With all of this talk about Obama pushing for more expansion on smart guns I am surprised to see very little reflection on Colt’s attempt in the 90’s, which was recently covered by NPR.
Donald Zilkha, an investment banker who was not a gun owner, bought the company in the 90’s. He had a plan to lead Colt into being the first company to producing smart guns.
While the technology and reliability was the big concern, the engineers at Colt felt they could tackle that challenge.
However, the biggest problem was one that Zilkha admits that he had not considered. “I hadn’t totally fully understood the culture.” He found out that many gun owners were skeptical of a gun that required technology to work in a life or death situation. To overcome this and to reach everyone else, Zilkha planned to demonstrate the technology for the Wall Street Journal. The tech used was a bracelet that used a radio frequency from a wristband that the shooter must wear.
Then the second problem occured at the demostration- the gun did not fire when it should have. It made the front page of the WSJ, and the smart gun from Colt was dropped. Since then no big gun company has produced smart guns, at least not effectively.
So there is a history of unreliability and not big market for such a product. Manufacturers and dealers should not be forced to supply something, especially when their is no demand. I don’t care if people want smart guns for their home. That’s your freedom to make that decision. However, I, as well as millions of others, do not want smart guns in our houses. It’s the same reason as to why I do not want a low quality gun, I prefer to own something reliable.
So the next time you see someone wanting smart guns just remember that it is their choice to want one, but it is not anyone’s choice what you should own.
Have a nice day, everybody.
6 thoughts on “NPR Remembers Smart Gun Issues”
The only folks I’ve ever known to advocate “smart guns” are folks who are either outright anti-gun or “neutral” — no gun owners I’ve ever heard advocate them. Well, maybe there are some Fudds who do.
“Smart” (actually dumb) guns fail on a more fundamental basis than impossible to achieve reliability. They FAIL to have any ability to discriminate intent.
I can have the biometrics or the RFID ring or a code, and that does not stop me from killing an innocent. Likewise, a “smart” gun keeps me from helping a stranger, an officer, and potentially a family member. All for the supposed benefit of reducing accidental shootings which can be done with safes and acting responsibly. A cure for a rare concern.
The real nefarious reason is an attempt to limit choices and drive up costs. It’s like putting in ejection seats in cars for those rare times when it might save a life or two.
“The only folks I’ve ever known to advocate “smart guns” are folks who are either outright anti-gun or “neutral” — no gun owners I’ve ever heard advocate them. Well, maybe there are some Fudds who do.”
If you can make it to the midwest you could meet me. John, Mikhail, Eugene and Gaston are my heros. I’ve been active in the 2A state political scene for many years and love taking newbies to the range. Since this is a public posting I hope you will forgive me for not going into my firearm collection.
But because I think that people should be able to choose the safety measures that they want on a firearm* I am a Fudd?
To quote Mr. Spock “Fascinating”
IMHO “Smart guns” (excluding Magna Trigger) are currently nowhere near ready for LEO/Military/general use. That will change, I have no idea how long it will take to change but it will change. There are just too many people who desire smart guns for various reasons so people will keep trying to make a “smart gun”
Like it or not “smart guns” are coming. They may come from within the US or from overseas (Armatix) but they are coming. I would rather have some meaningful input on that. Just saying we do not like them is not going to help us stop them or stop legislators from making them mandatory. If we cannot give meaningful input and criticism then we will have no input.
If on the other hand we say we require a system with a failure rate <0.5%**, no more than 0.05 second delay, battery life of more than 1 year with the shooting of a minimum of 1,000 rounds during that year now we can say WHY we do not want smart guns.
Will they be as reliable as regular firearms? Extremely unlikely to the point of impossibility. Generally speaking a semi is not as reliable as a revolver (particularly for a newby) and a red dot scope is definitely not as reliable as iron sites(batteries) but there are an awful lot of semis and red dots that are being sold. People should be allowed to make their own choices balancing many factors about which guns they want to buy and should not be forced to have a smart gun because some people like them OR forced not to have a smart gun because some people do not like them.
* Yes I know about the New Jersey law. I also know that the originator of that law is trying to get it changed to eliminate the mandatory aspect and that New Jersey is only one of 50 states.
**It is a commonly stated idea that a defensive firearm should have been tested for it's ability to fire a certain type of ammunition by firing 200 rounds without a problem i.e. a failure rate of 05%
“But because I think that people should be able to choose the safety measures that they want on a firearm I am a Fudd? To quote Mr. Spock ‘Fascinating'”
That is not at all what I said or meant. Saying “maybe there are some Fudds who (advocate for them)” is not equivalent to saying “if you advocate for them, you are a Fudd.” I am talking correlation (or if you prefer, stereotype) that Fudds are the subset of firearms owners most likely to advocate for restrictions/changes affecting other subsets, but not their own. Given that smart gun technology seems to be only directed at handguns and/or “assault weapons” (sic), anyone who advocates for them is most likely a Fudd.
SCRAPPYCROW, we could play word games and debate about what you wrote and what you meant but I would rather discuss “smartguns” and what would be required to make them acceptable to people who are interested in them be they “Fudds”, IPSC competitors, LEOs, “operators” or those who just want a firearm for defense and are interested in another layer of safety.
I posted some preliminary thoughts about what MIGHT be required to make “smart guns” ( I hate that term BTW) acceptable to people who are familiar with firearms and use them routinely. May I ask your opinion on the preliminary requirements that I posted and anything you would like to change, add or subtract to them.
Saying I do not like smart guns is NOT a meaningful response. As stated they are coming and saying you do not like “smart guns” is IMHO like saying I do not like Self Driving Vehicles, whether you like it or not it they are coming. People can dislike it all they want and it will not stop them from being made.
What we as 2A advocates can do is come up with some meaningful ideas on what features should be included in order to make them acceptable to the POTG and what features are unacceptable.
I would very much like other people who KNOW and USE firearms input on this matter.
“Saying I do not like smart guns is NOT a meaningful response. As stated they are coming and saying you do not like ‘smart guns’ is IMHO like saying I do not like Self Driving Vehicles, whether you like it or not it they are coming. People can dislike it all they want and it will not stop them from being made.”
I wasn’t going to answer in that form, but now that you’ve brought it up, I will. Saying “I do not like smart guns” as one’s complete response would indeed not be meaningful, but “I do not like smart guns because…” is a meaningful response.
I do not like smart guns because I am concerned that: 1) once a “workable” feature/function set is standardized, it would be mandated, not optional, for all new firearms; 2) if smart guns are mandated for new firearms, existing non-smart guns would not be grandfathered-in or would be subject to something akin to tax stamps for NFA items; 3) hacks would be available to authorities or other actors to disable smart guns; 4) if smart guns become the majority of guns being produced, non-smart guns would become less economically-viable for producers and would disappear because of business decisions (akin to the disappearance of manual transmissions).
Just as I don’t care how folks live their lives as long as it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care if smart guns exist as long as it doesn’t affect me. The only way smart guns would be acceptable to me is if they are not mandated and if I can acquire non-smart versions of the guns I want, no matter the form/function of the “smart” portion of the smart gun.
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