Gareth Glaser, CEO of LodeStar Firearms and a corporate executive of thirty years, thinks his new idea for smart guns will save lives. The new smart gun technology, which really isn’t new, would only allow for a gun’s rightful owner to fire the weapon if they were using the proper “token.” Bearing Arms has covered the topic of smart guns in the past and understands that, in the words of David, “smart guns prove people aren’t.“
For those who are unfamiliar with smart guns and tokens, a token is a small object that would “send a signal to a “smart gun” held in that person’s hand allowing for the trigger to operate … [the token would need to be] within inches of the trigger.”
Glaser has suggested a few different kinds of tokens for his firearms, and he thinks gun owners would be willing to pay a little extra for the safety feature. That wishful thinking is unlikely to occur. Gun owners familiar with these kinds of firearms know that tokens, as well as the technology itself, possess some serious flaws.
One of Glaser’s tokens would involve a microchip, which would be implanted between the shooter’s trigger finger and thumb. A microchip may be a hard pass for most gun owners. It may be safe to assume that those who already own firearms or are looking to make their first purchase would be against the idea of needing a medical procedure, no matter how small or non-invasive, to operate their firearm. Not to mention, requiring an implant comes across as, well, Orwellian. Furthermore, what were to happen if, in a life or death situation, the firearm does not read the microchip and a person is unable to defend themselves? When it comes to life or death, people want to know their fate is not left up to a sensor.
According to Glaser, if gun owners don’t like the idea of an implanted microchip, other tokens can be used; for example, a ring or watch. But even then, gun owners can run into problems. What would happen if the ring or watch were misplaced? The firearm would be rendered inoperable. Imagine a worst case scenario, and an innocent gun owner is unable to protect his or her family, because they do not have the ring or watch. They’ve either lost it under the bed or just can’t remember where they set it down. The potential for loss of life or a serious tragedy would increase.
But if one were to unwisely make such a purchase or put their trust in the functionality of said “safety features”, when does LodeStar plan to put this type of firearm up for sale and how much more money would people spend on it?
NBC 10 in Philadelphia stated, “[Glaser] said Lodestar plans to bring a smart gun to market by the summer of 2019. He expects the handgun to cost about 20 percent more than its common counterpart: roughly $750.”
If one forgets about the tokens themselves, there are additional problems with a firearm like this. There is the chance that, if the gun were to fall into the wrong hands, a criminal would easily be able to find a way around the features to fire the weapon.
To illustrate problems smart guns can have, Wired interviewed a hacker in July of this year. With just $15 in magnets, the hacker was able to bypass the security features of a smart gun known as the “Armatix iP1.” By using the magnets, the hacker could fire the $1,500 weapon without wearing the watch that was “needed” to do so. Additionally, after identifying the frequency at which the signal between the gun and watch operates, the hacker was able to disable the firearm by using a transmitter emitting the same frequency.
See the video below.
Though the firearm shown in the video is not the same exact firearm that LodeStar would be selling, these are problems that LodeStar’s firearms could encounter, and gun owners should keep this in mind.
Here’s the bottom line: when it comes to firearms, the best gun is a gun that allows for easy access and allows the gun owner’s life to be held entirely in their own hands.