smart gun
Douglas Weiss, who works on the "smart gun" project at Sandia National Laboratories, holds a "smart gun" prototype and a computer chip in his Albuquerque, N.M., office Friday, March 31, 1995. The gun uses technology that recognizes the gun's owner and prevents anyone else from firing the weapon. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)

By Larry Keane

President Joe Biden said he’s figured it all out. Guns can be made safe if the firearm industry would just team up with Silicon Valley to create bio-enabled so-called “smart guns.”

This is according to a long-buried interview with the Las Vegas Sun conducted during the presidential campaign. The information contained in it is just now coming to light and some of the findings might show why. President Biden, as a candidate, was making outlandish pie-in-the-sky claims about theoretical, unproven and unreliable firearm technology.

President Biden claimed, according to this interview, “I also dealt with the folks in Silicon Valley; we have the capacity now to build any weapon where it can only be fired with your biometric marker. And that technology doesn’t violate anyone’s Second Amendment right at all. If you pass the background check, you can purchase a weapon which only you can pull the trigger.”

Smart Gun’s Failing Grade

He’s right on one count. As vice president, he did deal with tech leaders to attempt combining authorized-user, or so-called “smart gun” technology into firearms. It didn’t work. It didn’t get to the point where it could even be properly tested.

Then-Vice President Biden was in charge of an Obama administration task force to come up with gun control answers. One was to pursue so-called “smart gun” tech through the National Institutes of Justice.

Officials there couldn’t even test a prototype because nothing was developed to the point where a safe and reliable product incorporating such a capability was available on the marketplace today. It still isn’t.

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)

In 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Earl Griffith, chief of the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division said the technology still wasn’t there. “Some critics out there would say we have the technology and it would work, but I’ll tell you we don’t think the technology is there yet,” Griffith said.

That was after the U.S. government sunk at least $12.6 million in research to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to work with the tech industry to produce a working solution. It still eludes, but that doesn’t keep President Biden from dreaming.

Campaign Promises

Early on in the presidential campaign, President Biden claimed, “… we have the capacity now in a James Bond-style to make sure no one can pull a trigger unless their DNA and fingerprint is on it.” That’s some serious science-fiction fantasy technology. It makes for a good movie. In real life, it’s clumsy and failure prone at best and impossible at worst.

Joe Biden
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The president’s campaign trail claim of DNA-enabled smart guns is completely false. No one has introduced technology that would match a DNA sample to activate a firearm. However, attempts have been made at fingerprint-style authorized user-technology.

Think of the way a fingerprint is used to open a smartphone. Now, think of all the times a smartphone won’t open when a fingerprint is applied. A little wet, not the right angle, dirty, God-forbid bloody… all these can cause a failure of the fingerprint lock to not activate the technology.

In a life-or-death situation when an individual is under duress and trying to activate the tool that would save their lives, swiping a fingerprint screen is the last concern. If your iPhone doesn’t open, you’re inconvenienced. If your firearm doesn’t work at the moment you need it you could be dead. That’s why study and survey work on this topic show that reliability is of paramount concernBecause the technology is not yet sufficiently reliable, there is very limited consumer interest in purchasing authorized-user equipped firearms.

Unwanted Mandate

Just five percent of those surveyed said they would consider purchasing a gun equipped with this technology. A full 70 percent said they had reliability concerns. They should.

Firearms are more than just recreational target shooting tools. They’re also self-defense tools and in a life-or-death moment, they must work each and every time as intended. There is no room for a second attempt at a fingerprint match or battery failure.

SMARTGUNZ 9mm pistol. From smartgunz.co

Let me be explicitly clear, contrary to the false claims of gun control groups the firearm industry does not oppose the research and potential development of this technology being applied to firearms. Consumers are best left to decide what they want and the free market does a good job of weeding out bad ideas so good ones flourish.

What NSSF strongly opposes, however, is the mandate of such technology, like what has recently been proposed by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). She introduced H.R. 1008, legislation that would mandate that every gun sold within five years be equipped with the unworkable technology. It goes further. It also would require all legacy firearms be retrofitted within 10 years. That’s sure to go over well with collectors.

The firearm industry also has serious concerns about product liability. Even the DOJ’s researchers agree that any so-called “smart gun” technology has to be as reliable as present-day technology. There’s no room for failure. That’s what good engineering does – it eliminates points of failure. This is a particularly important concept for tools that are used to defend innocent lives.

Forcing manufacturers to adopt this unproven and unreliable technology exposes them to lawsuits when it fails, and it will. It also exposes them to allegations that models that previously didn’t incorporate “smart gun” technology are potentially “defectively designed.”

Product reliability will be demonstrated when the government adopts this technology for the firearms used by the Department of Defense or federal, state and local law enforcement. So far, however, none have stepped up eager to slap a microchip and fingerprint reader in the side of a service firearm.

The National Fraternal Order of Police warned that police officers should not be used as guinea pigs. Not a single police department has adopted and mandated their use. It is an anathema on the battlefield where a soldier could be left defenseless if he or she couldn’t pick up a gun in a firefight to defend themselves and others. It’s easy to understand why. The technology isn’t reliable and if it is electronic, it is vulnerable to hacking or denial of service.

This is what gun control advocates won’t admit. There’s nothing that they promise can be done through so-called smart gun technology that’s not already available by less expensive and more reliable means.

The solution to ending unauthorized use of firearms is properly applied gun locks. That can be as simple as the cable locking device that comes with the firearm, which the firearm industry has provided in the gun case when they’re sold at retail. There are other options too, like trigger locks, lock boxes or safes.

President Biden and his collaborators in Silicon Valley should take a drive through the rest of America. Americans prefer their elected officials to be a little smarter and their firearms to be left alone.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

54 COMMENTS

      • It’s smart if their goal is civilian disarmament. Their goal is to fool a majority of people in to thinking this is about making guns safer. Even intelligent gun owners get fooled in to thinking that these are “stupid Dems” who don’t know anything about guns. Us sitting here making comments about “smart guns and dumb politicians” means they are achieving their goal… They know how to take YOUR guns away and they are doing it. They are fooling a majority of people in to going along with it. Don’t be fooled.

      • What? Politicians taking advantage of insider trading? Never… I means when’s the the last time you saw pelousi, fiendstein, occasional-cortex, or schluser tried for insider trading? Obviously they have to be the paragons of virtue they claim be.
        Btw this is sarcasm. Now excuse me I almost threw up writing that last sentence.

        • If it’s programmable, It can be hacked! That’s not a theory, but the factual truth. Even if this somehow came to be accepted, a whole cottage industry of Hacks would arise.
          I wouldn’t buy a firearm the government could theoretically remotely deactivate, and I doubt anyone else would either.
          Because I’ve no doubt that our government would have that capability engineered into the gun. GOP or Dem, I wouldn’t trust any of the 20 lbs of Shite in a 10 lb bag.

      • A truly smart gun guides the bullet to my intended target, even if the barrel isn’t quite aligned to it when the gun is fired.

    • You know what I’m not interested in? Having Facebook, Twitter, and the democrats (but I repeat myself) #cancel my ability to defend myself just like they are #cancelling free speech. Imagine it – you say something that falls afoul of the prevailing leftist orthodoxy, and suddenly your “smart” gun is switched off. No 2nd amendment for you, apostate!

  1. Jim Crow Gun Control joe the bozo whose answer to women confronted by a criminal was…Stand on a balcony with a side by side and fire both barrels in the air. Well joe criminals have eyes and can count to 2 and know your shotgun is empty. Only an idiot would empty their weapon with warning shots.

    I do not need any dumbass democRat or pasty mouth dorm room guy putting their spin on firearms. When I pick up any firearm I want it fully capable of going bang. And as for you joe…You are a commander in thief stinking up America.

    • But what if you’ve got a double barrel in each hand? ” I know what your thinking. Did I shoot 3 warning shots or was it four, well, do you feel lucky punk”

  2. I got caught tackdriving while drunk, now I have to blow in the barrel to get it started, and my gunm insurance went way up.
    Technology is a bitch.

  3. Once they mandate this unreliable technology, an EMP would render all thus equipped guns as worthless rocks. Also, what are the odds that the technology would incorporate a backdoor allowing government to electronically render inoperative all guns thus equipped. DUH…who woulda thunk government would do such a thing???

  4. Smart Gun laws are magical thinking technology mandates. Anybody with an iPhone can tell you that Blue Tooth, fingerprint recognition, and face recognition are not technologies to bet your life on. Those technologies simply aren’t ready for mission critical use.

    I would love to have a gun that works for me 100% of the time, and me alone 100% of the time. Maybe some day that will happen. If our esteemed legislators would simply leave us alone, let the innovators innovate, and let the market decide what works, we may eventually get there. When that happens, smart gun technology will be as commonplace as transfer bars on revolvers and firing pin blocks on semiautomatic pistols. But mandating the use of technology before it is ready for use is self-defeating.

    • Besides which, there is no REASON to require any such thing, and REQUIRING such a thing is prohibited by the Constitution. Anyone who believes all these proposed laws are not “infringements” is either a moron or lying.

      • It’s not your money, nor is it even really money. The “power” of debt has gone infinite. If it’s anything at all, it’s probably our grandchildren’s children’s future lack of prosperity.

  5. There’s a joke about the current mania for “smart everything” and the Internet Of Things.

    Tech Enthusiasts: “Everything in my house is connected! I can turn my kitchen faucet on from my phone!”

    Programmers & Engineers: “My most high-tech appliance is a toaster from 2004, and I keep a loaded gun handy in case it tries anything funny.”

    Cybersecurity Experts: “I live in a hut, made of sticks.”

    • There’s wisdom in that. After a career in software, I live in a 100 year old building. I use a 1929 GE Hotpoint stove and a 1946 GE refrigerator.

    • I worked for software companies for ten years as a programmer and project manager. Software is one of the biggest scams in history, right up there with leftist politics. If any other company released bug-ridden products as often as software companies did, they’d be sued into oblivion. Security is the BIGGEST hole in software. The only way to keep your computer safe is to unplug it from the Internet.

  6. “Smart” guns will be just as awful as “smart” phones.

    The solution is “smart” citizens. But the Left gave up on that idea decades ago. Just look at the state of public schools.

  7. Integrated circuits in firearms. Right. No backdoors, no hackable access. No tracking that you didn’t know about. Maybe some chips will be designed and made by CCP-owned companies. Maybe by some left-leaning, gun-hating IC designers. All good. Nothing can possibly go wrong.

    I have worked for integrated circuit design and fab. Pretty deep into it. I’ve been a programmer and a systems analyst. Now, I manage large scale IT projects.

    We have ‘smart phones’ and laptop PCs in our house; all carefully configured for privacy.

    I would not own a gun with an integrated circuit. Most folk, I will wager, feel the same way. Smart guns are only the nose of the camel.

    You do not want that camel in your tent.

  8. Just a side thought, I never lock my phone (if someone tries to steal it I’ll just shoot them) but if your phone is locked will it still call 911? Because I’d be OK with a gun that relies on technology at the range as long as it works just fine without technology in an emergency.

  9. Ya know how about MILLIONS of us shove a middle finger up the gubmints proverbial butt?!? Like the legions of drug dealer’s who are never caught…asking for a friend😏

  10. WHEW THA COMMENTS . NEED MICRO CHIP TO MAKE PEOPLE SMARTER , UUUH ?
    THE GLOVE THING PIC , IF HAVE SWITCH HANDS , MIID OF NIGHT GETTING GLOVE ON ,
    WAKIE UP , AND , OOOO WAIT THUG INTRUDER I HAVE TO PUT MY GLOVE ON . DUUAAA .

  11. Remember this whole ‘smart gun’ shenanigans came from a damn movie…

    When it comes to choosing a firearm for protection, people usually want what the police have. Because its field tested and proven. Very rarely does this go the other way.

    If the police aren’t willing to field test this, its BAD.

  12. The last round of supposedly ‘smart guns’ were defeated by a guy with a magnet.

    Criminal steals ‘smart gun’, criminal disassembles ‘smart gun’, criminal removes tech, and criminal now has ‘smarter gun’.

    People will find a way.

  13. Well I’ve come up with a better plan.
    Biodegradable gun powder. After one month its useless, you just take it back to the authorized ammo supplier, turn in your unused worthless ammo then pay a small( cough)reinstatement fee , fill out the required forms wait for the universal back ground check and your good for another month. Reloaders are fcked, but oh well somebody’s got to pay the price of crime, might as well be them.
    After about 60 years all the hoarded up dumb ammo will be gone. Ulp run into a snag on that. Okay pass a LAW, you have to turn in all your dumb ammo, if it’s not got the trackable microchip implanted in the ammo box then its presmart and you go to jail. ” So okay, I’ll just swap bullets from one box to the other.” No because the bullets got a number that matches the box and if it doesn’t you go to jail.
    Most certainly this is going to cost the consumer out the ass but Freedom is not free.

    • For a long time it has made me chuckle when you comment like this.

      Being that your name is both a marsupial varmint and the first person, present form of “to be able” in Latin. The “I am able” Marsupial seems like it should be Rocket’s [second?] sidekick in Guardians.

  14. Suggested testing protocol for the smart gun technology. Tester #1 hands his personal smart gun to #2 tester. Tester #2 places gun against #1 Democrat’s head and attempts to fire gun til failure. Bring on Democrat #2. Repeat til all guns tested and Democrats deleted Let’s see how pro smart gun they really are.

  15. He’s flat out lying about having the capacity to instantly match DNA. There is no instant DNA test on the market or close to market.

  16. Referring to the first picture: Removing the cylinder from a revolver should make it very smart & safe from firing. Looks like the boy still ruined a pristine TT, TH, pre-keylock, pinned barrel, short action hammer with firing pin, 4″ N-Frame. Today the grips alone that he ruined are worth more than that boy made in a week. Bad idea in 1995 and bad idea now.

  17. This is all smoke and mirrors to try and hide their true agenda of a total gun ban and future confiscation. Dictatorship 101 – Control the guns, control the people.

  18. Since you don’t need magic powers to make a gun their plan is a non starter. And any retrofit can be reversed.

    This is just a ploy to make law abiding gun owners into criminals for non compliance. The costs to owning a gun will be high, the legal bar will end up even higher, while once again the criminal element ignores it all.

  19. I wish the government would give me a nice lab decked out out with HP and Tektronix gear and a nice salary to work on nothing that will produce tangible results ever.

    Where do you sign up for that kind of gig?

  20. President Biden claimed, “… we have the capacity now in a James Bond-style to make sure no one can pull a trigger unless their DNA and fingerprint is on it.” That’s some serious science-fiction fantasy technology. It makes for a good movie. In real life, it’s clumsy and failure prone at best and impossible at worst.

    And I am sure that all the criminals out there will rush to have their weapons converted for safe operation; Thes people and those who go along with their ideas are just crazy.

    • They are not crazy. Never underestimate the enemy. They are sly, smart, and cunning. They are successfully taking away our Freedoms, Rights, and Liberties…..our America. They are just trying to protect their Socialist/Libtard asses from American Patriots getting fed up with politicians’ and implementing the Second Amendment for what our Founding Fathers envisioned.

  21. I wonder if they might try to put chips in knives next?

    Baseball bats? Hammers? Pens? Duct tape? Shovels? Axes? Rope?

    After all, I have seen people killed with all these objects in movies…. 🙂

  22. You didn’t have the right caption under Biden’s photo. It should be either
    “And it was THIS long,”
    or
    “My head was sooo big, it felt like it would explode.”
    As for his actual remarks, he has already demonstrated he is completely stupid, — especially about guns.
    My question not addressed in this article: What about those of us who TEACH firearms, firearm SAFETY, and defensive shooting? If “smart” guns are used, that looks like it would completely stop the ability to teach. New students generally use “our” guns to learn. If they have to buy their own guns before taking a class, it is very likely going to be the wrong gun.
    Hmmmm. Good citizen untrained, unsafe, and with the wrong gun, vs. bad guy with stolen gun who really doesn’t care.

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