‘We need the iPhone of guns’: Will smart guns transform the gun industry?

Posted on February 7, 2014 by Michael S. Rosenwald –  One of California’s largest firearm stores recently added a peculiar new gun to its shelves. It requires an accessory: a black waterproof watch.

The watch’s primary purpose is not to provide accurate time, though it does. The watch makes the gun think. Electronic chips inside the gun and the watch communicate with each other. If the watch is within close reach of the gun, a light on the grip turns green. Fire away. No watch means no green light. The gun becomes a paperweight.

Firearms manufacturers use digital technology to make guns safer.

                                   Firearms manufacturers use digital technology to make guns safer.

(Armatix) – The Armatix Smart System consists of a pistol and a watch that controls gun access and use. The gun will only fire if it is within range of this watch.

A dream of gun-control advocates for decades, the Armatix iP1 is the country’s first smart gun. Its introduction is seen as a landmark in efforts to reduce gun violence, suicides and accidental shootings. Proponents compare smart guns to automobile air bags — a transformative add-on that gun owners will demand. But gun rights advocates are already balking, wondering what happens if the technology fails just as an intruder breaks in.

James Mitchell, the “extremely pro-gun” owner of the Oak Tree Gun Club, north of Los Angeles, isn’t one of the skeptics. His club’s firearms shop is the only outlet in the country selling the iP1. “It could revolutionize the gun industry,” Mitchell declared.

The implications of the iP1’s introduction are potentially enormous, both politically and economically. (And culturally — the gun that reads James Bond’s palm print in “Skyfall” is no longer a futuristic plot twist.)

Lawmakers around the country have been intrigued by the possibilities. New Jersey passed a hotly contested law in 2002 requiring that only smart guns be sold in the state within three years of a smart gun being sold anywhere in the country. A similar measure made it through the California Senate last year, and at the federal level, Rep. John F. Tierney(D-Mass.) also has introduced a mandate. …

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