Smart Guns Are Coming to the U.S. This Year

Tsing

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Smart guns with special technology that only allows them to be fired by select and verified users are coming to the U.S. this year.



According to a report from Reuters, Idaho’s LodeStar Works and SmartGunz, another company in Kansas, will be the first to offer these high-tech weapons in the States. Both of them expect to begin selling their first smart guns later this year.



“LodeStar integrated both a fingerprint reader and a near-field communication chip activated by a phone app, plus a PIN pad,” Reuters reported. “The gun can be authorized for more than one user.”



“The fingerprint reader unlocks the gun in microseconds, but since it may not work when wet or in other adverse conditions, the PIN pad is there as a backup. LodeStar did not demonstrate the near-field communication signal, but it would act as a secondary backup, enabling the gun as quickly as...

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Dogsofjune

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Lemme know when these get a bit further along hot shot.


I said, hot shot....


This tech it'd be cool to keep the kids safe I suppose.
 

Zarathustra

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All that said, these features have promise, and may cut down on the use of stolen guns by criminals, but somehow I have a feeling that those who are interested in guns probably won't be buying these.
 

Brian_B

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How do you reset the biometrics if you sell or transfer the weapon? that's the key to this imo
 

Zarathustra

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How do you reset the biometrics if you sell or transfer the weapon? that's the key to this imo

That and, we've all had the issue - I think - where our finger print reader on our smartphone for some reason fails to identify us, so we wipe off the sensor, rub our finger over our jeans and try again and hopefully it works.

Imagine having a problem like this in a life or death situation where every second counts...

They are going to have to design this thing to be beyond ridiculously reliable and validate it such that authentication errors simply do not happen.
 
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Brian_B

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That and, we've all had the issue - I think - where our finger print reader on our smartphone for some reason fails to identify us, so we wipe off the sensor, rub our finder over our jeans and try again and hopefully it works.

Imagine having a problem like this in a life or death situation where every second counts...

They are going to have to design this thing to be beyond ridiculously reliable and validate it such that authentication errors simply do not happen.
Yeah, the more I think about it...

On one hand, I'm not really against it. It could do a lot against gun theft, kids, etc. And it's not like anyone is saying you have to trade in your old gun for one of these, or install one of these in your existing weapons (yet, at least). So people who want this, sure, go for it.

On the other, a good lock or gun safe does pretty much the same thing without needing any modification to the gun or anything high tech that could go wrong (something as simple as a dead battery). It wouldn't do anything to prevent any of the mass shootings that have gone on - seems like most of those are done with legally obtained weapons.

The only advantage I could see for biometrics as opposed to a good lock is the intruder case - where you keep the weapon in a nightstand or by the bed or in the glovebox - it eliminates the need to physically unlock a weapon prior to use, while still keeping it safe from unauthorized use. Provided, as Zarathustra mentions, it works flawlessly.

In that context, I think it's neat, but I don't see it solving any real issue pertaining to firearms or the people who get ahold of them.
 

Burticus

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I thought there was something in the works for a smart ring type of control mechanism? Like you had to be wearing a specially encoded ring to "unlock" the gun..... but the internet disagrees with me.
 

Dan_D

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I'm not entirely against the idea of this to some degree. However, there are a number of challenges with it. First and foremost, if this gains any traction the problem you'll have is that retrofits to existing designs will almost be pointless as they'll be defeated simply by taking the gun apart and retrofitting the weapon with the older more conventional parts.

Take a Beretta 92FS or SIG P226 for example. They've been in service with militaries and law enforcement agencies around the world for decades. The parts to fix these and even the older versions of these weapons are abundant on the new and used market. The Glock aftermarket is enormous to a point where you can build a Glock without any Glock parts in it. That's basically a non-starter right there.

I'm not saying the technology doesn't have its upsides, but that's a pretty big downside.

Yeah, the more I think about it...

On one hand, I'm not really against it. It could do a lot against gun theft, kids, etc. And it's not like anyone is saying you have to trade in your old gun for one of these, or install one of these in your existing weapons (yet, at least). So people who want this, sure, go for it.
What it will do is cause states like California to adopt it into law as a requirement for all new firearms sold in the state, similar to the way it did with microstamping. However, older guns are grandfathered in with existing laws, so it makes the idea pointless. All it does is mean that California can't get newer models of guns as a result. Companies like Glock still produce the Gen3 guns for that state to get around the microstamping law.

The problem is that some politician will drive this like it will reduce or eliminate gun crime. However, from a legal standpoint, it will either be struck down or implemented so poorly as to accomplish nothing but cause law abiding citizens grief.

As it is, a biometric locked Glock wouldn't be a problem for a teenager if they can gain physical access to the weapon and have a garage with basic tools in it. A teenager can simply order Glock parts to work around the system and simply change out the biometric stuff for conventional parts. The technology being applied to existing models would be easy enough to defeat. It would almost require new weapons to be designed where the technology was entirely integral and no physical work arounds exist. It would also require the law to be changed to prevent companies from designing and building and then selling workarounds for these components.

Even then, it wouldn't necessarily stop people from building their own workarounds.
On the other, a good lock or gun safe does pretty much the same thing without needing any modification to the gun or anything high tech that could go wrong (something as simple as a dead battery). It wouldn't do anything to prevent any of the mass shootings that have gone on - seems like most of those are done with legally obtained weapons.
Most residential security containers can be defeated in seconds to a couple of minutes. Furthermore, this type of system could cost lives if it fails in the moment. A backup requiring you to operate an app on your smart phone will get people who need to defend themselves killed. No one has time for that in the moment. Gun enthusiasts, law enforcement and military professionals debate the merits of the manual safety and some of them cite that as being a liability that can get you killed. This nonsense will only go over well with people who have man buns and eat avocado toast.

You are quite right in that this type of technology wouldn't do much if anything to curb mass shootings. The reason being that it doesn't address the underlying reasons why people commit those types of acts in the first place. If you look at most of the mass shooters backgrounds and personalities you start to see patterns emerge. There are some aberrations that defy the pattern, but for the most part its the same basic story every time.

No one in politics will ever admit that the issue here is and never has been firearms. It's people choosing to commit acts of violence. That's not something that can be fixed with the law. It has to be fixed through social and economic changes that lead to the violence in the first place. That's a lot easier said that done and even if we could waive our hands and do that overnight, you would still have people who would defy the pattern and simply choose to kill for whatever reason.

I wouldn't go so far as to say most of these guns were legally obtained though. Many of them were, but many of them weren't. While there are certainly cases where they were, there are cases where they either were not obtained legally, or it was only possible for them to be obtained legally through clerical errors or because mental health conditions in some of the shooters were never properly diagnosed. This kept them from having their right to purchase and own firearms from being restricted by NICS.

None of the school shootings that occurred at the high school and below level were obtained legally as the shooters were underage. Many of the shootings that have taken place in other countries were done with firearms that were not obtained legally.

The fact is, when someone wants to kill people they will find a way to do it. In countries where gun control is far more strict than it is here, they beat people to death or use another means. There was a mass shooting with a bow and arrows not too long ago. A truck full of fertilizer or dynamite are far more effective and deadly than firearms are.
The only advantage I could see for biometrics as opposed to a good lock is the intruder case - where you keep the weapon in a nightstand or by the bed or in the glovebox - it eliminates the need to physically unlock a weapon prior to use, while still keeping it safe from unauthorized use. Provided, as Zarathustra mentions, it works flawlessly.

In that context, I think it's neat, but I don't see it solving any real issue pertaining to firearms or the people who get ahold of them.
In theory, it would solve only a couple of problems if it worked perfectly. It would prevent cases where a child or some other unauthorized person grabbed the gun and committed suicide either on purpose or accidentally. Every now and then you hear a story about some toddler shooting themselves. The technology would add an extra layer of safety in situations where the parents are negligent enough to allow those sorts of things to happen. If you ask me, those same kids are ****ed anyway because their parents are ****ty.

For law enforcement, it could prevent officers from being shot in situations where the criminal manages to get the weapon from the officer. I don't know how prevalent this problem is, but at one time it was a real issue which is what led to additional retention levels on holsters carried by law enforcement.

All of this aside, this technology wouldn't solve anything for the simple fact that over 100 million guns without the technology are already in the hands of private citizens today. The technology might prevent kids from killing themselves or their parents in a home where conventional firearms aren't present, but it will do nothing to prevent mass shootings or curb gang violence or anything like that.
 

Brian_B

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In California, they recently (2018) passed some gun control legislation. It doesn't control the gun, but rather, ammunition. It side-steps any 2nd amendment argument because it doesn't impede access to weapons at all... the way CA sees it, you can have all the arms you want and bear them, you just can't reload them. I suppose you could make a case that ammo is part of bearing an arm; you can't have one without the other, but then you get into how literal you want to interpret the wording, and CA has clearly shown their interpretation.

A California resident cannot bring in ammunition from out of state. A non-resident cannot purchase ammunition in state, and must bring it in from out of state. You can still buy reload supplies without a background check.

For a CA resident to buy ammo, they must go through a background check each time. If you are buying ammo for a gun you have registered (the law isn't exactly worded this way, but it's implemented in a way that this becomes true), it only takes a couple of minutes. If you are not, there is a 10-day hold, and a significant fee for the background check.

I can easily see CA changing their law so that you are required to have a biometric to register a new gun -- they can argue haven't removed your 2nd amendment right. CCW laws are already per-county/jurisdiction, and it could easily go to a local jurisdiction to require it if you want a CCW (although it's already nigh-impossible in many areas to obtain one).

That is, if CA doesn't pass the Texas-style law where we enact vigilante bounty-style enforcement on weapons and/or ammo in the first place.
 
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Riccochet

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Make all law enforcement and military use it first.

We'll see how quickly it gets thrown out.
 

Grimlakin

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Want to end the debate require liability coverage on all firearms owned by private citizens. Maybe even police. Let things like smart guns be motivated by financial choice rather than law. Then people that want to own a gun or two or more can choose to have smart locks or not.

There is a lot more to this idea than just that. Liability windows.. laws requiring transfer of gun ownership through an inexpensive and easy to use method. Things like that.
 

Zarathustra

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Want to end the debate require liability coverage on all firearms owned by private citizens. Maybe even police. Let things like smart guns be motivated by financial choice rather than law. Then people that want to own a gun or two or more can choose to have smart locks or not.

There is a lot more to this idea than just that. Liability windows.. laws requiring transfer of gun ownership through an inexpensive and easy to use method. Things like that.

You know, liability and firearms is an interesting topic I've never given much thought.

I have no idea how it works today. I don't own any firearms, so I've never had to give it any thought.

I do not recall my homeowners insurance asking if there were any firearms in the house when I signed up for it.
 

Zarathustra

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Responsibility is one thing, requiring a cost to exercise those rights is against US law.

It'd be like charging someone for insurance to vote.

I'm not familiar with this law at all, so bear with me here.

I can see where you are coming from when it comes to requiring insurance, but that is not what my question was about.

Let's say you are a gun owner, and there is an accident in your house as a result. (I know, no gun owner thinks it will happen to them, because they are the responsible ones, but lets role play a "what if" scenario here) Someone requires medical treatment and/or winds up with some sort of disability, and you get sued over it. Can you optionally carry insurance to cover something like that, or would standard homeowners or medical coverage cover it?

I could see homeowners insurance having an optional endorsement for something like this, but it never came up in my conversations with any of the prospective agents I worked with.
 

Riccochet

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I'm not familiar with this law at all, so bear with me here.

I can see where you are coming from when it comes to requiring insurance, but that is not what my question was about.

Let's say you are a gun owner, and there is an accident in your house as a result. (I know, no gun owner thinks it will happen to them, because they are the responsible ones, but lets role play a "what if" scenario here) Someone requires medical treatment and/or winds up with some sort of disability, and you get sued over it. Can you optionally carry insurance to cover something like that, or would standard homeowners or medical coverage cover it?

I could see homeowners insurance having an optional endorsement for something like this, but it never came up in my conversations with any of the prospective agents I worked with.

As far as I know my homeowners covers accidents on my properties. Though I'm not sure what type of accident you are eluding to.

As far as the law. Rights are inalienable and constitutionally protected against state and federal taxation. That includes all forms of cost. So requiring insurance to possess a firearm is a cost on exercising the right to bear arms.
 

Zarathustra

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As far as I know my homeowners covers accidents on my properties. Though I'm not sure what type of accident you are eluding to.

As far as the law. Rights are inalienable and constitutionally protected against state and federal taxation. That includes all forms of cost. So requiring insurance to possess a firearm is a cost on exercising the right to bear arms.

Well yeah, but in most areas insurance is not a requirement. It is (at least in most states) for operating a vehicle on public roads, and in recent years since the ACA as enacted the individual mandate in health insurance also applies (though it is now toothless since the penalty for violating it has been removed) but health and auto are only two narrow areas of insurance, not representative of insurance as a whole.

In most cases insurance is something you voluntarily carry in order to protect yourself from a risk. Even if there did not exist a requirement for me to do so - for instance - I would carry auto insurance, just in case I had a bad day and hit someone, because I don't want to be financially liable for the damages and potentially lose my house. This is why I carry auto liability insurance more than 10 times greater than the state minimums, ($300k/$500k vs $20k/$40k) and additionally have an umbrella policy above that. No one is requiring me to do so. I do it out of my own volition and self interest to protect my assets.

I also have life insurance. No one is requiring me to carry that. My mortgage requires me to carry homeowners insurance, but I would carry it even if I didn't have to, and again, no one is requiring me to carry the additional umbrella policy I carry above that.

The types of accidents I envisage are things like:
Maybe the gun safe lock fails to lock properly, and a visiting friends child during a moment while no one is looking, gets into it and injures themselves, or something like that. You know, the type of stuff you see in the news on a regular basis.

I think most people assume that the liability portion of their homeowners insurance covers all accidents on their property, and I have no information to suggest say that they don't in this particular case, but those ****ers are sneaky. It is almost impossible for a layman to have a good understanding of what stuff is included in a base homeowners policy, and what requires an additional endorsement, and many don't find out until it is too late and their claim is denied.

So, I realized I was ignorant in this regard when it comes to firearms, and am simply curious how it works.
 

Riccochet

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Well yeah, but in most areas insurance is not a requirement. It is (at least in most states) for operating a vehicle on public roads, and in recent years since the ACA as enacted the individual mandate in health insurance also applies (though it is now toothless since the penalty for violating it has been removed) but health and auto are only two narrow areas of insurance, not representative of insurance as a whole.

In most cases insurance is something you voluntarily carry in order to protect yourself from a risk. Even if there did not exist a requirement for me to do so - for instance - I would carry auto insurance, just in case I had a bad day and hit someone, because I don't want to be financially liable for the damages and potentially lose my house. This is why I carry auto liability insurance more than 10 times greater than the state minimums, ($300k/$500k vs $20k/$40k) and additionally have an umbrella policy above that. No one is requiring me to do so. I do it out of my own volition and self interest to protect my assets.

I also have life insurance. No one is requiring me to carry that. My mortgage requires me to carry homeowners insurance, but I would carry it even if I didn't have to, and again, no one is requiring me to carry the additional umbrella policy I carry above that.

The types of accidents I envisage are things like:
Maybe the gun safe lock fails to lock properly, and a visiting friends child during a moment while no one is looking, gets into it and injures themselves, or something like that. You know, the type of stuff you see in the news on a regular basis.

I think most people assume that the liability portion of their homeowners insurance covers all accidents on their property, and I have no information to suggest say that they don't in this particular case, but those ****ers are sneaky. It is almost impossible for a layman to have a good understanding of what stuff is included in a base homeowners policy, and what requires an additional endorsement, and many don't find out until it is too late and their claim is denied.

So, I realized I was ignorant in this regard when it comes to firearms, and am simply curious how it works.
All policies are different. There is no blanket answer. If you are curious about your policy and the liability coverage it provides you would need to ask your insurer.

But, is it worth having extra insurance? That's up to the individual. I do not have children, nor are they ever in my house except on rare occasions. I also have loaded firearms all over my house. They serve me no purpose if they are behind lock and key, or worse.

Then again, if someone decides to meddle with your personal property and kills themselves, are you liable? Should your insurance pay for that? How about someone that jacks up your car to steal your catalytic converter and gets crushed to death? Are you or your insurance liable for not properly securing your vehicle to prevent that?
 

Zarathustra

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Then again, if someone decides to meddle with your personal property and kills themselves, are you liable? Should your insurance pay for that? How about someone that jacks up your car to steal your catalytic converter and gets crushed to death? Are you or your insurance liable for not properly securing your vehicle to prevent that?

I'm with you. Except in some very narrow cases (most of them involving children yopung enough to not know better than to trespass and explore, which is why such things as pool fences are so important), people shouldn't be liable for this, but you have to protect yourself from the world the way it is, not the way you wish it were, and the world we live in has seen successful lawsuits by burglars who slipped and fell on rugs against the homeowners whose house they had just broken into.
 
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