The firearms market is changing with the introduction of personalized smart weapons, which can only be fired by verified users
Η company LodeStar Works unveiled a 9mm "smart" pistol to its shareholders and investors in Boise, Idaho on Friday. But a second company in Kansas, SmartGunz LLC, says law enforcement is testing its product, a similar but simpler model. Both companies hope to have a product commercially available this year.
The news at the moment is about the American market for free movement of weapons, but if the technology is introduced, it will definitely be extended to all types of firearms, from police pistols to shotguns.
LodeStar co-founder Gareth Glaser said he was inspired by the idea of the personalized gun when he heard one of the many stories of children being shot while playing with a gun unattended. Smart weapons could stop such tragedies by using technology to verify a user's identity and deactivate the weapon if someone else tries to fire it.
They could also reduce suicides, make lost or stolen weapons useless, and provide security for police officers who are afraid to seize their weapons.
Glaser acknowledged that there would be additional challenges to large-scale construction, but expressed confidence that after years of trial and error, the technology was well advanced and the microelectronics inside the weapon were well protected.
Most early "smart" weapons used either fingerprint unlocking or radio frequency recognition technology that allows the gun to fire only when one chip in the gun communicates with another chip the user wore in a ring or bracelet.
LodeStar has incorporated both a fingerprint reader on the side of the barrel and a Bluetooth communication chip powered by a phone app, as well as a PIN keyboard. The weapon can be approved for more than one user.
The fingerprint reader unlocks the gun in microseconds, but because it may not work when wet or in other adverse conditions, the PIN pad is backed up. LodeStar in the demonstration did not show the use of the bluetooth communication signal, but it would act as a secondary security, allowing the use of the weapon, as soon as users can open the application on their phones.
Of course in both natural lock technology and electronic technology we all know that whatever locks, unlocks. No matter how much the company says that the systems are inviolable, there is no way not to violate that technology and add. They simply will not be accessible to unrelated users, children, and casual thieves.
In 2014, the German company Armatix launched a smart pistol with a caliber of 0,22, but it was withdrawn from stores after hackers discovered a way to remotely block the radio signals of the weapon and, using magnets, to shoot even when the gun was supposed to be locked.
Advocates of guns, on the other hand, believe that smart weapons are very dangerous for a person trying to protect a home or family during a crisis or for police in the field.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade union of the American firearms industry, says it is not opposed to smart weapons unless the government enforces the sale.