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Can technology help make firearms safer?

Safer Firearms... Can Technology Help?

Date: 15-09-2014
Author: Sam Totham

While I imagine some people envisage new technology going into making new, sci-fi laser firing guns most of the research and development going into new firearm technology goes into improving safety.


iP1 Handgun

The ideas and available technology for smart guns and accessories has been hovering around for a while, including several James Bond films, but now there is now achievable ideas being developed by several global companies. The iP1 handgun created by German company Armatix relies on a matching watch that contains a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip being within a 40cm radius or the gun will not operate.


The Intelligun by Kodiak Industries includes a fingerprint scanner on the grip of the gun, which will then scan your finger when the gun is held and authorise the correct people. More than one person can be authorised on the gun and optionally a manual key can be used to disengage the security feature.

Smart lock

Trigger locks, or “smart locks”, are devices that are locked onto the trigger of the gun preventing it from firing, the locks are then disengaged usually with either a fingerprint scan or manual key lock.

Magnetic lock

A slightly more old-fashioned technique is the installation of a magnetic lock on the gun’s firing mechanism, this is then disengaged only if the user is wearing a corresponding ring containing the opposing magnet.


In the USA there has been typically opposing opinions. Some gun control activists support the idea as they consider the smart guns safer than normal equivalents. The Innovation Initiative was set up by parents affected by the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012 to provide grants and prizes to people who use technology to improve the safety of firearms.

However, the pioneer gunshops that have advertised to sell these devices when they are released have received a wave of threats and hate letters from pro-gun activists who do not agree with the technological advancements to the firearms market.

While gun safety is not the only place where technological advancements can lead to increased security and benefit people it is surely one of the most important, and time will tell how well the modern modifications on gun safety are taken by the public.

Watch a video and find more about the story on the BBC News article.

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