The NSSF: Why Smart Gun Technology is a Dumb Idea

By Larry Keane

Glock Blue Keyboard Jim Grant
Smart guns are a dumb idea. IMG Jim Grant

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- President Joe Biden said he’s figured it all out. Guns can be made safe if the firearm industry would just team up with Silicon Valley to create bio-enabled so-called “smart guns.”

This is according to a long-buried interview with the Las Vegas Sun conducted during the presidential campaign. The information contained in it is just now coming to light and some of the findings might show why. President Biden, as a candidate, was making outlandish pie-in-the-sky claims about theoretical, unproven, and unreliable firearm technology.

President Biden claimed, according to this interview, “I also dealt with the folks in Silicon Valley; we have the capacity now to build any weapon where it can only be fired with your biometric marker. And that technology doesn’t violate anyone’s Second Amendment right at all. If you pass the background check, you can purchase a weapon which only you can pull the trigger.”

Smart Gun’s Failing Grade

He’s right on one count. As vice president, he did deal with tech leaders to attempt combining authorized-user, or so-called “smart gun” technology into firearms. It didn’t work. It didn’t get to the point where it could even be properly tested.

Then-Vice President Biden was in charge of an Obama administration task force to come up with gun control answers. One was to pursue so-called “smart gun” tech through the National Institutes of Justice. Officials there couldn’t even test a prototype because nothing was developed to the point where a safe and reliable product incorporating such a capability was available on the marketplace today. It still isn’t.

In 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Earl Griffith, chief of the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division said the technology still wasn’t there. “Some critics out there would say we have the technology and it would work, but I’ll tell you we don’t think the technology is there yet,” Griffith said.

That was after the U.S. government sunk at least $12.6 million in research to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to work with the tech industry to produce a working solution. It still eludes, but that doesn’t keep President Biden from dreaming.

Campaign Promises

Early on in the presidential campaign, President Biden claimed, “… we have the capacity now in a James Bond-style to make sure no one can pull a trigger unless their DNA and fingerprint is on it.” That’s some serious science-fiction fantasy technology. It makes for a good movie. In real life, it’s clumsy and failure-prone at best and impossible at worst.

The president’s campaign-trail claim of DNA-enabled smart guns is completely false. No one has introduced technology that would match a DNA sample to activate a firearm. However, attempts have been made at fingerprint-style authorized user-technology. Think of the way a fingerprint is used to open a smartphone. Now, think of all the times a smartphone won’t open when a fingerprint is applied. A little wet, not the right angle, dirty, God-forbid bloody… all these can cause a failure of the fingerprint lock to not activate the technology.

In a life-or-death situation when an individual is under duress and trying to activate the tool that would save their lives, swiping a fingerprint screen is the last concern. If your iPhone doesn’t open, you’re inconvenienced. If your firearm doesn’t work at the moment you need it you could be dead. That’s why study and survey work on this topic show that reliability is of paramount concernBecause the technology is not yet sufficiently reliable, there is very limited consumer interest in purchasing authorized-user-equipped firearms.

Unwanted Mandate

Just five percent of those surveyed said they would consider purchasing a gun equipped with this technology. A full 70 percent said they had reliability concerns. They should. Firearms are more than just recreational target shooting tools. They’re also self-defense tools and in a life-or-death moment, they must work each and every time as intended. There is no room for a second attempt at a fingerprint match or battery failure.

Let me be explicitly clear, contrary to the false claims of gun control groups the firearm industry does not oppose the research and potential development of this technology being applied to firearms. Consumers are best left to decide what they want and the free market does a good job of weeding out bad ideas so good ones flourish. What NSSF strongly opposes, however, is the mandate of such technology, like what has recently been proposed by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). She introduced H.R. 1008, legislation that would mandate that every gun sold within five years be equipped with the unworkable technology. It goes further. It also would require all legacy firearms be retrofitted within 10 years. That’s sure to go over well with collectors.

The firearm industry also has serious concerns about product liability. Even the DOJ’s researchers agree that any so-called “smart gun” technology has to be as reliable as present-day technology. There’s no room for failure. That’s what good engineering does – it eliminates points of failure. This is a particularly important concept for tools that are used to defend innocent lives. Forcing manufacturers to adopt this unproven and unreliable technology exposes them to lawsuits when it fails, and it will. It also exposes them to allegations that models that previously didn’t incorporate “smart gun” technology are potentially “defectively designed.”

Product reliability will be demonstrated when the government adopts this technology for the firearms used by the Department of Defense or federal, state, and local law enforcement. So far, however, none have stepped up eager to slap a microchip and fingerprint reader in the side of a service firearm. The National Fraternal Order of Police warned that police officers should not be used as guinea pigs. Not a single police department has adopted and mandated their use. It is an anathema on the battlefield where a soldier could be left defenseless if he or she couldn’t pick up a gun in a firefight to defend themselves and others. It’s easy to understand why. The technology isn’t reliable and if it is electronic, it is vulnerable to hacking or denial of service.

This is what gun control advocates won’t admit. There’s nothing that they promise can’t be done through so-called smart gun technology that’s not already available by less expensive and more reliable means. The solution to ending the unauthorized use of firearms is properly applied gun locks. That can be as simple as the cable locking device that comes with the firearm, which the firearm industry has provided in the gun case when they’re sold at retail. There are other options too, like trigger locks, lockboxes, or safes.

President Biden and his collaborators in Silicon Valley should take a drive through the rest of America. Americans prefer their elected officials to be a little smarter and their firearms to be left alone.


About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org

National Shooting Sports Foundation

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loveaduck
loveaduck
10 days ago

It’s a great way to use taxpayers money in a new throwaway.

buzzsaw
buzzsaw
10 days ago

How about NSSF members band together and refuse to sell to any government that which is forbidden to the citizens of that jurisdiction?

Get Out
Get Out
10 days ago

Nope, I’ll pass on the smart gun. The guns we have now have been around a long time and still function as intended. Eff’em.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
10 days ago

I think they should have smart guns for government agencies only but it needs to put the information on the bullet so we know for sure when cops or whoever is enforcing the law (UN) goes into a frenzy with multiple shooters who it was that actually fired the fatal shot that killed the person that lived next door to the druggie house they were actually supposed to invade late at night with a no knock policy.

mlhtd51
mlhtd51
10 days ago

Just wait Until You need to Shoot and You Receive this message, I Didn’t Understand Your Last Request Please Try Again.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
10 days ago
Reply to  mlhtd51

LOL, are you sure the gun isn’t going to ask you if you are sure you want to delete this criminal two or three times??

Last edited 10 days ago by musicman44mag
Wass
Wass
10 days ago

If an I-Phone doesn’t open 100% of the time with a thumb print, and you use your phone more than you’ll ever use a gun, why would you want to bet your life on a smart gun? I’m unopposed to further research, but if a viable prototype emerges, try it out first on law enforcement or the military. Until then, fuhgettabouit!

MICHAEL J
MICHAEL J
10 days ago

Wait a minute, didn’t a signature gun save James Bond? These politician and bureaucrat morons now use fantasy to conjure laws.

jim13a
jim13a
10 days ago

Nobody is looking at the real reason for smart guns. You can bet there will be a hidden kill switch to wirelessly disable the gun when you will need to protect yourself from the government from killing you and your family. Anything electronic can be hacked, bet on it. This is how the cowards in congress will protect themselves from we the people. They don’t care if we kill each other, just don’t kill the government leaders.

Last edited 10 days ago by jim13a
musicman44mag
musicman44mag
10 days ago
Reply to  jim13a

Ya, it’s called Onstar!

gregs
gregs
10 days ago

leftists are incapable of dealing with reality, have been for many years. they are also incapable of telling the truth, if they did no one would vote for them again. doubt me, pick a subject and ask me.

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
10 days ago

Let see…the cost allows what is left of middle class familes to afford one. There are six family members all capable of using a firearm for protection. The youngest member is 6 and then 8, 9,12 and the wife and husband. The husband is the one that the smart gun is tagged to. He is away at work under some house in Texas fixing frozen water pipes. Someone decides to invade his home while gone..>WAAAALLLLAAAA< NOT a single person in the house can use the $2500 smart gun because DAD is the one it is tagged to and he isn’t… Read more »

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
10 days ago
Reply to  CourageousLion

Which is why you will need to disable it or hack it to make it work right.

ArtP
ArtP
10 days ago

I will consider a “smart gun” when the Presidential security detail is carrying them.

gregs
gregs
10 days ago
Reply to  ArtP

yea, lead by example. secret service, batfe, fbi, and capital police also.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
10 days ago
Reply to  gregs

lets not forget to add BATF to that list.

TStheDeplorable
TStheDeplorable
10 days ago

“Smart gun technology” is just a punitive measure by the left to raise the price of firearms as a giant F-U to the “bitter clingers” of the right. It’s as disingenuous as the $200 “tax” on NFA-restricted firearms was when it was passed; it was designed to price the majority of people out of the market. Anyone with a Dremel can defeat microstamping in five minutes. Any electronic device can be easily defeated. Criminals will not be dissuaded. Only good people will forego obtaining firearms, due to the price increases. And, the firearms industry will be rocked by the huge… Read more »

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
10 days ago

Ya, and they hope they will say forget it and close their doors. In kommiefornia, they decide which hand guns you are allowed to buy. What do you want to bet that most of these smart guns will not pass the test but just before it becomes law, Nancy and AOC biden and kamalatoe will invest in one smart gun company. That one will pass for sure.

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