Bridging the Gap Between Gun Safety and Technology

After the tragedy at Sandy Hook an initiative took hold to explore technological solutions to address the issue of gun safety. Part of that outgrowth has blossomed into the creation of the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation. The Smart Tech Challenges Foundation was formed by key technology investors along with the backing of several Silicon Valley influencers. The overarching goal of the foundation is to promote free market solutions through grants and investments in innovations and entrepreneurship.

Major weapons makers have explored “smart” technology since the 90’s. While a few prototypes have been produced, none have made it to market. In fact one company, Beretta, has gone so far as to publicly reject smart weapons as “neither advisable nor feasible.” Anti-gun proponents also reject smart technology due to safety concerns being that the technology is unreliable and would promote irresponsible usage.

The Smart Tech Challenges Foundation hopes that maturation in fingerprint identification and biometrics has reached a point that their inclusion on weapons will prevent further accidents and tragedies. Other avenues of smart technology for weapons are taking different approaches with magnets worn in ring or bracelet configuration that causes a magnet to disengage a trigger prevention device.

RFID technology is also being tested that utilizes wearable devices or implantable hand tags that communicate with a handgun or long gun. Disadvantages currently encountered with RFID and biometrics, is powering the tags or sensors continually for 100 percent reliability. Reliability is one of the large hurdles for consumer acceptance.

Despite the technological and philosophical obstacles, smart technology for weapons holds the promise of safer operations of all small arms. It also holds the potential for reducing crime. In a recent speech given to advocates of smart technology, the San Francisco Chief of Police was quoted as saying, “25 percent of ATF investigations involve stolen guns.”

Further, some advocates suggest that smart technology on small arms would reduce suicides and mass casualty events as well as making storage of weapon safer especially in houses who have children.

No matter which side of the gun debate a person is on, smart technology could hold the key for making America safer while protecting the Second Amendment. The Smart Tech Challenges Foundation hopes that, by investing in a free market solution, smart technology will provide a faster and more robust solution to gun violence.