Are Smart Guns The Smartest Way To Protect Yourself?


Will A Smart Gun Replace Your .40-Caliber Glock?

Smart guns have been a hovering possibility since the Clinton administration. More than twenty years later, the idea still hasn't taken off. As fast as technology moves through our culture, evolving everything in its wake, guns have more or less avoided being affected by the 'Internet of Things.' That hasn't stopped developments, however, as renewed attention is being aimed at smart gun companies in the wake of rampant shootings within the past year.

Big players in the smart gun game include Armatix iP1 pistol and TriggerSmart, both RFID-based guns that require a tag or accessory to be in close proximity to the handheld for it to be unlocked. Intelligun, designed by a company based in Utah, requires fingerprint identification to function. Yardarm, another smart gun developer based in San Francisco, pings owners if and when their guns are moved or handled when they're away.

SEE ALSO: Best Guns For Home Security

The Case For Smart Guns

One big motivator for those in favor of smart guns is the idea that more gun personalization can decrease gun violence. "The (U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) reports that a quarter of its criminal gun trafficking involves stolen guns," said San Francisco police chief Greg Suhrat a press conference held by the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation. The conference, spearheaded by Silicon Valley figurehead, Ron Conway,launched a $4 million challenge to inspire further developments in smart gun innovation.

What's Stopping Smart Guns

Naysayers, however, aren't too keen on the idea that guns can be made safer with technology. One of the biggest concerns regarding smart guns is reliability. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 44 percent of those polls consider the technology surrounding smart guns not reliable enough. This side of the argument is plagued with skepticism: if our iPhones can malfunction, how can we expect our smart guns not to do the same?

Pro-gunners are also concerned that the further development of smart guns might infringe on Second Amendment freedoms. The first store to sell smart guns (specifically the Armatix iP1) in the U.S., Oak Tree Club in California, was met with negative online backlash from the pro-gun communityThe Washington Post reported, "The protests are fueled by worry that being able to purchase the iP1 will trigger a New Jersey law mandating that all handguns in the state be personalized within three years of a smart gun going on sale anywhere in the United States." Following the uproar, Oak Tree Club has since denied ever selling Armatix products.

SEE ALSO: Why You’re at Risk Without Safe Gun Storage

Who Wants To Buy A Smart Gun?

One of the biggest roadblocks to a future with more smart guns is simply an issue of demand—nobody really wants one. While Conway and developers remain optimistic about the market for smart guns, both gun control and gun rights advocates take issue with these customized firearms. With the high cost of a smart gun, setting consumers back approximately $1,500, more than double the amount of a regular gun(the average cost of a .40-caliber glock is $600), it's hard to say that smart guns are what's in store for the future of protecting ourselves.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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