The Most Useless Gun Patent I Have Ever Read

    I read many gun patents and gun patent applications each week. I have seen many patents describing useless gun-related inventions but Patent Application US 2014/0173960 Al has got to be the worst I have ever seen. The patent application was filed on December 26, 2012, just days after the Sandy Hook tragedy.

    The patent application title is  “Methods and Systems for Detecting a Gun and/or Bullet Within One’s Vicinity Via an Electronic Device and Connecting to a Social Network”. It works as follows …

    1. An “electronic beacon non-removably incorporated within the weapon and/or the projectile
    2. The beacon can communicate with a smartphone when the gun is loaded. This alerts anyone in the vicinity that a loaded gun is nearby.
    3. The beacon communicates the bullet trajectory to a smartphone when the gun is fired.  The trajectory is calculated using the GPS in the cell phone and an accelerometer/compass in the gun.
    4. The smartphone runs an app which then published the bullet trajectory on Facebook and alerts anyone in the flight path that they might be hit.
    Have you ever read such nonsense? They propose we embed a radio transmitter into every single gun and every single bullet, in such a way that they cannot be removed or tampered with and that the batteries never run dry. Even if this was possible, it could be easily bypassed by wrapping the gun in aluminum foil and so blocking the radio beacon. It would also require everyone’s smartphone to be fitted with a receiver (they authors also say it could be embedded inside TVs and laptops). Now imagine what happens when someone loads their shotgun and chambers a round before locking it in the safe … the entire neighborhood could be alerted and no doubt the police would be called to investigate.
    fig 16
    Aside from its absurdity, the patent application is also notable for how well written it is. The inventors, a New York electrical engineer turned intellectual property attorney and a New York-based Director of R&D for a chemical company, spent a lot of time crafting its elegant prose. In paragraph [0012] the authors philosophize about the nature of man …
    throughout history violence has plagued the human race. Since ancient times the strong have preyed on the weak and the meek. We have passed laws to protect society, but the violence continues. Laws attempt to change human behavior, but laws are not able to change human nature. Laws are not enough to protect people from aggression. Inventions and innovations, however, may supplement laws in order to keep dangerous or violent people in our society in check.

    Now excuse me while I go patent a “Radio Wave Blocking Gun Holster And/Or Protective Case”. I could be rich!

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!