Gun safety can improve with Armatix’s new technology. The German gun maker, Armatix, has devised a smart gun using a technology known as iP1. The gun owner wears a black wristwatch that enters a PIN number using a radio frequency identification (RFID) that’s inside the watch and activates when placed near the specially designed .22 pistol. A light near the gun’s firing pin turns green making the weapon active and ready to discharge. If the watch and gun are too far apart, the pistol’s firing pin remains locked rendering the weapon useless.
James Mitchell, owner of the Oak Tree Gun Club in Newhall, California is currently the only gun store selling the Armatix’s gun and wristwatch. He believes the system could revolutionize the gun industry.
The iP1 system is sold seperately: the pistol sells for $1,399 and the watch $399. The price for a .40 Glock is $600. Armatix expects the demand for a safe gun will increase and the overall costs of iP1 technology will go down.
For 128 years, gun makers have tried making weapons safer. Before the invention of the safety in 1911, D.B. Wesson, co-founder of Smith & Wesson tried introducing a gun with a special lever in 1886 when he heard a child was injured by a revolver. The feature never caught on with the general public.
Besides Armatix’s iP1 RFID chips, an Irish company called TriggerSmart uses a ring with RFID instead of a watch to activate the weapon. Kodiak Arms in Utah has developed technology that requires the owner’s fingerprint to unlock it. Yardarm of California has a smart phone app to notify owners of a weapon’s location.
New gun safety features can reduce gun violence, suicides, and accidental shootings. People with iP1 technology enter a PIN to activate the weapon so there can be no doubt of the user’s intention. Gun owners fear curious children playing with a weapon unsupervised could accidentally injuring someone. Gun safety may have improved with Armatix’s new technology, requiring an PIN entry into a watch, TriggarSmart’s ring, or Kodiak’s requirement of the user’s fingerprint to unlock the weapon minimizes such accidents and improves gun safety.
For gun owners and law enforcement, there is no greater fear than losing a weapon to theft or in a struggle with an adversary and then having that weapon used by the perpetrator. Guns with iP1 installed transform stolen weapons into an object no more violent than a rock.
Lawmakers across the country who are against and for gun control may have found common ground. People want gun violence and accidents lowered. Legal gun owners insist on maintaining their weapons. In 2002, New Jersey law required only smart guns could be sold within the state three years after the technology becomes available. A similar 2013 measure passed in California. Representative John F. Tierney, (D-Mass.) has introduced the same mandate at the federal level.
The National Rifle Association has yet to respond in public or on its website to Armatix’s iP1 technology. They have previously opposed fingerprint grips for guns that they have called unreliable features. The organization has recognized that smart gun technology has potential. However, if citizens can only own smart guns, does that ban ownership of all previous models?
People in favor of gun rights believe safety issues should be decided by the marketplace and individual owners. Lawmakers, wanting some form of gun control, will propose legislation and will cite safety features found in products sold from Armatix, TriggerSmart, and Kodiak still protect the Second Amendment. No matter what direction the argument goes, gun safety improved with Armatix’s new technology.
By Brian T. Yates