“Smart Guns” Remain Shut Out Of The Market Amid Powerful Opposition


Despite support from the Obama administration and the promise of investment from Silicon Valley, guns with owner-recognition technology remain shut out of the market, says the New York Times. “Right now, unfortunately, these organizations that are scaring everybody have the power,” said Belinda Padilla of manufacturer Armatix. “All we're doing is providing extra levels of safety to your individual right to bear arms. And if you don't want our gun, don't buy it. It's not for everyone.” The company makes a new .22-caliber handgun that uses a radio frequency-enabled stopwatch to identify the authorized user so no one else can fire it. The firm hoped to make the weapon the first “smart gun” sold in the United States. Shortly after Armatix went public with its plans to start selling in Southern California, Padilla, a fast-talking, hard-charging Beverly Hills businesswoman who leads the company's fledgling American division, encountered the same uproar that has stopped gun control advocates, Congress, President Obama and lawmakers across the U.S. as they seek to pass tougher laws and promote new technologies they contend will lead to fewer firearms deaths.

Second Amendment defenders argue that once guns with high-tech safety features go on sale, government mandates will follow. They cite a decade-old New Jersey law requiring that within three years of the recognition technology's becoming available in the United States, all guns sold in the state would have to be “smart.” “Are we concerned?” asked Lawrence Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for gun manufacturers. “Yes.” A National Institute of Justice report last year found that at least three companies, including Armatix, had developed owner-recognition abilities. The manufacturers argue that these new technologies could prevent suicides, accidental shootings and the deaths of police officers whose guns are wrested away in a struggle.

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