At the start of the new year, the White House announced plans for executive action in an effort to curb shooting deaths. President Obama directed the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security to analyze and research various means to accomplish this mission. One approach that has been met with much controversy and debate is gun security technology.
This broad term covers a variety of devices intended to secure guns so that they will be inert if they fall into the wrong hands and prevented from firing altogether except by their lawful owners. While pro-gun factions initially opposed this security technology, claiming how this step toward gun control threatened their Second Amendment rights, both sides did agree on one aspect: the importance of gun safety.
Security technology for guns today is increasingly associated with “smart guns.” Smart guns are employed through electronic devices to ensure that they cannot be fired unless the lawful user is authenticated through pass codes, fingerprint scans, or similar methods. This technology has been around for decades, but there had never been any sort of widespread adoption of smart guns, largely in part due to opposing groups such as the NRA. Here are some new security technologies that have arrived in the gun market.
Smart Gun Technology
Armatix, a German gun manufacturer, sells a .22 caliber pistol that can only be fired if the shooter is wearing a watch that transmits a signal. The shooter must also enter a PIN number to activate the weapon while a delay timer automatically deactivates the pistol after a period of disuse. This renders the gun useless to anyone who does not know the PIN. Armatix also sells a lock inserted into a gun’s barrel that can only be removed by entering a passcode.
Venerable gun maker Winchester proudly proclaims how they “Won the West” with their line of firearms, and now offer new versions of the traditional method for storing guns – the home safe. Different sized models with names like Bandit and Big Daddy are large enough to store many guns, including longer rifles, along with ammunition or other valuables. High-end models like the Legacy Premier stand six feet tall and weigh 1,600 pounds. The safes are opened or closed with a hand crank, and locked or unlocked with a passcode.
GunVault is a Las Vegas-based company that provides smaller safes to secure individual weapons. However, it’s upcoming ARVault is only large enough to store a rifle once it has been disassembled. The real innovation behind this invention is in the locking mechanisms, which rely on a biometric scanner to verify the owner’s fingerprints.
Identilock is another promising device using biometrics, this time as a lock that fits over the trigger guard, leaving the gun unusable. A handy fingerprint scanner above the trigger verifies the user for easy release. This security technology allows the owner to add or remove other shooters via fingerprint scans. A friend at the gun range could be easily added and removed later. Another family member could be added for home defense, or removed if showing suicidal or violent tendencies.