'Smart Gun' Only Fires if Owner Pulls Trigger

Dennis Faas's picture

An entrepreneur says he has a response to the intensifying debate about gun control in the US. He says that by utilizing innovative computer technology, he can ensure that only the rightful owner of a weapon can fire it.

The technology requires a radio chip in the handle of the gun. The gun's owner would wear a corresponding chip, in the form of a ring or a bracelet. Some observers even suggest the chip could be implanted directly into the gun owner's hand.

Robert McNamara, who owns the company TriggerSmart, patented this radio chip technology last spring.

Smart Gun Tech Not New

Of course, "smart gun" technology isn't new. Previous smart gun designs have been very similar to McNamara's patent. However, most of these designs have failed to get past the prototype phase.

To date, the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has spent millions of dollars in federal and state funding trying to achieve a working prototype of a grip-recognizing gun that can demonstrate a success rate of 99 per cent. (Source: computerworld.com)

If such a "smart" firearm did make its way to the market, it could dramatically change the need for gun laws in the state of New Jersey (and everywhere else).

Back in 2002, New Jersey mandated that once a "smart" gun becomes commercially available, all gun makers selling their products in the state would have three years to incorporate the technology.

However, according to NJIT Senior Vice President of Research and Development Donald H. Sebastian, there "is no interest from gun manufacturers in commercializing it (smart gun technology-equipped firearms) and there has not been for more than a decade." (Source: yahoo.com)

Radio Frequency Tech Deemed "Fail Safe"

Interestingly, the new radio frequency technology proposed by McNamara is allegedly "fail safe."

"These systems are very reliable" noted Mark Roberti, editor of the Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) Journal. Roberti drew comparisons between McNamara's product and car keys with built-in chips designed to prevent vehicle thefts.

Roberti noted that his car keys, which use such a chip, have never failed to work properly.

Before McNamara's "smart gun" technology can used, however, TriggerSmart must respond to several pressing questions. For one thing, experts want to know how fast the trigger lock disengages after the shooter is verified (this may also determine how fast a gun can be fired).

Critics note that such unanswered questions could hinder the product's commercial appeal.

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