Discussions about smart guns have been underway for some time now and has, in recent years, been actively pursued by a handful of tech companies. In fact, Jonathon Mossberg who is indeed part of the almost 100-year-old O.F. Mossberg and Sons company, started his own smart gun research a few years ago. His company, iGun Technology Corporation, first set its sights on shotguns. Their idea was to use magnetic spectrum token technology which works much like RFID. The 12-gauge shotgun was designed to fire only within a certain range of the token which was, in this case, a ring meant to be worn on the shooter’s trigger hand. In 2013 the National Institute of Justice called the gun “the first personalized firearm to go beyond a prototype to an actual commercializable or production-ready product.” And, of course, Jonathon Mossberg is not the only one involved in the smart gun race.
There are multiple companies working on their own versions of a smart gun. The idea behind smart guns is that the gun must have some kind of safety feature that is somehow keyed to a specific user and will not fire at all for anyone unauthorized. This means the use of RFID or similar proximity tokens, magnetic rings, and other locking mechanisms. It also means these smart guns would require a power source of some sort.
Just this week Obama announced that part of his coming executive orders will cover requiring the Department of Defense, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security to “conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.” He gave those departments three months in which to come up with a game plan to “expedite” the creation and implementation of smart gun technology.
An interesting piece on Tech Crunch by Jon Stokes recently took a look at the ins and outs of smart guns:
“Not only is it impossible to produce a smart gun that gun buyers will actually purchase in large numbers, but even if the technological hurdles could be overcome, the results are sure to drastically disappoint everyone who has been looking to these weapons as some sort of silver bullet that can end gun violence.
In fact, many of the popular smart gun ideas that have been proposed could actually make us all less safe.”
Disclaimer: We here at TFB strive to give readers content that is politics-free. This specific topic is relevant far beyond political machinations of any kind due to the fact that it involves the function and usability of firearms in general.