From new to old, some of the gun safety features over time

May 1, 2016 by By The Associated Press
In this photo taken April 7, 2016, Jonathan Mossberg, whose iGun Technology Corp. is working to develop a "smart gun," poses with the firearm, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Mossberg is among a group of pioneers looking to build a safer gun. But unlike many others, he was in the gun business when he started down that path. Mossberg has been working to develop and someday bring to market a firearm that can't be fired by the wrong person, but works without fail in the hands of its owner in a life-or-death situation. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Daytona Beach, Florida-based iGun Technology Corp. has been developing a "smart gun," a firearm that uses a ring with a chip in it to send a signal to a circuit board embedded in the firearm so that only an authorized user can fire the gun.

But this isn't the only that exists or is being developed.

A look at other efforts to build a "smart gun" and earlier efforts at making firearms safer:

RFID or RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION

Armatix GmbH of Unterfoehring, Germany, has developed a handgun that uses a watch that sends signals to the handgun. The iP1 is a .22-caliber pistol that carries a 10-round magazine. The accompanying watch must be within 10 inches of the handgun for it to fire.

At least two in the United States made it available to customers in 2014—one in California, another in Maryland. Both ceased soon after amid an outcry among gun-rights advocates. One concern is a New Jersey law that mandates that within three years of a smart gun being commercially available, only those types of guns could be bought and sold in the state.

The cost also is considerably more than a standard handgun, which can generally run around $450. Instead, the iP1 costs more than $1,300 and the buyer also has to purchase the watch separately for an additional several hundred dollars.

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BIOMETRICS

In this photo taken April 7, 2016, Jonathan Mossberg, whose iGun Technology Corp. is working to develop a "smart gun," demonstrates the firearm, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Mossberg is among a group of pioneers looking to build a safer gun. But unlike many others, he was in the gun business when he started down that path. Mossberg has been working to develop and someday bring to market a firearm that can't be fired by the wrong person, but works without fail in the hands of its owner in a life-or-death situation. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Among those exploring the use of biometrics—similar to what is used to unlock some iPhones—is a teenager from Colorado. Kai Kloepfer received a grant from the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation to develop the technology, which would fire the handgun only when it recognized a finger placed on the grip.

Kloepfer was partly inspired by the shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012, which is about an hour from his home in Boulder. He has since founded Aegen Technologies, a startup company devoted to developing firearms using biometrics and other smart-gun technologies.

He will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall after taking a year off after high school to spend more time developing his technology.

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WHAT OTHER SAFETY MECHANISMS EXIST?

Efforts to make guns safer with technology are not new.

Many firearms include "trigger guards," the casing that loops under the trigger, and a "safety" switch that, when engaged, prevents the gun from firing, for example.

In the 1880s, Smith & Wesson made a revolver it called "child-proof." It had what is known as a grip safety that must be squeezed at the same time the trigger is pulled for the gun to discharge. The company stopped making firearms with that feature in the 1940s.

Other companies still use a grip safety, including the iGun Technology shotgun that also includes a programmable ring that sends a signal to the firearm to discharge. Springfield Armory produces a line of handguns with a grip safety, including the XD Compact model. It was involved in an accidental shooting in March. Authorities said a 4-year-old boy in Florida was in the back seat when he shot his mother, who was driving, with the .45-caliber handgun.

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WHAT THE GUN LOBBY SAYS

The gun lobby is wary of the smart-gun technologies and questions their reliability.

In a crisis, the gun owner needs to have confidence that it's a reliable weapon of defense—that it works and works instantaneously.

"There's no way to practice for the batteries going dead or just when it doesn't recognize your print," said Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. "You don't want to be messing with buttons. ... The bad guy in your home isn't going to have to boot up his weapon."

While the gun lobby has reservations about the reliability of the technology, it contends it is not opposed to people looking to develop a smart gun. It is concerned that if a smart gun were successfully brought to market, it would propel the government to then mandate that all firearms have that technology.

"We, the industry, are not opposed to R&D and development of this technology. We're only opposed to mandates," said Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents manufacturers. "Not everybody wants or needs that feature."

Explore further: James Bond meets Samuel Colt: Seeking to build a safer gun

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5 comments

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julianpenrod
1 / 5 (3) May 01, 2016
Even with a "smart chip", there is always the possibility of a gun being hacked. And, even if can't be hacked to work as a gun, it can still be used as a club. It can be a weapon no matter what. Like security of an entity from a company to a state can be worked around; can end up turning on those who made it; can end up treating all affected by it as enemies. There is one and only one ultimately desirable means of ensuring safety from others, to have them be your friend. And part of that is to be their friend. Too many claim that's impossible, too many seek clandestinely to hurt others, then, when they retaliate, describe them as the aggressors, depend on the imbeciles to believe the lie and the equally craven malingerers to spread it, and call for means to annihilate the aggrieved. Some claim to try to help, but surreptitiously use that as a means of harming the other and enriching themselves. So few genuinely work to try to initiate a state of universal friendship.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (3) May 01, 2016
Even with a "smart chip", there is always the possibility of a gun being hacked.

I guess it would be better than nothing. At least it might prevent toddlers shooting themselves (or anyone else)
http://metro.co.u...743279/.

There is one and only one ultimately desirable means of ensuring safety from others, to have them be your friend. And part of that is to be their friend.

While I agree that violent means should be the very last line of defense and not the first go-to (i.e. an armed populace is a particularly bad/insane idea): There are nasty people out there and unlimited appeasement has led to one of the biggest catastrophes in history.
rderkis
3 / 5 (2) May 01, 2016
julianpenrod says "There is one and only one ultimately desirable means of ensuring safety from others, to have them be your friend."


I had a home invasion a couple years ago. I was 67 then had to jerk the claw hammer out of his hand (He was blond about 23 and 180 lbs There were two of them). I sure wish you had of been here julianpenrod so you could have made them your friend. Instead my rotts had another idea about friendship. :-)
dan42day
5 / 5 (1) May 01, 2016
There is one and only one ultimately desirable means of ensuring safety from others, to have them be your friend.


Actually most homicides are committed by someone the victim knew. Beware of friends and family!

Seriously though, I would be very leery of adding a bunch of electronic crap to a weapon meant for self defense. The only way I would buy one is if the police were confident enough with it to carry it as their service weapon.

Eikka
not rated yet May 02, 2016
Actually most homicides are committed by someone the victim knew. Beware of friends and family!


The most dangerous people are those who would shoot even their friends and family without hesitation at the first sign of danger.

The question of self-defence with guns is far more complicated than just who's got the fastest revolver pull - that's just an easy talking point because it appeals to the "inner hero" of people who seek security in lethal weapons.

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