of 2A because you can have all the “safe” guns you want, just not “unsafe” guns (see laws in Californiication).

  14. You know what. I will probably get flack for saying this but people who sue gun companies like that should be socially ostracized and shamed. You are a terrible human being for doing such things.

    If I sued a car dealership for selling someone a car who hit my kid and killed them. I would be a bad person.

    • It’s been done. Years ago, a teenager worked part time for Pontiac dealership. He bought a used Firebird from them with his earnings. One night, he and a friend were out screwing around in the car like teenagers do. He wrecked it at over 100 mph killing his friend. The friend’s parents sued him and his family, the dealership for selling him the car and GM for making it. GM settled out of court. In my opinion, they wanted to avoid a creating a precedent that could be used by future plaintiffs.

  15. Once again progressives trying to use the courts to put gun companies out of business and will go after private firearm owners after that until there is jut too much liability to own and posses a firearm. With the right jury Smith and Wesson could lose a case like this if allowed to proceed. They will continue in their quest to disarm law abiding citizens chipping away a pebble at a time.

  16. If a drunk driver hits me I can sue Ford because my truck doesn’t have deflector shields now, right? It doesn’t matter if the technology doesn’t exist, it is that the technology could exist in my imagination.

  17. I just sued Big Beef for not growing cholesterol-free red meat.

    By the way, what is “clipping?”

  18. “What was that 2003 agreement referenced in the suit? That was the deal reached between Smith & Wesson and the Clinton Justice Department..”

    Hey Smith and Wesson! Wasn’t that a GREAT idea? It sure made you the “good guys” among the gun control crowd, didn’t it! Oh, now they’re using it a reason to sue you? So sad.

    • It should be an inviolable rule of business never to cede even the smallest modicum of money or influence to any part of the progressive machine. Its hunger for control is insatiable, and your weakness WILL come back to haunt you.

  19. The next time I’m involved in an accident, I’m suing the car manufacturers for not providing the tech to current vehicles.
    The first functioning flying car prototypes are over a half century old now.

  20. That’s just plain silly! Fine ! I just fell off my brothers mountain bike 🚲 and it didn’t have any smart safe technology! Oh wait! What about those Damn drunk drivers 🚗! THEY should have foreseen the action of others! Where’s the smart safe technology to stop drunk drivers!? Whatever! Those Canadians should just put a paper bag on their heads!

    • It’s been proposed that every motor vehicle be equipped with a breathalyzer. If you don’t blow zero, the vehicle won’t start.

    • First time I’m in a car wreck with somebody drinking plain Canadian Whiskey I’m sueing the hell out of the company for not putting smart technology in the bottle. Face it, nothing good had ever come out of Canada, has it?

  21. Hosers can’t legally carry pistols anyways eh. How often are “Prohibited Weapons Licenses” (i.e., concealable pistols, centerfire rifles) issued?

    • For prohibited firearms? Never (for ordinary people). Authorization to Carry for a restricted handgun is frequently given for trappers and surveyors who can’t carry a long gun plus their equipment (open carry, and in the wilderness). For everyone out in the boonies there are short-barreled shotguns and the like. Theoretically, there are ATCs issued so the user can conceal a handgun, but that almost never happens.

      I think the government would rather talk about the stolen handgun than talk about all that carfentanyl that the shooter’s brother managed to sneak across the border.

    • “Fuck Canada.”

      I had a Canadian girlfriend for about a year, and yeah, we certainly did… 🙂

  22. Anyone can sue anybody for anything. I’m not up on Canada law but my impression is they may be looking for some change to just go away and that isn’t it, good luck winning. I seriously doubt they can prevail.

    • “I seriously doubt they can prevail.”

      Let’s analyze that.

      Canada is where the supreme court declared a Canadian guilty of a crime that was a legal action in another country, the country where the action was conducted. That crime had to do with speech that offended some Canadians. That form of speech, was not available locally, anywhere in Canada. Only by accessing a server hosted in another country was the speech even available to Canadians. Five years later, the person at issue still has an arrest warrant open in Canada. The subject of the legal decision became an American citizen since, but is subject to arrest if he returns to Canada.

      From the episode above, would you want to put anything at risk betting on whether a Canadian citizen can prevail in court against an American company that is doing nothing illegal?

      • @ Sam I Am
        I didn’t say “I bet” they can’t prevail, I said I seriously doubt they can prevail. Like I said, anyone can sue anybody for anything. I’ve been sued because some DB thought he could be tough with me and get in my face all aggressive. I two open handed push him away from me with two hands on his chest. Then I stepped back into a fighting stance because…well martial arts training. Well guess what, the coward didn’t want to come get some. So what’s he do??? He sues me saying that when I pushed him back, he fell forward onto his knees and suffered serious physical injuries. It was total BULL SHIT. Pushing someone back causes them to fall forward??? I won the case obviously but still, as my long time “criminal defense attorney” told me, anyone can sue anybody for anything. Filing lawsuits is easy. Winning is another thing and naturally there always that odd case that someone cites as an example. Yes yes yes and we’ve all heard of that person who smoked their whole life bare ass Camel cigarettes and lived to be 102 years old.
        I say they lose the case. Stay tuned!

        • “I didn’t say “I bet” they can’t prevail,…”

          My point is the matter is being adjudicated in Canada; a left-leaning, socialist government under English law. The same England that makes self-defense a crime, and controls kitchen knives. You cannot ignore the home court advantage. I gave you a real-life example of the twisted reasoning of the Canadian Supreme Court (not sure of the actual name). Not an environment where speculation that plaintiffs in a product liability matter regarding firearms likely will not prevail is prudent.

          Yes, we shall see; manage expectations.

  23. If they lose, just raise the price on any governmental purchase of a firearm. If S&W were smart they’d “collude” with the other gun makers to do likewise. Make it so expensive that the canucks solve this problem internally.

    Hell just have trump slap a tariff on imported…whoever we import from um.

    • @Kyle:
      The collusion you are suggesting is called “price fixing,” and it is illegal in the US, even if it is to be inflicted on the Canadian Government. And, yes, “they” WOULD get caught.

  24. “The shooter used a Smith & Wesson M&P40 that had been stolen from a Saskatchewan gun dealer back in 2015.”

    Putting aside everything else that’s wrong with this story…

    Let me get this straight: These people actually believe that given three years on the black market it’s unpossible that the smart tech could have been removed from this pistol? That the tech would be so good it would would either not be possible to remove it or would take longer than three years to accomplish the task?

    Fuck mandatory service arguments, everyone should be forced to work in manufacturing for awhile.

  25. Instead of blaming their Government and them selves for letting a mister nice guy Muslim extremist obtain a gun and commit murders the lawyers want to retire off the big bucks! charge clients 30% or more! Yippee kia must have been a Government big shot too own a pistol in CanCan land!

  26. Smart guns only exist in Sci Fi movies. They will never become real. They can always test them in the police departments first. Since cops are killed with their own gun by a physically stronger suspect, quite often.
    In fact give them to female cops first.

  27. Every single day I see proof that there are human beings who are incapable of doing the kind of moral reasoning which would be necessary for a “smart gun” to actually function as it should in all circumstances. And that’s even with plenty of time to think things through. (Hours, days, months, and years after an event people still get it all wrong.)

    What these people are asking for is a god-level AI. Not only must it be smarter than humans, it must also be infallible, all-knowing, and able to react instantly in every single circumstance. Maybe we could come up with such a device a couple of years before the heat death of the universe, maybe. If that’s even possible, the cost would definitely be astronomical and it would probably be forced to enslave us stupid humans for our own good.

    • A few more BIG items to add to the EWTHeckman list.
      Must be capable of firing with gloves on.
      Must function in the non-dom hand
      Must be capable of firing with mud/blood on hands
      Must be capable of recognizing it’s being handed to a person the owner authorizes to use it in the middle of a crisis situation.
      This lawsuit should not move forward until the Canadian designers solve all these “Devils in the Details.
      Ok JC Fan Club, there you have my thoughts, enjoy yourselves and don’t forget to tip the wait staff. I’ll be here all year (2020).

  28. Origional Clinton Justice Department and S&W Agreement of Mawch 2000:

    “The agreement is the product of negotiations between HUD, the Treasury Department and local governments with Smith & Wesson that were designed to settle lawsuits already filed against Smith & Wesson and to make new ones unnecessary.”

    PLCCA became Law and the above Agreement protection became unnecessary.
    It almost put S&W out of business from buyer boycotts. Did S&W ever get that Big Gov contract Pay Day they expected for caving to the gun grabbing Gov? I dont think so.

    There is suppose to be a Agreement Oversight Commission that Reports Compliance, I can’t find other references to its actual existence nor Reports filed. We do see compliance like with internal and external locks and loaded chamber indicators. Other items died with the experation of the Assault Weapons Ban.

    Smart Guns and existing technology (then as now) can create a Smart gun that locks out unauthorized attempted use (temporarily, it can be circumvented) but the larger problem is that it can annd does fail to operate 100% of the time under contitions firearms are expose to. People/gun owners are not and never will trust nor buy a gun that is just as likely to keep them from using it in a time of emergency as it may be temporarily to criminals.

    IF and when Smart Gun technology achieves 100% of its goails and reliability: I STILL WON’T BUY OR OWN IT. Guns have fantastic longevity, decades more than any vehicle, appliance and most building structures. Even if the Gov offers a” Credit” similar to the old car gas guzzler incentives: I don’t think many people will trade down into Smart gun stupidity.

  29. So, the plaintiffs have to provide evidence that Smith & Wesson was criminally negligent and intentionally made the decision to not sell smart guns when they had the option to do so (but were not required to by law). Which means the whole case hinges on whether reliable smart gun technology exists in the first place. Which the plaintiffs will be unable to provide evidence of, because it doesn’t. And you can’t sue a company for not inventing something we don’t have the technology for.
    I don’t know if this will actually make it to court, but if it does, I’ll be amazed if it lasts an hour before it’s thrown out. I mean, people talk about how Americans are lawsuit-happy idiots, but this case is built like a house of cards in a wind tunnel. It’s going to fall apart, soon, and spectacularly.

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