Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Smart Guns Are A Dumb Idea

This post is inspoired by this article:

I am amazed, in this age of product liability law, that any company is willing to sell this product. Take a look at this product from a different point of view. It is not that Armatix is promising that the gun is safe, rather, they are promising that the gun will ALWAYS fire if the owner needs the gun to fire, and they are also promising that the gun will never fire if the authorized owner is not holding the gun in proximity to the watch.

But we all know that electronic technology at consumer level prices is notoriously unreliable, or at least not reliable enough to make the claim that the gun WILL ALWAYS operate correctly. First, all electronics runs on batteries. Are the batteries rechargable? How long does a battery last? Does the gun notify you of a low battery condition? All electronics operate only within a certain temperature range. What is the allowed range for the gun? How does the electronics interact with the mechanics of the gun to prevent firing? Can this mechanical interlink be defeated, allowing the gun to be fired by anyone?

My guess is that the answer to my last question is "YES".

Hence, as I see it, this gun is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Perhaps this is real reason why we have not seen prototypes coming out from REAL gun companies like Smith & Wesson, Sturm & Ruger, or Colt. Perhaps they fear lawsuits marketing a product that truly is a solution in search of a problem.

I am not against this type of technology. But I am not going to pay a premium for a product that I believe would be cumbersome to use, unreliable, and is available only in .22LR, from a company that has no history of firearms design and manufacture. Check out their web site. They offer only one gun for sale, and they offer no literature that would help answer the questions I asked above. Sorry, no thanks.

If this technology is ever proven to work reliably, with electronic security that I can control (my own encryption keys and signature) and only adds about $50 to the price of the gun, then I might consider buying it. Afterall, cell phone lock technology is making cell phone theft a losing proposition. Perhaps the best result of this technology would be to make firearm theft a losing proposition as well. In terms of injuries due to accidental/negligent discharges I think gun safes and firearms safety training are cheaper and better solutions.

Now, as for laws mandating this technology, and eliminating legacy firearms? I'll fight them tooth and nail, but I fully expect this to be an added requirement to the DOJ Roster in California by our wise and benevolent legislators in Sacramento.