An Armatix brilliant gun, which is implanted with an digital chip that permits it to be fired finest if the shooter is donning a watch that communicates with it by way of a radio signal. Michael Dalder / Reuters After each and every mass taking photographs in contemporary old previous, including the Parkland, Florida, high college taking photographs on Feb. 14 that left 17 dead, people birth talking about “smart weapons,” and besides the fact that these extreme-tech firearms may be a solution to The USA’ gun violence epidemic.Smart weapons, whose embedded expertise ensures simplest licensed consumers can hearth them, have been circular for nearly two decades, and a 2016 survey found that nearly 60% of Americans, if they’ve been purchasing a fresh handgun, would have an hobby in a practical firearm. But due commonly to political power from gun rights proponents and an absence of funding in their constructing, some of in all likelihood essentially the most promising brilliant gun expertise isn't even on the market inside the US, or continues to be finest in prototype variety.There aren’t many sensible weapons to make a option from. Major US gun producers seem cautious of developing or advertising sensible weapons, and with trigger. After Colt and Smith & Wesson, two simple US gun producers, agreed in 2000 to create govt-sponsored sensible weapons to avoid unintended shootings and gun deaths, a boycott from gun condominium homeowners nearly drove them out of enterprise. On March 6, Smith & Wesson advised shareholders it hasn’t invested in brilliant gun expertise and has no plans to.Colt and Smith & Wesson did not instantly reply to request for commentary. Armatix Meanwhile, the finest all-in-one brilliant gun device within the market is the Armatix iP1 Pistol, a semiautomatic weapon developed through the use of a German enterprise that’s designed to fireplace finest when it’s inside a ten-inch latitude of a paired RFID watch. It’s only available for purchase foreign places, and it’s costly at $1,798 ($1,399 for gun and $399 for watch) compared to similar pistols, which typically cost between $250 and $1,000. Researchers have moreover validated that it’s achievable to hack the gun. iGun Expertise The iGun is equivalent to the iP1 in that its radio expertise makes use of a wearable — in iGun’s case, a ring — with an exceptionally-low-frequency chip internal. Within 1 / 4 of a 2nd, the gun sends an indication to the ring, verifies that it’s the relevant ring, and unlocks the gun, which is then capable of hearth. It become first developed nearly 20 years during the past, but it’s still finest in prototype variety.And the $400 Intelligun through the use of Kodiak Industries lets you lock and release a gun together with your fingerprint, the method you’d open an iPhone. But the add-on device has significant obstacles: It have to be put in, and it actually works finest with a Model 1911 pistol.The opposition Colt and Smith & Wesson encountered isn’t irregular. While gun rights advocates aren’t in opposition t sensible weapons, per se, many fear govt intervention may in the future preclude gun condominium homeowners’ ability to buy and use average weapons. Kodiak Industries Dudley Brown, the president of the Countrywide Affiliation for Gun Rights, told BuzzFeed Counsel in an email, “As long since it’s not govt-mandated, in any components, we shouldn’t have any objection to new technology introduced into firearms. We would strenuously object to any and all efforts to require it, though.”The Country wide Rifle Affiliation failed to reply to assorted requests for commentary, but on its web site, took the identical stance: “The NRA doesn’t oppose the constructing of “‘smart’ guns, nor the potential of Americans to voluntarily buy them. However, NRA opposes any law prohibiting Americans from purchasing or possessing firearms that don’t possess ‘smart’ gun expertise.”Gun owners moreover be concerned about sensible weapons’ limitations. Timmy Oh, CEO of VARA, a enterprise engaged on a biometric firearm blanketed, told BuzzFeed Counsel he moreover helps the introduction of sensible weapons, but wouldn’t buy one himself. “Guns need to work each and every time, and I’m not comfy with inserting my existence dependency on [smart guns] yet,” said Oh.Further complicating the issue is the question of sensible weapons’ efficacy.With the exception of Sandy Hook, where the shooter used his mother’s weapons, most latest sensible weapons or prototypes shouldn’t have been capable to stop modern mass shootings. That’s because of most shooters in contemporary old previous owned their weapons. Of the 143 weapons possessed through the use of mass shooters as a result of the undeniable fact that 1982, 75% were obtained legally.Determining the competencies of sensible weapons to cut again taking photographs homicides is more superior. There isn’t plenty public counsel on what number of of weapons utilized in firearm-related homicides inside the US were legally received. Only a small fraction of the weapons involved in gun crimes are recovered, so in most cases, it’s complex to verify how exactly the weapons were acquired.However, two smaller-scale studies screen that almost all weapons used in criminal assaults had been illegally received. A 2008 town-level study on crime in Pittsburgh revealed that just about all firearms utilized in gun crimes have been now now not owned through the use of the perpetrator, and a 2015 survey of inmates in Chicago found that forty% of them received their weapons on the black market or through the use of theft.So whereas present brilliant gun expertise would now now not have prevented the Parkland taking photographs, there’s proof it may well cut again self-inflicted and unintended gun violence and, potentially, gun-related homicides.Margot Hirsch, president of the Brilliant Tech Challenges Foundation, which bucks gun insurance policy technology initiatives, told BuzzFeed Counsel, “Personalized gun protection utilized sciences will not address every element [of gun violence], but they do existing a promising reply to evade early life suicides and unintended accidents and deaths, the majority of which occur because of a early life has used a pal’s gun.”A 2018 study that checked out gun counsel from 2012 to 2014 found that 5,790 US children, on general, receive medical treatment for gun wounds each and every yr, and about 21% of those cases are unintentional.And brilliant weapons might boost on latest low-tech gun insurance policy options, including flawed trigger locks, which require a key or combination to release. “The situation with these [locks] is that there is a probable for firing at the same time as you’re unlocking it, and unintended triggers are common,” Oh cited. Attendees view the “Wall of Weapons” during the 2013 NRA Annual Assembly And divulges on May 4, 2013, in Houston, Texas. Justin Sullivan / Getty Photos One class of brilliant gun that takes the issue of mass taking photographs head-on is called gUNarmed. It uses area monitoring to evade a firearm from getting utilized in public areas, like colleges and govt constructions. While nascent, the nonetheless-developing expertise is one extreme-tech reply that may someday help evade mass shootings.“The device I’m developing is wonderful. It focuses now now not on the grownup, but areas,” said Chloe Eco-friendly, the Northern Virginia–based, 17-year-old roboticist in the back of gUNarmed. The gadget may even be retrofitted with any gun that makes use of magazines, like the semiautomatic AR-15 rifle utilized in Parkland. This diagram suggests how gUNarmed may work. When the microchip receives satellite counsel that the gun is in a banned zone, the microchip-powered spring follower is blocked, preventing bullets from entering into the chamber. Courtesy of Chloe Eco-friendly The notion of a gun with area-based expertise that renders it pointless in a banned zone can additionally now now not sit well with many gun condominium homeowners who want to be capable to make use of their firearms on-demand. Green isn’t deterred: “I want to work with gun condominium homeowners to provide them the choice to make The us safer.”However, for gUNarmed to be basically beneficial, the area tracking expertise would need to be right and unspoofable, something Eco-friendly is engaged on, using a deliver from the Brilliant Tech Challenges Foundation. gUNarmed would moreover need general adoption to successfully evade mass shootings in colleges, which would likely require a govt mandate — something gun condominium homeowners would doubtless oppose. As with almost the rest that may possibly exchange the recognition quo on weapons Within the U.s., smart weapons are completely politicized. A controversial govt mandate meant to promote their constructing is counterintuitively one of the most the reason why you may’t buy one inside the US.The New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law, passed in 2002, requires that once a practical gun is sold wherever within the nation (even open air Of fresh Jersey), all New Jersey gun shops need to, within three years, only carry sensible weapons.Because the law restricts what guns americans can and can’t buy, even if finest in New Jersey, guns rights supporters nationwide vehemently oppose it.The law backfired, making sensible weapons controversial for gun retailers pondering advertising them. In Maryland in 2014, for illustration, when Andy Raymond, the proprietor of the Engage Armament gun save, said he’d elevate the Armatix iP1 brilliant handgun, he purchased so many loss of life threats from gun condominium homeowners that he eventually backed down.Eugene Volokh, a professor on the UCLA college of law, told BuzzFeed Counsel the 2002 law is a significant element influencing whether brilliant guns will also be sold inside the US. “Instead of each cheering sensible weapons as a fresh expertise that helps gun condominium homeowners, [gun proponents] see brilliant gun expertise as a hazard. And it’s not simplest a phantom hazard, but a real hazard. If sensible weapons are developed, that will trigger the gun preclude that gun rights enthusiasts be concerned about, at least in New Jersey and maybe in diverse locations,” he cited.It moreover deals gun producers a criminal disincentive to developing sensible weapons, Volokh cited. “If they do [make smart guns], then they’ll get tremendous opposition from one crucial part of their market — gun rights enthusiasts — that can additionally overcome the benefit they get.”This 12 months, this law’s have an effect on on brilliant gun availability inside the US might exchange. On Feb. 28, in the wake of the Parkland taking photographs, the New Jersey state legislature debated seven new gun law prices. Among them is A1016, which, if surpassed, requires New Jersey gun shops to elevate “at least one customized handgun,” rather than only personalized handguns.In a statement emailed to BuzzFeed Counsel, current governor Phil Murphy’s press officer Dan Bryan hinted at ebook: “Governor Murphy helps efforts to promote brilliant gun technology and ensure that sensible weapons are an option For fresh Jerseyans.” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Spencer Platt / Getty Photos But youngsters the new amendment is vastly a whole lot much less restrictive than the 2002 bill, it’s nonetheless a mandate, and seems to already be gathering opposition from gun rights proponents. On besides the fact that he’d ebook the new bill, NAGR’s president cited, “Absolutely now now not. By helping this guidelines we might be approving the very conception that the state can inform the private enterprise what gadgets it should existing.” The NRA failed to reply to a request for commentary.Beyond this controversial law, those constructing brilliant gun expertise need additional funding to take their initiatives to market.Professor Volokh believes that gun producers, especially new ones that don’t have an existing purchaser base to alienate, have remarkable incentives to boost or put funds into brilliant gun expertise. “Gun producers face a rare situation. … A up thus far handgun will work well for many decades, and in all probability for lots of of years. Gun producers will get no extra enterprise from a typical satisfied purchaser — again, setting aside collectors and other enthusiasts,” Volokh cited.Additionally, according to Volokh, whoever patents this type of expertise “could promote billions of dollars' worth of weapons inside the span of simplest just a couple of years, as many hundreds and hundreds of gun homeowners make a call to enrich to the safer fashions.”But gun condominium homeowners’ fears of govt mandates on sensible weapons complicates such constructing — and apart from they’re assuaged, it can additionally be a extremely lengthy time earlier than somebody can also buy a practical gun inside the US. LINK: Like A Fitbit, But For A Cop’s Gun LINK: Video: People Verify A Area-Tracking Gun

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An Armatix smart gun, which is implanted with an electronic chip that allows it to be fired only if the shooter is wearing a watch that communicates with it through a radio signal.

Michael Dalder / Reuters

After every mass shooting in recent history, including the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting on Feb. 14 that left 17 dead, people start talking about “smart guns," and whether these high-tech firearms could be a solution to the United States’ gun violence epidemic.

Smart guns, whose embedded technology ensures only authorized users can fire them, have been around for nearly two decades, and a 2016 survey found that nearly 60% of Americans, if they were buying a new handgun, would be interested in a smart firearm. But due largely to political pressure from gun rights proponents and a lack of investment in their development, some of the most promising smart gun technology isn't even for sale in the US, or is still only in prototype form.

There aren’t many smart guns to choose from. Major US gun manufacturers seem wary of developing or selling smart guns, and with reason. After Colt and Smith & Wesson, two major US gun manufacturers, agreed in 2000 to create government-sponsored smart guns to prevent accidental shootings and gun deaths, a boycott from gun owners nearly drove them out of business. On March 6, Smith & Wesson told shareholders it hasn’t invested in smart gun technology and has no plans to.

Colt and Smith & Wesson did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Armatix

Meanwhile, the only all-in-one smart gun system on the market is the Armatix iP1 Pistol, a semiautomatic weapon developed by a German company that’s designed to fire only when it’s within a 10-inch range of a paired RFID watch. It’s only available for purchase abroad, and it’s pricey at $1,798 ($1,399 for gun and $399 for watch) compared to similar pistols, which typically cost between $250 and $1,000. Researchers have also demonstrated that it’s possible to hack the gun.

iGun Technology

The iGun is similar to the iP1 in that its radio technology uses a wearable — in iGun’s case, a ring — with an ultra-low-frequency chip inside. Within a quarter of a second, the gun sends a signal to the ring, verifies that it’s the correct ring, and unlocks the gun, which is then ready to fire. It was first developed nearly 20 years ago, but it’s still only in prototype form.

And the $400 Intelligun by Kodiak Industries lets you lock and unlock a gun with your fingerprint, the way you’d open an iPhone. But the add-on device has significant limitations: It has to be installed, and it works only with a Model 1911 pistol.

The opposition Colt and Smith & Wesson encountered isn’t unusual. While gun rights advocates aren’t against smart guns, per se, many fear government intervention could one day limit gun owners’ ability to buy and use traditional guns.

Kodiak Industries

Dudley Brown, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights, told BuzzFeed News in an email, “As long as it’s not government-mandated, in any manner, we have no objection to new technology added into firearms. We would strenuously object to any and all efforts to require it, though.”

The National Rifle Association did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but on its website, took a similar stance: “The NRA doesn’t oppose the development of “‘smart’ guns, nor the ability of Americans to voluntarily acquire them. However, NRA opposes any law prohibiting Americans from acquiring or possessing firearms that don’t possess ‘smart’ gun technology.”

Gun owners also worry about smart guns’ limitations. Timmy Oh, CEO of VARA, a company working on a biometric firearm safe, told BuzzFeed News he also supports the creation of smart guns, but wouldn’t buy one himself. “Guns need to work every single time, and I’m not comfortable with putting my life dependency on [smart guns] yet,” said Oh.

Further complicating the issue is the question of smart guns’ efficacy.

With the exception of Sandy Hook, where the shooter used his mother’s guns, most existing smart guns or prototypes would not have been able to stop recent mass shootings. That’s because most shooters in recent history owned their weapons. Of the 143 guns possessed by mass shooters since 1982, 75% were obtained legally.

Determining the potential of smart guns to reduce shooting homicides is more complicated. There isn’t much public data on what percentage of guns used in firearm-related homicides in the US were legally obtained. Only a small fraction of the weapons involved in gun crimes are recovered, so in most cases, it’s difficult to determine how exactly the weapons were acquired.

However, two smaller-scale studies show that most guns used in criminal assaults were illegally obtained. A 2008 city-level study on crime in Pittsburgh revealed that most firearms used in gun crimes were not owned by the perpetrator, and a 2015 survey of inmates in Chicago found that 40% of them obtained their guns on the black market or by theft.

So while current smart gun technology would not have prevented the Parkland shooting, there’s evidence it could reduce self-inflicted and accidental gun violence and, potentially, gun-related homicides.

Margot Hirsch, president of the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation, which funds gun safety technology projects, told BuzzFeed News, “Personalized gun safety technologies will not address every facet [of gun violence], but they do offer a promising solution to prevent youth suicides and accidental injuries and deaths, the majority of which occur because a youth has used a family member’s gun.”

A 2018 study that looked at gun data from 2012 to 2014 found that 5,790 US children, on average, receive medical treatment for gun wounds every year, and about 21% of those cases are unintentional.

And smart guns could improve on existing low-tech gun safety options, including flawed trigger locks, which require a key or combination to unlock. “The problem with these [locks] is that there is a potential for firing while you’re unlocking it, and accidental triggers are common,” Oh said.

Attendees view the "Wall of Guns" during the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits on May 4, 2013, in Houston, Texas.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

One type of smart gun that takes the issue of mass shooting head-on is called gUNarmed. It uses location tracking to prevent a firearm from being used in public places, like schools and government buildings. While nascent, the still-developing technology is one high-tech solution that could someday help prevent mass shootings.

“The system I’m developing is unique. It focuses not on the person, but places,” said Chloe Green, the Northern Virginia–based, 17-year-old roboticist behind gUNarmed. The device can be retrofitted with any gun that uses magazines, like the semiautomatic AR-15 rifle used in Parkland.

This diagram shows how gUNarmed could work. When the microchip receives satellite data that the gun is in a banned zone, the microchip-powered spring follower is blocked, preventing bullets from moving into the chamber.

Courtesy of Chloe Green

The idea of a gun with location-based technology that renders it useless in a banned zone may not sit well with many gun owners who want to be able to use their firearms on-demand. Green isn’t deterred: “I want to work with gun owners to give them the choice to make America safer."

However, for gUNarmed to be truly effective, the location tracking technology would need to be accurate and unspoofable, something Green is working on, using a grant from the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation. gUNarmed would also need widespread adoption to successfully prevent mass shootings in schools, which would likely require a government mandate — something gun owners would probably oppose.

As with almost anything that could possibly change the status quo on guns in America, smart guns are highly politicized. A controversial government mandate meant to promote their development is counterintuitively one of the reasons why you can’t buy one in the US.

The New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law, passed in 2002, requires that once a smart gun is sold anywhere in the country (even outside of New Jersey), all New Jersey gun shops must, within three years, only carry smart guns.

Because the law restricts what guns people can and can’t buy, even if only in New Jersey, guns rights supporters nationwide vehemently oppose it.

The law backfired, making smart guns controversial for gun retailers thinking about selling them. In Maryland in 2014, for example, when Andy Raymond, the owner of the Engage Armament gun shop, said he’d carry the Armatix iP1 smart handgun, he received so many death threats from gun owners that he eventually backed down.

Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA school of law, told BuzzFeed News the 2002 law is a significant factor influencing whether smart guns will be sold in the US. “Instead of either cheering smart guns as a new technology that helps gun owners, [gun proponents] see smart gun technology as a threat. And it’s not just a phantom threat, but a real threat. If smart guns are developed, that will lead to the gun restriction that gun rights enthusiasts worry about, at least in New Jersey and maybe elsewhere,” he said.

It also gives gun manufacturers a legal disincentive to developing smart guns, Volokh said. “If they do [make smart guns], then they’ll get huge opposition from one important part of their market — gun rights enthusiasts — that may overcome the benefit they get.”

This year, this law’s influence on smart gun availability in the US could change. On Feb. 28, in the wake of the Parkland shooting, the New Jersey state legislature debated seven new gun law bills. Among them is A1016, which, if passed, requires New Jersey gun shops to carry “at least one personalized handgun,” rather than only personalized handguns.

In a statement emailed to BuzzFeed News, current governor Phil Murphy’s press officer Dan Bryan hinted at support: “Governor Murphy supports efforts to promote smart gun technology and ensure that smart guns are an option for New Jerseyans.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

But even though the new amendment is significantly less restrictive than the 2002 bill, it’s still a mandate, and seems to already be gathering opposition from gun rights proponents. On whether he’d support the new bill, NAGR’s president said, “Absolutely not. By supporting this legislation we would be approving the very concept that the state can tell the private business what products it should offer.” The NRA did not respond to a request for comment.

Beyond this controversial law, those developing smart gun technology need additional funding to take their projects to market.

Professor Volokh believes that gun manufacturers, especially new ones that don’t have an existing customer base to alienate, have strong incentives to develop or invest in smart gun technology. “Gun manufacturers face a rare problem. ... A modern handgun will work well for many decades, and perhaps for centuries. Gun manufacturers will get no extra business from a typical satisfied customer — again, setting aside collectors and other enthusiasts,” Volokh said.

Additionally, according to Volokh, whoever patents this kind of technology “could sell billions of dollars' worth of guns in the span of only a few years, as many millions of gun owners decide to upgrade to the safer versions.”

But gun owners’ fears of government mandates on smart guns complicates such development — and until they’re assuaged, it may be a long time before someone can even buy a smart gun in the US.

LINK: Like A Fitbit, But For A Cop’s Gun

LINK: Video: People Test A Location-Tracking Gun



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