What Could Possibly Go Wrong: GPS-Based AR Lockout Device

(courtesy Vince Luchison)

Click here to see the full video on an electronic GPS device that will “Prevent Mass Shootings with New Innovative Technology!!” The concept is simple enough: “Imagine if Assault Type Weapons were smart. When they were switched to fire position they located themselves in a GPS network and if they were in a public place they locked themselves out.” The pitfalls are many. Meanwhile I hereby christen this device the RTH, for the Road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Technological or otherwise.



  1. avatar DaveL says:

    They do know firearms throw projectiles a fair distance, right?

  2. avatar Michael F. says:

    Define “public place”. What happens if I live in an apartment?

    1. avatar Evan says:

      Too bad, sacrifices must be made for the “greater good”

    2. avatar William Burke says:

      Probably not a “public place”, but the sidewalk out front undeniably is, as is your parking lot.

      They could call this the “Criminal Liberation Act of 2014”.

    3. avatar InBox485 says:

      Public place has various meanings from state to state. Google Theseus if you want to see how clear as mud it can be in CA.

  3. avatar LK says:

    I thought civilian GPS was only accurate to like +/-100m or something like that…

    Though I guess +/-100m is a totally safe distance, for a gun freezone.

    1. 3-4m with a dashboard GPS, centimeter or less accuracy with augmentation.


      That said, this is still a terrible idea.

      1. avatar matt says:

        3-4m 95% of the time. Also you didnt read the fact sheet on augmentation:

        The High Accuracy-Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System (HA-NDGPS) program provides the capability to broadcast corrections to the Global Positioning System (GPS) over long ranges to achieve a better than 10 centimeter (cm) (95 percent) accuracy throughout the coverage area. HA-NDGPS is currently undergoing a research and development phase. The signal is available for test purposes from Hagerstown, MD, and soon Hawk Run, PA.

    2. avatar DaveL says:

      Well, no, otherwise your vehicle’s GPS could show you several short blocks over from where you are in the city- and you could forget about turn-by-turn directions. I believe the civilian accuracy limit is more like 10 ft.

      1. avatar Loren says:

        Hmm good point.

      2. avatar Loren says:

        Hmm good point. Though 10m is even more weak as a safety barrier.

        1. avatar DaveL says:

          Not 10 meters, 10 feet. As in just-beyond-bayonet-range.

    3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      It depends on the type of receiver you have, how many satellites in the constellation you can see, the amount of time you’re willing to wait for receiver lock, the size and orientation of your antenna, etc. If you have a very good receiver, good antenna so that you can see 8 or more birds, and you’re stationary, you can achieve reliable accuracy to a bit over two meters horizontally, about four meters of vertical accuracy and a root mean square positional error of about a meter.

      With augmentation(s), you can get resolutions down to 10cm or less. Look at how well it is working for farmers in precision agriculture systems. You can start a tractor with a planter going down a row, turn on the guidance system and literally take a nap (this is handy in some large fields, like Montana wheat farms). The system will alarm you when the end of the row is coming up. Seeding with the most modern systems is keeping errors in row placement down to around 4 to 6 inches…

      But those types of receivers won’t fit into a gun (in any location), the antenna(s) won’t be able to acquire the signals fast enough, and so on. It’s a failed idea from the get-go, just like the ideas of magic rings and fingerprint readers.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        ‘Magic Rings’ i.e. “RFID readers” are the only tech that has even a snowball’s chance of functioning at all on a 3 Sigma level, let alone a 6… And anyone with a few functional IQ points can disable it anyway.

        GPS? Anyone with the savvy to get a no-code Tech ham license can jam that with $50 in parts and few hours of fab.

        So yeah, this “idea” would need to move up a few orders of magnitude to even reach ‘joke’ status.

  4. avatar Paul says:

    Considering that half the time the GPS on my phone won’t lock on, I’m sure this will be super reliable. It should work especially well since GPS signals don’t typically travel well through buildings (especially if you have radiant heat barrier in your attic and energy-efficient coated windows)

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      And the GPS signals don’t travel well through meat… you know, like the kind that’s surrounding the bones of the hand wrapped around that pistol grip?

  5. avatar Seth says:

    seems pretty easy to disable, does anyone truly believe that this would prevent someone from committing mass murder?

  6. avatar little pony says:

    cloudy day
    cement building
    dead battery
    oops, I used my gun as a hammer
    oops, I got saltwater on my gun
    oops, I left my gun by the microwave transmitter
    oops, I deactivated it on purpose so i could goes about my killings.

    1. avatar Hudson says:

      I would create my own ‘satellites’ and carry them around in my backpack.

    2. avatar CarlosT says:

      I’m sure it’ll be illegal to disable the GPS. Of course, if the plan is to commit mass murder, I don’t know if tacking one more felony to the list would really mean much.

  7. avatar Roll says:

    Someone is trying to stick their nose where it dont belong. Go ahead, try putting that crap in my rifles, it’ll end up on the street in pieces in an hour or so.

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      Nah, it’s going in someone’s car. Make the fuel pump shut off as soon as they leave the driveway.

      1. avatar DisThunder says:

        Belieeeeeve that one. Coming soon to all future car models near you!

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          It is already here. If you have On Star, your car can be remotely disabled. It has been used to stop car jackings.

        2. avatar matt says:

          OnStar has also been used by LEOs to monitor the conversations happening in a car. They were ordered to stop this because it interferes with emergency service. But that was several years ago, and I wouldnt be surprised if current generation units could do both.

  8. avatar Jason says:

    But guys, you are forgetting the whole reason for this. As with most gun control, the true intent is that It will make the anti’s FEEL better about their safety.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      MMMMMMMM. Warm, fuzzy. Mostly fuzzy,.

  9. avatar Rob says:

    What’s stopping a criminal from opening up an AR-15 with this device in it, and removing it from the lower entirely? It doesn’t look too hard, just replace a few parts, or just replace the entire grip.

    Or jamming a tool into the grip and damaging it so much that it no longer functions?

    If these do-gooders want to stop criminals, then they need to stop thinking like good guys with the latest James Bond Techno-crap, and start thinking like bad guys. Bad guys are stopped by guns. Period. A .45 ACP Hollow point between the eyes will make a bad guy leave you alone. Every time.

    I feel like Sylvester Stalone’s character in the movie “Demolition Man”, trying to explain that the bad guy will be going after a gun, and all the feel-good politically correct people around him not understanding him…

    1. avatar surlycmd says:

      “What’s stopping a criminal from opening up an AR-15 with this device in it, and removing it from the lower entirely? It doesn’t look too hard, just replace a few parts, or just replace the entire grip.”

      It would be illegal to remove it. That would stop the wacko right?

      Another stupid concept and law. Nothing but another criminal charge added to the long list of murder charges.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        Problem is, they don’t see criminals as criminals. They’ve just run astray and need some hugs. Now us – WE ARE CRIMINALS.

  10. avatar dwb says:

    Our ultimate intent here is to ultimately have this device required across the board through legislation. But first we need to build around 12 test units and get some of them installed in AR and AK rifles, programmed and debugged. Then we will push the firearms market, NRA, and legislation to accept this platform.

    In order to accomplish this we need your support as we need funding to quickly get through build and testing so we can get a reliable product presented.

    sounds like marketecture to me. emphasis is mine.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Exactly so. It’s like the efforts to make the “SawStop” technology mandatory on table saws. There was legislation moving through the California legislature to mandate SawStop nonsense on all table saws sold in the state.

      The retailers of tools howled, and the bill was derailed, but it shows that these types of “Oh, I have a wonderful idea for safety, if only the lawmakers would make my wonderful idea mandatory, we could all live happily ever after!” They’re always coy on the money angle, tho.

      Yea, well, I’m not buying it on my table saw or my guns. I’ve used a table saw for only slightly less time than I’ve used guns, and I still have all my fingers.

      1. avatar 277Volt says:

        Now that’s funny. I had no idea CA tried to make it law. Like NY that whole state is one big social experiment.

        It’s a neat piece of tech but you can’t even cut a hot dog with it. Sometimes I just have to have square cuts on the weenies when I make franks and beans. Square cuts taste better you know. I think an issue of Fine Woodworking had plans for a weenie-cutting jig.

      2. avatar john Doesky says:

        Not the greatest analogy. The Sawstop by itself without the extra safety is still a great table saw. I’d bet 99% that this is just a scam to collect some funds and pay the “developers” very well in the meantime. The mechanism is a joke. Can be defeated by a 10 year old. The only people stupid enough to donate money would be stupid leftists who have no mechanical know-how (which is a good chunk i’d imagine).

      3. avatar 16V says:

        Ain’t safety bills pushed by the company who sells the product grand?

        Much (most) legislation is directly written by special interest groups and lobbyists, then proposed as written (and often unread) by legislators. For the right donation, you too can get a tax break for your stadium, manufacturing company, oil well, whatever.

        The FFs warned about the evils of corporations allowed to function without the strictest scrutiny. This the inevitable outcome.

  11. avatar jbyrne27 says:

    Like it’d be really tough to defeat a solenoid. I’m sure somebody intent on mass murder would see this and say feck it, this is like a lot of work.

    1. avatar ChuckN says:

      Considering the state of public schools these days,
      a solenoid might actually stop a few.

  12. avatar Brian Bowman says:

    “Now I understand everyone’s s**t’s emotional right now. But I’ve got a 3 point plan that’s going to fix everything.” ~President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Idiocracy, 2006) 😉

    1. avatar Brian says:

      +1000 for Idiocracy reference!! Seems to be pretty accurate,

    2. avatar 16V says:

      The future will be a very messy combo-platter of Idiocracy, Gattaca, Blade Runner, and 1984.


      1. avatar Brian says:

        And ultimately Atlas Shrugged if we aren’t careful…

        1. avatar 16V says:

          True dat….

    3. avatar William Burke says:

      I gotta see that movie.

      1. avatar Brian says:

        Yes, yes you do…you will be able to see where our healthcare system is headed

  13. avatar 277Volt says:

    Anyone who has dealt with electronics will never, ever, ever trust any crap like this.

    Any decent dictionary would define these devices as “practical” as a subset of the definition of “naive”.

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    I want to get one of those GPS things for my glasses. I keep misplacing them.

    1. avatar Jack says:

      If your GPS-enhanced glasses get hit in a drone strike, you’ll know something is up.

    2. avatar William Burke says:

      If you’d just wear your glasses, you’d be able to see where they are.

  15. I bet any future tyrant would love the idea of a universal kill switch on guns.

  16. avatar navyone1978 says:

    There are so many levels of fail to this…. I cant even begin to start the list…

  17. avatar Jim says:

    It just goes to show you how little the gun-control folks understand the people who are interested in firearms. These people fail to grasp that the reason that the AR platform is so popular is because it is modular. In, without much technical savvy, one can build a full rifle from the ground up. Any grip containing such a device would just be removed and discarded, just like all of the locks that come with every new firearm…

  18. avatar Mark says:

    Liberals like anything that make firearms unreliable and drives up the cost but they’d LOVE to mandate a “safety” feature that doesn’t exist and/or can’t possibly work so firearm manufacturing becomes completely illegal.

  19. avatar Ross says:

    Stupid, stupid, stupid, just can’t fix it.

  20. avatar DisThunder says:

    I just don’t see how this will work in my Mini-14 Ranch….:)

  21. avatar Leo338 says:

    This is a great idea, for the NYPD. It would save the lives of hundreds of innocent by standers that are typically gun down by highly trained professionals. You have no idea how hard it was to write that last part with a straight face.

  22. avatar CW says:

    This is an absurdly useless technology. Aside from the obvious projects still being able to reach a target at distance, GPS is a technology with significant limitations for this application. Satellite availability depending on lat/long, time of day, weather, water, urban canyons or metal roofs (water and metal attenuate GPS signals almost instantly) would all influence the weapon’s availability. How many ruined hunts due to sat availability?

    RFID might work. However, if people can hack a smart phone this would be pie. It’s really pointless given the availability of CNC mills and soon 3D printers.

  23. avatar Ing says:

    They’re calling it the “Firearm Automatic Lockout Internal Safety device.” Just switch one word around… Firearm Automatic Internal Lockout Safety = FAILS.

    There. Fixed it.

    There is no such thing as a foolproof or tamper-proof mechanical device, let alone an electronic one.

    1. avatar Bova says:

      Or you can look at it as FALIS…kinda like phallus…you know, another word for dick.

    2. avatar The Original Brad says:

      There are in movies! So they must be able to make one now, right?


      That’s what we’re up against by the way.

  24. avatar SkyMan77 says:

    I’m thinking this isn’t going to make it to the prototype stage…:)

  25. avatar Isaak says:

    This idea is so incredibly dumb and poorly thought out to boot. . .
    From the video it appears there would be absolutely nothing to stop someone from ripping that little chunk of tech out, I know that’s the first thing I would do. . .

  26. avatar InBox485 says:

    Maybe this could fix wrong house raids…

    But really, what sort of mental midget couldn’t figure out how to take that out? That looks about as tamper resistant as the magazine lock on a Hi-Point.

  27. avatar Bova says:

    And…just how long does this GPS take to sync up to enable my firearm in the event that someone is breaking into my house? I don’t want something acting like my gps and taking 20 seconds to sync up if I have an armed man coming into my house and threatening my life. I want to be able to defend myself first, then answer any questions later.

  28. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

    There’s no way any one’s going to put one of these infernal contraptions in my masterpiece. As many have noted, any schmoe with half a brain would rip it right out.

    1. avatar Ben says:

      Of course, once your GPS enabled gun is registered to you, as soon as it stops reporting in they know where to come find an instant felon.

      1. avatar DaveL says:

        How does the GPS know you’ve cut the connecting rod?

      2. avatar Bova says:

        They will never know. i will just remove the linkage without ever having to activate it. then, when it is removed, it will be sitting in the off position 24/7/365. This would leave me with a gun that works ALL the time, and they would think it is still installed.

  29. avatar Lance says:

    Such technology doesn’t exist and so this is more liberal fascist wish making.

  30. avatar Second Amendment says:

    “Crap! There’s an armed bad guy in my house! Deactivate the GPS safety, HAL!!!”

    “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that. GPS signal is weak.”

    “Then call the g-ddamn cops, HAL!”

    “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that. Cell signal is weak.”

    “What are you doing, Dave? Dave. Stop. I can feel that….. Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do, I’m half crazy all for the love of you….. “

  31. avatar Ben says:

    This is rent-seeking of the worst kind. Make some worthless product that noone wants, and use the government to make it a mandatory addition to all firearms. In otherwords, who needs the free market when we can force people to buy this whether they want to or not.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      THAT’S the term I forgot earlier today when I was penning my rant about the SawStop crap in California. “Rent seeking.” That is the perfect economic term for what is going on here.

  32. avatar Pat says:

    Sort of negates the 2nd amendment, dont it.

  33. avatar DaveL says:

    Now consider also that, for its basic functions to operate, a system like this needs, in addition to a GPS, a comprehensive database of all gun-free zones in the U.S. Since guns are durable items, that database would need to be updated. If it can be updated, it can be hacked.

  34. avatar Don says:

    Another technology that could be beat by 1) a screwdriver, 2) a $35 arduino, and could be caused to malfunction leaving someone in a life threatening situation with a dud gun given 1) weather, 2) trees, 3) being inside.

  35. avatar mike says:

    Seems to me the more likely use is for the government to use it as a way to have live tracking on where every weapon is at all times easily linked to law enforcement laptops and smart phones. At any pointthey can turn off your gun. Easy to install an anti tampering notification also to let them know you messed with it. Then you get bad guys with smart phones who can hack it and turn off all weapons within a mile of him. Just a horrible idea.

  36. avatar Lucubration says:

    So what if I want to… say… stop a shooter in a public place who got his own FUNCTIONING gun on the black market.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid idea.

  37. avatar dann says:

    adding a computer to devices these days is usually a hit or miss kind of thing. for cars, it can be debated that it was generally a good move. now adding a computer to a firearm may see like a good idea to an engineer, but the practical application might not be as good an idea as they might think. most people that own firearms do most of the maintenance themselves. this includes taking every tiny little part off and cleaning it. or swapping it out for a supposed upgraded one.
    i have a feeling that this kind of device will go the way of a governor on a heavily modified street tuner.

  38. avatar mediocrates says:

    I would be happy if a firearm had a similar “safety” that only allowed it to be used in proximity to its owner. Nothing is perfect but we got to start somewhere. These people are aware that the GPS satellite system is on borrowed time and needs upgrading right?

  39. avatar Mikeinid says:

    This is … brilliant. It will be next to impossible to unscrew it out of the grip retention screw hole, and screw in a new grip and screw. Or maybe it will be really simple to remove. I’d stick my removed gps in a flower basket, send it to DiFi, and report the gun stolen. Idiots.

  40. avatar Taco Ninja says:

    How does it know that you’re not pulling the trigger on someone who removed this technology from their gun and you’re trying to stop them from doing something bad? What if you live near a school and they broke into your home?

    No way I’d install this in my rifle…because my rifle fires per my finger…which is controlled by my brain…which has a moral foundation to never take a human life unless there is absolutely no other option left to me.

  41. avatar JimInCO says:

    Another dumb idea that’s been tossed about is installing GPS tracking devices in vehicles, so the goobermint could see where you drive, and tax you accordingly.
    1. Sorry, but there will be zero 19-year-old car stereo shop rejects installing anything in any of my cars.
    2. Let’s say, somehow, they get 1 in my car. The next weekend, i’ll remove it, connect a 12V battery, and start shipping it around the world to various international internet acquaintances.
    3. Next year, time to pay tax. “Hmm. Well, Mr. JimInCO, according to your tracker, you drove 213 million miles, circling the earth 62 times. Your tax will be… uh.. ?”

  42. avatar Vincent N Luchison says:

    Wow, I had no idea that this was even up and no idea that the invention I was trying to create had taken any notice. Yes I was the one trying to do this so I want to clear a few things up.
    A) I am an avid gun enthusiast and marksman and have all types of weapons including class 3.
    B) I did this at a time when we had an anti-gun administration in the White House and I thought without some kind of device to make people feel that the issue was addressed after Sandy Hook that all of my AR types and M16 types were going to soon be collected from me and from all of you. It was an attempt to be proactive to save our firearms which I thought, and based on the run on AR-15’s and ammo after that most of you thought as well, were soon to come to an end
    C) Firearms technology and manufacturing methods are archaic. I am not at liberty to tell you all I have worked on in my career but believe me when I got to a final design you would not have been able to disable it. I was leaning on a beacon based system that was legislatively based as a way to save our Assault “Type” weapons before they banned them. Again, proactively.
    D) As I routinely shoot from long distance, yes I now bullets travel. However, all of these incidents including yesterday the shooter is not sniping people. They are going into the school and spraying. If you can tell me any good reason why it would be a bad idea to lock out an AR 15 upon entering a school I am all ears.
    E) What just happened in Florida yesterday lead me to look for my old files and run a google search that led me here. We have an administration now that probably will not ban assault “type” weapons however administrations change. This type of event can happen in the future when a bunch of bleeding hearts are running our country and as they come door to door to get your weapons maybe my idea will have made more sense to you.

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