Why “Smart Guns” won’t transform firearms industry

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Another company wants to manufacture a “smart gun” that can be fired only by an authorized user. Another company will fail. Why? Two reasons: The influential National Rifle Association sees smart guns as a step toward stricter gun control, and the people who actually buy firearms in the U.S. don’t really want smart guns. That’s what you call serious barriers to entry.

A California company called Armatix is trying to sell a .22 pistol dubbed the iP1, which received attention from the Washington Post in February and again today from the New York Times. The iP1 contains a computer chip that enables the pistol to work only if the user enters a five-digit PIN into a watch-like device that transmits a signal to the gun. The weapon will not fire if it’s more than 10 inches from the watch.

A man holds a prototype of a smart gun by Armatix during the International Guns Exhibition'IWA & OutdoorClassics' in Nurembergm

The NRA has opposed smart guns for many years on political grounds. The group argues that given the opportunity, gun-control advocates would mandate technologically personalized firearms that government overseers could track—and even disable.

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Source:  Bloomberg BusinessWeek


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