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Looks Can Be Deceiving: This "Smart Gun" Is a Really Bad Idea

War Is Boring



High-tech handgun actually makes shooters less safe.

America loves guns. There are an estimated 300,000,000 firearms in the United States, roughly one for each citizen. Sales are brisk. In 2013 gun vendors did 21,093,273 background checks for firearms sales.

Most Americans use guns for personal defense and recreation. Still, guns are designed to kill—so safety and security are big problems. And a new “smart” handgun isn’t going to solve those problems.

(This first appeared several years ago.)

In 2010, 600 Americans died from accidental firearm discharges. The Department of Justice estimates that between 2005 and 2010, 230,000 guns were stolen annually. Stolen weapons disappear into the criminal underworld and might be used in violent crimes.

Could technology help prevent accidental firearms deaths and neutralize stolen guns? If there were guns that only fired when held by the owner, wouldn’t that help prevent accidental discharges? The same technology could also render stolen guns useless, right?

Smart System iP1, a new German-made handgun, just landed in stores across the United States. IP1 uses wireless technology to prevent unauthorized persons from using it.

This may sound like a step in the right direction, but it isn’t. Guns must be simple in operation and work reliably in order to be effective and earn the trust of owners. There are too many things that can go wrong with the smart gun for anyone to stake their life on one.

Smart guns are actually less safe than regular ones—and could end up getting firearm owners killed.

High-tech safety

Built by the German manufacturer Armatrix, iP1 resembles a high-tech Walther PPK, James Bond’s weapon of choice. Sleek and futuristic-looking, iP1 comes in .22-long-rifle caliber with a 10-round magazine.

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