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Thursday, March 2, 2017

"Smart Gun" Exec Agrees With NRA That Mandates are Bad

The gun ban lobby likes to blame the firearms industry and the NRA for the difficulty that so-called "smart gun" manufacturers have had getting their projects to be accepted by the market.  The fact is The NRA and the pro-rights community have no problem with advances in technology in firearms, they just don't want there to be legislative mandates that those be the only guns that can be sold and purchased, like was done in New Jersey several years ago.  The NRA is not the only group wary of such mandates, law enforcement is wary too.

Today, Bloomberg's anti-rights mouthpiece The Trace, has a story about a newer model of the Armatix "smart gun" that it hopes will ease the concerns of law enforcement.  The original model was chambered in .22.  This new model is 9MM:
The German gunmaker Armatix has built a prototype of a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, the iP9, that it says should ease concerns from law enforcement and the public at large that firearms equipped with technology that prevents unauthorized firing may be unreliable.

The gun looks like a slightly futuristic, streamlined version of the semiautomatic pistols that have been standard police sidearms for the past three decades. In addition to using a wristwatch equipped with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip that unlocks the iP9 to fire when it is within 10 inches of the weapon, shooters can activate the gun on a smartphone app, which works at a longer range than the watch (the exact proximity is still being decided) and collects data on the number of rounds fired.

The company has also turned the gun’s pistol grip into a PIN pad. Users who don’t want to rely on a watch or their phone can unlock the gun by squeezing their fingers in sequence, which will enable the weapon to be fired until the same code is re-entered to turn it off.

The new weapon is the closest any company has yet come to a personalized version of the 9mm, single most popular type of handgun in the United States, carried widely by police and civilians. The company believes the iP9’s caliber, and technological improvements, give consumers a product they can actually use — and trust.
Anyone with an IPhone or Android smartphone that utilizes the fingerprint security feature knows that it can fail in everyday use if you don't put your finger on it just right.  Now imagine if you had to do it in a life and death situation at a moments notice.  You can see why law enforcement and everyday gun owners would be wary of legislators, most of whom know nothing about firearms mandate that you must trust your life to a piece of compute technology that can fail any time.  I'm not so sure that using a PIN code would be any easier in a similar situation.  It's one thing for a reporter to demonstrate it under no stress and get it to work.  It is something else to do it under stress when a misstep could cost you your life.

According to The Trace via Al Jazeera, Armatix is hoping to overcome these fears by trying the new model out on law enforcement first to get their buy-in, hoping that the general public will follow.  One law enforcement member Al Jazeera talked to said it's a scary thought that police officers would be used as guinea pigs. Add to that the cost of the gun (the .22 model cost $1800) and you can see the technology has a long way to go before gaining acceptance of the general public.

But the most interesting part of the article came in the last line when Wolfgang Tweraser, the CEO of Armatix’s American subsidiary, he too opposes any kind of smart gun mandate:
“I agree with the NRA,” he said. “I don’t think there should be a mandate. Armatix doesn’t want to be at odds with other gun manufacturers.”
Seems even Tweraser understands the market better than the gun ban lobby and gun ban politicians.

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