Recently, California firearm stores have a new addition to store shelves: a ‘smart gun’ that requires a black waterproof watch. Without the watch, the gun simply won’t fire.

Gun manufacturers have used advanced technology to implant an electronic chip inside the handgun. This enables the watch and handgun to communicate, which means if they are within close proximity to one another, the gun’s grip turns green, indicating the gun is acceptable to fire. Without this authoritative green light, the gun is rendered useless, making it no more than an expensive, highly polished piece of steel.

A long-time dream for gun-control proponents, the Armatix iP1 is the first ‘smart gun’ in the U.S. Proponents of this ‘smart’ technology compare it to a car’s air bag deploying, helping reduce accidental and unnecessary shootings.

Gun rights advocates strongly oppose this technology and the states that are moving to require ‘smart gun’ technology be mandated. In fact, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has stated that “government mandates that require the use of expensive, unreliable features, such as grips that would read your fingerprints before the gun will fire,” should be unconstitutional. The NRA has further stated, “The NRA recognizes that the ‘smart guns’ issue clearly has the potential to mesh with the anti-gunner’s agenda, opening the door to a ban on all guns that do not possess the government-required technology.”

Furthermore, Armatix uses RFID chips, which are often found attached to clothing’s anti-theft tags. TriggerSmart, a ‘smart gun’ company that also uses this technology utilizes a ring instead of a watch and also possesses advanced technology that renders guns useless near specific electronic markers, which can be placed on public buildings and in schools.

Yet, other companies are taking different security approaches. Kodiak Arms is creating Intelligun, which can be unlocked with registered fingerprints and other manufacturers are incorporating voice recognition software.

The Violence Policy Center, which is known as a strong advocate against gun violence, believes this ‘smart’ technology will not decrease homicide numbers, as most murders occur between people that know one another. With some technologies being touted as add-ons for existing guns, the Violence Policy Center also questions whether this will reduce the number of firearm thefts.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation conducted a study last year and only a mere 14-percent of Americans said they would ever consider purchasing one of these technology-driven handguns. Of course the question of whether these ‘smart’ devices will sell remains in the hands of consumers.

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