In nearly 30 years at Heckler & Koch, a legendary German gunmaker, Ernst Mauch designed some of the world's most lethal weapons, including the one that reportedly killed Osama bin Laden, says the Washington Post. Now the gun world sees him as a traitor. The target of their fury is the smart gun Mauch designed at Armatix, a start-up near Munich. The very concept of the weapon has been attacked by U.S. gun rights advocates as it has helped Mauch resolve a sense of guilt that has haunted him. He knows children have killed each other with his guns. Crimes have been committed with them.
“It hurts my heart,” said Mauch, 58. “It's life. It's the lives of people who never thought they'd get killed by a gun. You have a nice family at home, and then you get killed. It's crazy.” Mauch's solution, the iP1, can be personalized so it fires only if the gun's rightful owner is wearing a special watch connected wirelessly to the weapon. It has not been a hit in the multibillion-dollar U.S. market. Second Amendment advocates, fearing the technology will be mandated, launched angry protests against stores in Maryland and California that tried to sell it. The industry that once revered him now looks at him with suspicion. “I love Ernst, and his contributions to firearms are incredible,” said Jim Schatz, a gun industry consultant who worked for Mauch. “But he doesn't understand that the anti-gunners will use this to infringe on a constitutional right. They don't have a Second Amendment in Germany.”