TrackingPoint Patents Technique To Disable Guns Near Schools and “Gun Free Zones”

TrackingPoint’s chairman John McHale applied for a patent (#20140182179) which describes an invention that can disable the trigger of guns, such as TrackingPoint’s smart rifles, if they are within school zones (1,000 ft. of a school), on the grounds of a federal facility or on the grounds of private business that bans private firearms. The patent was filed on December 31, 2012.



The invention uses a GPS or mobile phone towers to determine location, sensors to determine orientation and a mobile/radio network connection to download a list of “gun free” locations from a central database. McHale suggests that a “Gun Free Zone” database could be maintained by the BATFE.

The TrackingPoint AR smart semi-automatic rifle.

The TrackingPoint AR smart semi-automatic rifle.

From the patent application …

The present disclosure is generally related to small arms firearms, and more particularly to location-based control of discharge of such firearms.

 In recent years, individuals have used firearms to kill or wound multiple victims in school environments, in movie theaters, and so on. Government agencies have established “gun free” zones prohibiting possession of a firearm within pre-defined areas, such as within a school zone or within government buildings. Additionally, some private companies have established “gun free” zones with respect to their business establishments. While such pre-defined areas may prevent lawful gun owners from carrying their weapons in such areas, a criminal may ignore such restrictions, carrying weapons into such zones. 

Controller 114 may include a memory configured to store a database of gun-restricted zones. Alternatively, controller 114 may retrieve gun-restricted zone information from computing device 118 or from a data source coupled to network … Controller 114 may retrieve gun-restricted zone information on startup or periodically

In general, the gun-restricted zone information may be maintained in a database. In one example, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms may maintain such a database and make the database accessible for searching. In another example, the database may maintain a list of school and government building locations and the controller may automatically calculate a distance from the perimeters of such structures to determine a gun-free or gun-restricted zone based on gun laws or other restrictions.

The full patent application can be read here on the USTPO website.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Gunhead

    Whaddya want to bet they patented it simply so they could charge outrageous fees to deter others from trying this?

    • allannon

      Here’s hoping.

    • To Tin Fung

      didnt you see the one that patented some satellite gun disabling technology that didnt even exist?

    • robert

      That’s my hope.

  • Lance

    Yet wackos will either remove the device or just get other weapons to go around this. More fascist crap from a gun banning company.

    • iksnilol

      Maybe they patented it to prevent other (less gun friendly) people rrom using it?

      Makes sense since if soneone else patented it it could be used against Trackingpoint.

      • David

        Or maybe they patented it because like some manufacturers they’re trying to appease certain government entities and could actively be working with prohibitionists.

        Frankly, the patent applications says what anyone needs to know. There are 16 mentions of the word “database” and the entire patent application is designed to facilitate “gun free zones”.

        I would say that painting the company with a brush of ‘gun banning company’ seems too far to me. Certainly the leadership do not have gun owners best interests at heart.

  • Maxpwr

    Exactly what many of us have been saying since New Jersey went down the path of “Smart Guns” 12 years ago. Admittedly, they never disagreed that their ultimate aim was to be able to disable firearms remotely. It’s not about gun control; it’s about control.

  • patrickiv

    Hopefully they want to patent this just so nobody will be able to use such a system.

    • Quite possible.

      • Giolli Joker

        If that is the case, I don’t think that having your name linked to such a “patent” is smart marketing…

      • RawDawg

        Not really, since the only people who would be taking these weapons to these areas are criminals, and criminals can’t afford these firearms. It all seems like a huge joke, every day.

        • oaking

          Dang, a gun free zone and my new, super duper gun won’t protect anyone from the derange liberal with an old gun shooting up the school.

    • To Tin Fung

      from a business or pro-gun standpoint it’s a pretty smart decision to make.

      • tt_ttf

        Actually it’s not – this will potentially trigger all manner of laws already in place around smart guns and will not make them friends in the industry – including their partner on what will presumably be their volume product

        This works with their $20K+ versions but this does not help them with their volume product which is the Remington 20/20 range which this will not work with since those are not fitted with an interlock on the trigger.

        Long term their viability is on scope retrofitted to systems already out there, and not killing that with $20K weapons with ungodly per round costs.

        If they are smart this is a blocking IP play

      • Mark

        Nope. Everyone is forced to purchase GPS enabled gun. The government then uses gps to locate and confiscate while disabling at the same time. This is is a tyrants wet dream.

        • LCON

          cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt
          If you Outlaw Catapults,, Then Only Outlaws will Have Catapults

          At the Heart of This is the Three biggest Flaws I see with Electronic Gun control.
          First is the Rarity. The Chances of a Active shooter blasting up a school or shopping mall in the US are statistically very low. Yet when it does happen its a heart strings grabber. So you have makers cooking this up Second the Cost. I mean Tracking point systems are right now really really pricy. Like California banning Barrett Rifles What criminal is going to use a $15000 Rifle? Most Gun Owners are not going to buy. It will take until maybe 2020 before the cost matches the possibility of being in demand. So How will the Bugatti Veyron of Rifles end up in a active shooter? Will Bill Gates Suddenly Snap?
          Finally Hacking. Hackers Can make A PC a Mac, Can program a XBox to play Playstation Games. The Critical Element that would lock the Smart gun is a piece of Code programed into the Weapons Fire Control system. If Magically Tomorrow Morning Every Gun in the 50 States of the United States of America Were to become Smart guns with Licensed and registered guns only able to Fire. With Stolen and Crime Guns Locked, by Dawn the next morning Hackers being paid by Gangs and Organized Crime will Unlock all the Illicit Inventory. They will Cook up a App load it on a Smart Phone and then plug it into The Tracking point Lock and Delete the lock. that’s the Reality.

          • Mikee

            Problem 4: A propane tank from a BBQ grill can be more deadly than a firearm, if you want to kill people.

            Same for pool cleaning supplies, janitorial chemicals, gasoline, insecticides, etc., etc., etc. for a whole lotta things in use every day in public and private life.

            The thing that needs controlled is the killer, not the means of killing.

        • valorius


      • Geodkyt

        No, it can be VERY smart and pro-gun — if the patent holder never manufacturers nor licenses their patent.

        Because any similar concept would be illegal, it would shortstop other attempts to do the same thing – thus keeping similar designes from even getting to market.

        The US Government cannot force Tracking Point to actually USE their patent. . .

        • billyoblivion

          It is usually fairly easy to get around a patent with trivial modifications, and then force them to take you to court where you claim the patent is either so narrowly written that it doesn’t apply, is so overbroad as to cover everything, or is “obvious”.

    • billyoblivion

      When patents expire anyone can use them.

  • Andrew

    But yet no progress has been made on a robotic penis for pedophiles that can be disabled when they get too close to a school…

    • Patrick Mingle

      that sounds more plausible

    • Gallan

      Roboballs, makes more sense, saps your sexual drive around schools or where young kids hang around.

  • derfelcadarn

    Sure now all you have to do is get the 300+ million guns in the US replaced with compatible firearms and stop the manufacture of homemade weapons. Sound ridiculous to you ? Because it is. The People will not comply and the criminal element is laughing

    • billyoblivion

      Nope. You just have to make non-“smart” guns illegal.

      See, you have the right to keep and bear *arms*, but not any specific arm.

      • Johnny Bailey

        Says THEM…… How many folks would comply with a mandate like that? Answer; even LESS than those that are NOT complying with current Connecticut and New York anti-gun laws. FOlks will LAUGH at this, and rightly so….. They can diable THIS……

  • William Baker

    The irony that they never consider is that: what if they disable a gun for being in a gun free zone, but you were trying to stop an active shooter.

    • Michael Bergeron

      Who had any of the hundreds of millions if not billions of guns made before the invention of this poorly thought out device.

  • BryanS

    So the gun wont work in urban areas….

    Have you ever looked at some towns and the “gun free zones”? Im glad that a carry license in my state nullifies that political foolishness.

  • allannon

    My thoughts: if it’s ever mandated (and you know people will try), it should be implemented by the government first. Any argument they can make against is applicable to the general citizenry.

    Second, it’ll be misused by “protesters”, by doing things like placing Stingray-like devices (cell tower spoofers, basically) near ranges, hunting land, etc. Unless it’s fail-safe (meaning, in this case, when in doubt the gun fires), in which case people would just disable the receivers anyway.

    • Porty1119

      I bet you could get an AGM-88E AARGM to home in on one of those spoofers pretty easily…

  • Easy fix: Don’t buy TrackingPoint products if they come with this kind of technology.
    One has to wonder why they would even want to patent this, though.

    • To Tin Fung

      they could have probably done it just to make sure other people can’t do it, not because they want to earn money, but to stop people from disabling guns.

      • That seems like a feasible possibility. I’d be curious to see if the company makes a statement about the patent.

  • overloadinco

    If they put a transmitter at a school, wouldn’t it deactivate all guns for people who live close to the school? I’m sure on private property, inside a house, this would be illegal. I can even see the headline: “crime soars near schools as criminals are emboldened by anti-gun broadcast”

    Also, GPS accuracy isn’t great, plus clouds and other obstructions can hurt reception.(wrap the grip with tinfoil?). Then there’s the question of what powers the GPS receiver.

    • gunslinger

      so what’ the deal with the 1000 yard safe zone then? or whatever it may be?

    • Geodkyt

      Exactly — the “1000 yard safe zones” and such DO NOT APPLY to people on their own property, nor do they apply in most places to people in vehicles on public streets, nor does the federal GFSZ act apply to anyone with a CCW (or equivalent) for the state in question.

      So the execution of this idea would violate current law and (under Heller and MacDonald) the US Constitution for MANY people. In many towns and cities, it is almost impossible to be more than 1000 yards from any school, much less all the other “prohibited” areas.

  • sianmink

    Trackingpoint, far as I know, aren’t badguys, so they may as mentioned before have other reasons for doing this.

    Like Elon Musk said, patents pretty much only exist so you can sue someone for infringement later.

  • Shane

    This is dumb.

  • Rob in Katy

    Then as a determined shooter, I would just buy a different rifle and scope system…or wrap mine in a faraday cage to keep the evil beams out of my rifle and my head…

  • ABeiruty

    A Patent would not stop others from implementing the invention. Patent only guarantee reasonable royalty fee from using the invention i.e. licensing the Patent to others. Courts can force Tracking point to license their invention to others.

  • jamezb

    Aaaaaand, true motives are revealed….

  • Anonymous

    Well, since the entire point of the TrackingPoint system is being able to make accurate first-round hits out past 1000 yards…I’m thinking the 1000 foot boundary isn’t a very useful restriction. Or they’re not very optimistic about it’s actual field capabilities. Hmmm….?

    • gunslinger


  • JT

    They just want to cover their ass in case somebody buys their gun and wants to shoot up a school and in the process, they are giving legislators ideas

    • gunslinger

      how much does a TP cost? 15k? really the choice of guns to shoot up a school? woudln’t the 600 walmart special be better?

  • gunslinger

    what if a business “illegally” bans guns. either in the parking lot (how many states say that you can bring a gun into parking lot w/o retribution from your employer) or say a coffee shop says “no guns” but they don’t have the authority to ban said guns, or don’t follow the proper procedure (sinage notification, etc) to have an enforceable ban?

    i know it’ll happen IF this ever goes anywhere. TP gets sued because they illegally blocked a gun from firing.

  • Holy smokes. Thats . . . deeply concerning.

    Have to wonder if they’re accommodating for LE officers who might have to respond to an incident at one of these locations?

  • Madcap_Magician

    Oh, good, so the next time an active shooter is looking for a $15,000 rifle that can be disabled while they’re walking into their target of choice, they’ll try and shoot it and go DRAT FOILED AGAIN.

    Or something.

  • JohnnyBGood

    It would be pretty sweet if you could designate which guns weren’t deactivated. For example, bad guy comes to my house and it’s disabled, but mine still works. This would only work in a future with no currently produced guns of course.

    • dan citizen

      I have a device that deactivates the criminals gun while leaving mine operational….

      It’s called a shotgun.

  • some_guy

    Well, the potential shooter could just jailbreak their firearm, or cover it in tin foil except the barrel and trigger.

  • Bro’ Joe

    Although I’m pro-gun, this idea won’t work. A shooter isn’t dumb enough to use one of these guns if he wants to shoot in a gun free zone. He’ll just use a regular gun.

  • Cymond

    Aside from all the ways that this could be defeated (that I won’t rehash)
    This would be really bad for police snipers responding to an active shooter situation. As others have said, TP rifles are expensive and unlikely to be used in a school shooting. A $15,000 rifle is FAR more likely to be owned by a police department.
    “on the grounds of private business that bans private firearms” And I’d bet a lot of anti-gun businesses will turn up the broadcast strength to full-power, disabling guns at a FAR longer distance than their own stores. And someone else mentioned the idea of an anti-gun organization taking one of these to a shooting range just to troll gun owners.

  • Paul Kisling

    Okay so what happens if the perp is shooting into the school from greater than 1000 feet??? 333 yards is not that great a distance.

  • Paul Kisling

    I bet we could make a fortune with a mobile jammer that disables tracking point locations within a 2-3 mile radius… Certain individuals might by them..

  • D I Genes

    Ridiculous crap.

  • dan citizen

    Future news articles:

    “5 police officers among victims of school shooter”
    “Hacker disable entire city’s arsenal, numerous deaths reported”

    • LCON

      More like: NEWS FLASH>>> Stolen “Smart”Guns thought locked by Remote Unlocked by Hackers.

      • dan citizen

        This inventor does not understand anything about how a gun functions.

        • LCON

          Not Quite, He could do it. that’s the scary bit. the Tracking point system uses a Electronic Trigger. If you were to have a Tracking point Rifle And use the system You sight in and Press the Tag button. The Tag causes the Sight to lock on the target. laze it for range and calculate the then Pull the Trigger. the Weapon does not fire until the lead calculated by the Gun and the point of impact based on alignment match at which point the trigger is engaged.
          The one exception to this is the AR models. Where it operates three modes. Mode one where the Tracking point sight acts as a red dot.
          Mode two where it operates basically like the Remington 2020 Where you sight in and tag but it’s up to you to pull the trigger on time to hit the target. and then full Tracking point. mode.
          This system can only work with a rifle mounting the full tracking point fire control system with Trigger. a retrofit like the remington 2020 would be immune

    • cargosquid

      Oh…you don’t think cops would be held to the same standard, do you? Notice how the magazine restrictions always allow cops to have the standard mags.

    • Spidouz

      “NEWS Flash: Anti-gun politicians don’t understand why criminals are still not law abiding. A new group of high government specialists are trying to figure out how criminals could murder so many victims with their non-smart guns since the introduction of the new “smart-gun only” law. Due to the emotional distress of the Moms Demand Action group, the government will propose a new law in the coming days. The President will speak to the U.N. to extend the “Gun Free Zone” beyond the US borders.”

  • Mike Sly

    So if you are going to break into my house all you need is an IT guy to fake a school zone with his computer from our front of my house?

  • Mike

    I do not understand why this should be granted a patent. It is just a geofencing application. Big deal.

  • Joe.

    How is this supposed to make people safer? If you live in San Francisco, the only place your gun would work is in small patches of Ocean Beach. So your house gets broken into and you are armed with expensive paperweights.

    • Joe.

      And I’ve held someone at gunpoint who attempted to attack me with a knife on my property. I’m 500′ crows fly from a K-12 school. These guns would have yielded my death. Instead, he turned and ran. I reholstered my firearm, went in, and grabbed a beer.

  • Ivan

    So… the next step is sneak in bad guys hideout and secretly plug in this piece of high technology in all their guns?…

  • ABeiruty

    Disable the GPS and the new security feature is disabled. You do not need GPS to shoot. If the disabled GPS, disable the trigger. Hardwire the trigger to be always enabled.

  • Bp. David

    Right–so all the low-information-voter scumbags are going to purchase Tracking Puta weapons! Or, even better–the ATF can provide them free to demented Libs (who are ALWAYS the shooters at schools and theaters) and we will have to pay for it like we did when Attorney-Genital Holder gave full autos to the Mexican drug cartels.

  • cargosquid

    So…it electronically registers your gun AND its location.
    No…no chance of government abuse here.

    And no criminal would ever buy one of these jammers if this ever became widespread.

  • Arne Boberg

    Final Rejection Mailed
    Application Type: Utility Status Date: 07-03-2014
    Examiner Name: HAYES, BRET C Location
    Just now · Like
    The patent office has a clear policy on stupid patents. I figured they would throw this one out.

  • Arne Boberg

    Patent was rejected, as expected.

  • valorius

    This is stupid beyond words.

  • 2BRKnot2B

    So, all a criminal needs do is stand near one of these gun free zones, and he can steal all the guns s/he wants. BRILLIANT! (NOT)

  • J. J.

    As someone who served 20 years in the military on various major weapons sytems and to this day is an avid shooter I cannot conmprehend of a more IDIOTIC idea.

    Only some naive geek living in a plastic bubble utopia could come up with something like this.

    Bad guys get guns and are able to shoot up whatever they want with impunity–by either using older guns or disabling the safety system. Not very hard to do.

    Good guys have their guns not work to shoot bad guys.

    Good guys need to use a gun and a glitch or navigational error or close proximity to something disables their gun.

    Governments blanketly disable guns–or maybe only “target” conservative’s guns or political dissidents.

    Gun grabbing politician tries to make mandatory and someone actually listens to him.

    Thank GOD these folks don’t work for Boeing; we’d be routinely swimming home from Asia.

  • dntmkmecomoverther

    I’m not sure a ‘disabling’ device is what’s needed. What is needed is a ‘good guy ENABLING device’. A good guy with a gun CAN deal with a bad guy with a gun. BTW, it’s pretty obvious that no criminal is going to walk in to a a disabling perimeter with one of these type of weapons. Duh. But the Fed would have you and I submit to this disabling? I don’t think so.

  • Siobhan_McCallen

    These guys are solving the wrong problem. A criminal isn’t going to buy or steal one of these to shoot up a school or Federal property. They’re going to get a nice, dumb rifle that has no automatic lockout circuitry. Even if the ONLY one they can find is the automatic lockout rifle, they’re gonna take it apart and REMOVE the lockout circuit. If they’re not smart enough to do it themselves, they’ll take it to someone who CAN. This is a pointless “feature” that only turns off the rifle owned by a law-abiding citizen.

    But even if it WOULD prevent a criminal, I wouldn’t like it, because the Feds would seize the technology under eminent domain and force it on every gun manufacturer. Then we’d have gun-free zones where no one but the criminal, who still owns his piece of crap Hi-Point, that doesn’t have fancy circuitry in it, can STILL perpetrate his crime, but now, no one can stop him even if they DO have a gun.

  • MrApple

    And what happens when the Authorities decide an entire city should be a “Gun Free Zone”? I guess the law abiding citizens will then be carrying an expensive paperweight while the thugs, and Police, on the street will have a monopoly on working firearms. This can only work out well for the common citizenry.

  • TexianPatriot

    So then the government can hijack the firearms ability to fire when ever and where ever they want. No thanks. I wouldn’t spend the money on any tracking point crap anyway but now I have a better reason than the price.

  • cwhunk

    You can’t patent an idea. Thugs can afford Any gun they want. They steal them.

  • Crowds Gather

    Oh, great! When you are confronted by those who want to harm you, you can’t and won’t know if your gun will work. And what’s to stop the government or others from ‘expanding’ the

    ‘zone’ where your gun won’t work when, if and to the extent they want?

  • Ishimo

    Who would be stupid enough to ever buy a gun that someone else could control?

  • spatcher

    Buy one of these and you are assured of never having your gun stolen. LOL


    All we need to do is mandate that all criminals must own this type of gun. Problem solved. ;D

  • laacea

    If I need to use my gun I don’t want it to be subjected to “oops” another dropped signal and now my gun won’t work but the S.O.B. in my living room sneeking around with a flashlight and his dumb gun that work just fine that he bought on a corner for $100.00 that can’t even be traced by revers engineering like a smart gun can but my new $3,500.00 smartgun has to reboot then what do you do in the mean time?…. Uhhh, hay dude can you wait a minute my new smart gun needs to reboot!

  • Howard Scho

    This is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard of. How will this have any impact on the 300 million guns already on the streets? How will this have any impact on a smart gun that the bad guy adjusts? This is just another dumber than dirt idea by someone that does not like guns and does not have the guts to admit the problem is people.

  • thatswack

    How does the same company that makes a scope that let’s nothing survive after the first shot come up with the dummest idea in the world??

  • shrgngatlas

    Oh this would be a great idea all right. LOL

  • conservative

    Stupidity at it’s finest.

  • Blorg

    The only thing worse than not having a functional gun when it’s needed, is not knowing that your gun won’t work when you need it. Will smart guns emit a chime when they’re in a disabled zone? Vibrate? Maybe they’ll send you a text saying “your firearm has been disabled. Too bad.”

  • George

    I am sure that criminals and their political enablers will push this type of technology hard. After all THEY aren’t going to buy these things. Maybe they need a rifle that will automatically target pedophiles in a school zone.

  • Paul Dragotto

    this is just a big scam. they would be able to manually disingage a gun where ever it is. stupid idea and it’s just another tool to grind down our gun rights.

  • oaking

    What a wonderful idea, now the police can designate an entire country as a gun free zone and disable ALL new weapons that have this technology – perhaps the Police should be required to carry these, I, for one, am not willing to pay the premium to have this device, ever!

  • PatHenry

    I can just see all the bad guys lining up to purchase one of these guns HAHAHA, what useless technology.

  • The bad guys will use or 3D print cheap guns and hack and disable the good guys’ guns. print

  • John

    When oh when will they come out with a device that disable a priest’s wang when it comes within 50 feet of a little boys bum-hole. WHEN???