A gun control group protesting the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday fizzled out when they discovered that they were protesting a position that no one in the gun industry holds.

Local leaders of a national gun safety effort gathered in Newtown Thursday morning to ask the National Shooting Sports Foundation to help end a campaign aimed at keeping personalized guns, or “smart guns,” off the market.

The thing, is, the NSSF isn’t opposed to so-called smart guns, and never had been.

Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for NSSF, said the group is mistaken about his foundation’s stance on the issue.

“We’re not opposed to the development of the so-called ‘smart gun,'” he said. “We believe the marketplace should decide (the viability of such technology) and there should be no mandate in regards to its use.”

Quick… deploy the Picard!

The NSSF’s position is similar to the position on so-called “smart guns” held by the National Rifle Association:

The NRA doesn’t oppose the development of “smart” guns, nor the ability of Americans to voluntarily acquire them. However, NRA opposes any law prohibiting Americans from acquiring or possessing firearms that don’t possess “smart” gun technology.

These confused clergymen were attacking the gun industry from a position of ignorance, thanks to a media that routinely lies about the issue, as evidenced in a simply Google search.

Here in reality, we know that many of the major firearms manufacturers (and quite a few smaller shops) have dabbled with various attempted at personalized weapons for more than 60 years. The “problem” is that these smart guns simply aren’t commercially viable. 

While there is a very small cadre of gun owners that might be interested in the technology, the overwhelming majority don’t want to substantially increase the cost of their firearms to decrease their reliability, which is precisely where we are with the technology at this time.

The only people pushing smart guns are gun control activists, and left-wing politicians… people who won’t be buying any guns in the first place.

This particular group of activists in Newtown harassing the NSSF wants the industry to invest considerable time and money in promoting products that the industry’s research shows consumers don’t want.

Let’s look the value proposition the way a customer would.

The (fictional) Schniderman 9mm pistol is a top-selling compact self-defense pistol with a reputation for decent accuracy and  impressive reliability, and retails for $450-$500 on the current market. It is a solid and dependable design, that simply works.

A “smart” Schniderman 9mm build with technology similar to that of the current generation of Armatix “smart guns” RFID technology would incorporate electronics in both the firearm and a watch that a user must wear on the firing hand at all times for the gun to work.

The gun/watch combo retails for $1,500, and the PIN code must be entered into the watch every eight hours for the gun to remain functional. Unfortunately, since the “smart” Schniderman is a proximity based system, the owner has to move the watch from one hand to the other to practice one-handed shooting, or the gun won’t fire.

You’re the consumer. You can pay $500 for a regular Schniderman that always goes “bang” every time you pull the trigger, or $1,500 for a “smart” Schniderman that only works if you have the accompanying watch, the PIN entered correctly, and in the watch hand only.

Isn’t it obvious why no one wants a $1,500 “smart” Schniderman, or for that matter probably not even a $300 “smart” Schniderman?

Gun owners view the smart gun “advances” of the last 60 years as performance penalties. Until “smart” guns start adding to performance (say, the way that TrackingPoint will be doing at the NSSF’s SHOT Show next week), then they will have no commercial viability.