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United States Your Rights Online

"Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention 1374

Posted by timothy
from the or-maybe-that's-exactly-the-right-kind dept.
R3d M3rcury (871886) writes "How's this for a good idea? A gun that won't fire unless it's within 10 inches of a watch? That's the iP1 from Armatrix. Of course, don't try to sell it here in the United States." From the NY Times article linked: "[Armatrix employee] Belinda Padilla does not pick up unknown calls anymore, not since someone posted her cellphone number on an online forum for gun enthusiasts. Then someone snapped pictures of the address where she has a P.O. box and put those online, too. In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. 'Belinda?" the person wrote. "Is that you?" ... "I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans," one commenter wrote." The article paints a fairly rosy picture of the particular technology that Armatrix is pushing, but their ID-checking gun seems to default to an unfireable state, which might not always be an attractive feature. And given that at least one state — New Jersey — has hinged a gun law on the commercial availability of these ID-linked guns, it's not surprising that some gun owners dislike a company that advertises this kind of system as "the future of the firearm."
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"Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:40AM (#46889385)

    Count me out. No way would I rely on this technology, or the electronics, or the battery.

    When I pull the trigger I don't want to hear a "beep" that's the equivalent of the Blue Screen of Death.

    Thanks, but NO FUCKING THANKS.

  • by Kohath (38547) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:42AM (#46889415)

    a gun that might not fire.

    Sounds like a good gun for the police to use. Get back to us when every police officer in the country has one of these and is forbidden to use a traditional weapon.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:43AM (#46889425)

    The criminal is surrounded by cops... no escape. The cops yell "slowly, take off your watch.... no, you don't have to put your gun down, but you HAVE TO REMOVE YOUR WATCH... NOW!"

  • by hypergreatthing (254983) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:44AM (#46889437)

    Just mandate that the police force has to use it. Once it's been fully adopted and vetted, i'm sure us normal citizens would enjoy the chance to buy it.

    Other than that, who cares?

    • by sandytaru (1158959) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:50AM (#46889535) Journal
      That's actually a good solution. One of the concerns police have is a criminal disarming them (or just making a grab for their weapon). This would ensure that only an officer actually gets to fire the gun if the situation warrants it. If a suspect snags it from them in am altercation, it's useless.
      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday May 01, 2014 @11:13AM (#46889837) Homepage Journal

        That's actually a good solution. One of the concerns police have is a criminal disarming them (or just making a grab for their weapon). This would ensure that only an officer actually gets to fire the gun if the situation warrants it. If a suspect snags it from them in am altercation, it's useless.

        Yep, and in spite of that police will refuse to accept this technology. Weighed against a gun grab, they'll vote for the weapon that is more likely to work for them when they need it. To combat gun grabs they'll continue to use retention holsters and train to defend their gun.

        You may not know, but another technology in this vein (gun grab protection) is already in production and widely available. It's a more sensible and less risky approach... and by and large police officers don't like it. The technology in question is the "magazine safety". It blocks the trigger press unless a magazine is fully inserted. The idea is that if an officer ends up in a wrestling match they can reach down and hit the exposed magazine release, disabling their gun until the magazine is re-inserted. Seems sensible enough, but it still creates a small risk that the gun won't work when they want it to, so by and large police have refused to buy guns with the feature even though it was designed specifically for them.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          According to the FBI [fbi.gov]11 officers were killed with their own weapon in 2003, but that dropped to 1 in 2012. I wonder what changed.

        • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @01:47PM (#46892037) Homepage

          The technology in question is the "magazine safety". It blocks the trigger press unless a magazine is fully inserted.

          A magazine safety isn't for "gun grab" protection. It's to prevent a supposedly unloaded weapon from firing when there's still a round in the chamber. California requires it on new handguns. Prevents the "But I didn't know it was loaded" problem.

          The U.S. Army often puts a barrel of sand outside mess halls and such in war zones. Entering the area, soldiers must unload their weapon, then try to fire it into the sand barrel. For a large mess hall, about once a day, on average, "bang".

          When Col. Dave Hackworth was working on the Army's project to replace the 1911A1, he discovered that, over the Army's history of that weapon, it had killed more US troops through accidents than enemy. Sidearms are carried by troops who don't plan to use them. If you expect to need a weapon, you take something bigger. So the Army really wants sidearms that don't go off by accident.

  • by tomhath (637240) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:48AM (#46889509)
    The government could disable every firearm at will. That might take a backdoor into the gun or watch, but hey...
  • by Tuidjy (321055) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:51AM (#46889541)

    For a long time I thought of myself as a gun enthusiast. I kept my old Army service CZ for decades, and I kept replacing the barrel, as I was firing thousands upon thousands of rounds to 'keep my hand'.

    Then I got married, and now my gun stays at the range, where we go and fire it once in a blue moon. Now that I think about it, I have not touched it since last August.

    I live in a much nicer community than the one in which I used to live, and really do not think that my gun would be much extra protection over my swords and bows. (Not that they would be much protection, either) Furthermore, a few months ago, agun owner 20 miles away, in San Bernadino, got killed when he interrupted a home invasion (by unarmed people) He got two, the third strangled him. So three people dead, one in jail for life (I hope) ... which probably would not have happened if he had not had a gun.

    All of this said, I cannot imagine for the fuck of it a situation where I would want a fucking piece of shit that only fires if I am wearing a watch. I do not sleep with my watch, and I am not replacing my watch with another, for any reason. This is a stupid gimmick that will eventually screw a legitimate owner up. And I bet that if you give me two of these guns, the associated watches, and leave me alone with my PC, in my office at the plant, I'll have the gun 'unlocked' within a week.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OverlordQ (264228)

      > He got two, the third strangled him. So three people dead, one in jail for life (I hope) ... which probably would not have happened if he had not had a gun.

      It still would have happened, but the only death would have been his.

    • by stoploss (2842505) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @11:33AM (#46890139)

      I live in a much nicer community than the one in which I used to live, and really do not think that my gun would be much extra protection over my swords and bows. (Not that they would be much protection, either) Furthermore, a few months ago, agun owner 20 miles away, in San Bernadino, got killed when he interrupted a home invasion (by unarmed people) He got two, the third strangled him. So three people dead, one in jail for life (I hope) ... which probably would not have happened if he had not had a gun.

      First off, I will give my standard libertarian disclaimer that I don't care what you do as long as you don't try to compel me to do what you think is best. So, fair enough you believe you have no use for a firearm anymore. Great, just don't try to prevent me from owning and using firearms for my own protection.

      As for your anecdote, I would take the odds of potentially only stopping 2 out of 3 while defending my family with my firearm. Because, you know, home invaders aren't your typical burglars (cf. Wichita Massacre [wikipedia.org]). Home invaders are more like rabid animals—normally burglars have a fear of being discovered. Home invaders, like rabid animals, somehow lack that fear and are willing to enter the home while people are present. Witnesses... something every criminal wants.

      If someone forces their way into my home, their right to live is forfeit in favor of my right and duty to protect my family.

  • by haapi (16700) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:57AM (#46889635)

    "Weapon Shops of Isher" (A.E.Van Vogt) or the Harry Harrison "Deathworld" novels.

  • Fun fun fun... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ErichTheRed (39327) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @11:33AM (#46890133)

    My personal opinion is that the second amendment is dated and no one should be allowed to personally own a gun. BUT, I'm aware that there's a huge collection of libertarians, rednecks, whatever who feel they need one. So changing the Constitution is out of the question. Anyone trying that will get the rednecks at their doorstep just like this person did. Either the South and most of the West will secede again, or they'll try to take over.

    The problem with the US is that we're way bigger than we were in 1789, and have 300+ million we need to keep happy. We also have little need for an unorganized militia, although the more survivalist among us might disagree on that one. The reality is that gun use is very different in urban areas than it is in cities. In the country, people go shootin' at some food. In cities, they're used primarily in crimes and by the mentally ill to wreak havoc. This is why mayors ban handguns -- not because they think it'll do anything, but because they can't be seen as contributing to the problem.

    Anecdotal example about differing opinons -- someone I know who grew up in an urban area moved out to a rural location. Over the years I've known him, he's gone full-on libertarian and is constantly railing against gun control. I have no idea what changed, but I guess it's the differing way guns are viewed. Country = useful tools, city = aids to criminal activity.

    I've never had the desire to own a gun, nor do I see the appeal. However, like I said, I realize we're stuck with this state of affairs. It does not make the gun lobby look good in the public eye when someone attempting to make gun ownership safer is threatened by a bunch of kooks. I don't see the anti-gun movement making death threats on gun owners. Even if the people making these threats are only a small sample of the pro-gun group, they sure make a bad impression.

  • by MadCow42 (243108) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @11:53AM (#46890409) Homepage

    So what if all the privately-held weapons in the USA were of this type? do you think that someone (... some 3-letter acronym, maybe... ahem) might design a gun jamming system? What good is the right to bear arms if someone else can simply shut them off on you? Sorry, no go - at least from a mandated-use standpoint. Sure, I can see it being nice for some people who CHOOSE to use it, but not if it's mandated by law.

    • It is very hard to jam a signal between two devices in such close proximity, also since different manufacturers would have different locking systems it would greatly increase the complexity of an effective jamming system. Further if it ever really became an issue, a variety of techniques, like frequency hopping, could make jamming almost impossible.
  • by Daetrin (576516) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @11:54AM (#46890431)
    "but their ID-checking gun seems to default to an unfireable state, which might not always be an attractive feature."

    I'm sorry, but that's the _only_ feature of this gun vis-a-vis a regular gun. The whole point is that it has to be "activated" by some specific method before it will work, in an attempt to verify that only the "right" person can use it. The details may differ, whether using a watch such as in this case or other proposed methods using fingerprints or other biometrics, but the fundamental concept is that the gun doesn't fire unless that condition is met.

    Why in the world would you pay extra for a gun that checks your ID, but then decides to default to a fireable state even if you fail the ID check? If that's what you want you could just get a regular gun that doesn't bother checking your ID to begin with.

    If you don't like the fundamental concept, don't buy the gun. If you don't like the idea of laws being passed in relation to this concept then write to your congressperson and/or vote for someone else. But complaining that the gun does exactly what it is designed to do is just dumb. (And needless to say, harassing and/or threatening employees of the company that sells them is just insane.)
  • Hell, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Thursday May 01, 2014 @11:58AM (#46890499) Journal

    There is nothing in the world more useless than an unreliable firearm. When you need a gun, you need it very badly, and you need it right away. What you do NOT need is something that won't fire if its battery is dead.

    -jcr

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @12:10PM (#46890655)
    I haven't worn a watch for years. Not because of cell phones, but because the straps or where the strap mounts kept breaking on me.(a problem that I don;'t want to have with a gun when a Trayvon Martin type decides he doesn't like my looks.) But when I did wear one, like most right handed people, I wore it on my left wrist. This gun interlock supposedly has a 10 inch range. Why is no one commenting on that? I don't want a bunch of right handed people going around trying to aim guns and shooting with their left hands, and I doubt that many will want to change where they wear the watch (there are good reasons why a right hand person wears the watch on the left hand). I also have noticed that there is a wide range of tastes in watches. but I don't expect that variety of consumer options to be reflected in a device sold to be used as both a watch and a gun interlock. Of course, you don;tr have to buy this crap and wear a junky black plastic or rubber watch today, but if the liberal wackos who live to take away second amendment rights get their way, it will not be long before they get laws passed mandating this technology for anyone who wants to be able to protect themselves.
  • Jammer..? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Captain Centropyge (1245886) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @12:22PM (#46890805)

    Can anyone say "RFID jammer"..?

    Not only will the pro-gun crowd say that a jammer could be used by government agencies to disable their weapons, but the bad guys could easily build a jammer for their own use to ensure their safety during commission of a crime. Imagine cops closing in with "smart guns". The bad guys flip on the jammer and cops can't do anything about it. Throw in the bad guys having traditional guns, and the cops have a serious problem on their hands. Same goes for home invasions.

    I understand the idea behind smart guns, but this is a horrible idea. And as a gun owner, I'll never guy a smart gun. I've heard of fingerprint scanners being easily bypassed, as well. Unless you can tie it to DNA or something, I see no good way to produce a gun like this. And even then, it could likely be bypassed without much difficulty.

  • by Vrallis (33290) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @12:55PM (#46891317) Homepage

    A firearm IS a safety device in and of itself.

    To add another 'feature' to impede in the ability of a safety device to function properly is insane.

    Imagine if the brakes on your car had such a 'feature.' Need to slam on your brakes? Ooops, you were reaching your right arm out to grab your coffee, watch now out of range, no brakes.

    Now imagine the same thing, but in a mugging. You and your attacker go to the ground, including your gun. You manage to reach it with your off-hand. Oops, no bang--your watch was on your other hand. Or, to go with their scenario, the bad guy gets the gun. You grab his wrist, trying to push the gun out of your face--oops, you just stuck your watch within 10 inches of it...bang, you're dead.

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

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