Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Encrypted Ammunition? 909

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the really-bad-ideas dept.
holy_calamity writes "A patent has been filed for bullets with built-in encryption. Pulling the trigger sends a radio signal to the cartridge in the chamber, but the charge only goes off if the right encryption key is sent. The aim is to improve civilian firearm security." Not sure I'm quite ready to trust the average techno-gadget failure rate on something like this just yet.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Encrypted Ammunition?

Comments Filter:
  • by jl2704 (985153) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:35PM (#15613416)
    bult in security for firearms? bullet encryption? sounds like a huge farfetched idea that some capital went to waste on.
    • by cmdr_beeftaco (562067) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:40PM (#15613478)
      Does this mean that the NSA will be able to automatically fire my guns? Don't get me wrong, I like that idea, I just want to know ahead of time.
    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:45PM (#15613517) Journal
      ...not to mention that it's rather beyond belief when it comes to folks (like myself) who reload their own hunting and target shooting cartridges (where you take a spent cartridge, measure it for stretch and stability, then replace primer, powder, and bullet. How on Earth is someone going to talk millions of hunters and target shooters into adding a key encryption device to their already expensive repertoire of presses, measurement tools, and cleaning equipment?

      Also, given the incredible insecurity of RFID technology, it wouldn't take much to "modify" the things.

      To top it off, how is a radio signal of sufficient strength going to get past that much lead? And what's to keep a bank robber or other criminal to carry a small EMP generator to effectively disarm any cop whose pistol is so equipped?

      Man, someone wasted a lot of money with that patent...

      /P

      • To top it off, how is a radio signal of sufficient strength going to get past that much lead? And what's to keep a bank robber or other criminal to carry a small EMP generator to effectively disarm any cop whose pistol is so equipped?

        I will answer these very silly questions in order. (the other stuff, above that, was made up of good points.) First, lead? LEAD? You think the antenna's going to be at the end of the barrel? I think it's going to be wrapped around the ass end of the casing, or might even be the firing pin mechanism itself. Second, EMP? Haha haaHahaHAAHA! Do you have any idea how EMPs are generated, aside from using a nuclear weapon? You have a coil wrapped around a high explosive, you charge the coil with a lot of current, generating a strong magnetic field, and then you detonate the explosive. This causes the magnetic field to collapse simultaneously with the coil being collapsed, causing the field to fluctuate and move very rapidly through neighboring space, thus inducing the currents that destroy things. In part, it is similar in concept to a car's ignition coil. It's not something easily miniaturized, nor affordably carried.

        What IS an issue for concern, however, is the ease and low cost of building a HERF device [google.com]. A low-power handheld HERF device was demonstrated at DEFCON, I believe, and was able to shut down computers from some distance.

        • "I think it's going to be wrapped around the ass end of the casing, or might even be the firing pin mechanism itself."
          The casing would be more plausible (you, like, reuse the firing pin because they're usually sort of built into the weapon, eh?)

          "Second, EMP? Haha haaHahaHAAHA! Do you have any idea how EMPs are generated, aside from using a nuclear weapon? You have a coil wrapped around a high explosive, you charge the coil with a lot of current, generating a strong magnetic field, and then you detonate t

      • by Odin_Tiger (585113) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:57PM (#15613651) Journal
        I'd speculate that the idea is going to be more along the lines of only allowing certain bullet types to be fired from certain guns by certain people. For instance, a round specially designed for military or police use could only be fired by a military / police gun, and only if the gun was being operated by a soldier / police officer. Perhaps a 2nd transmitter in a wrist band or ring on a finger, so there are 2 stages of security. Ring ID's with gun ID's with bullet. That way, in the course of an investigation, they could use standard forensics to determine that a certain bullet was fired from a certain gun, and from there have a high level of certainty that the bullet was fired by the officer assigned to that gun.
        • Perhaps a 2nd transmitter in a wrist band or ring on a finger, so there are 2 stages of security


          I've always felt that was a particular weakness. There are two reasons someone would be firing someone else's gun. Either A- they stole it or B- they are fighting for it.

          It seems to me that any security system that only accounts for A is pretty weak. If someone has the time to steal the gun, it's likely they may have the time to work around the security. Whereas if two people are scuffling for a gun and one of them is wearing the ring/watch/wristband then - as far as the gun knows - it's clear to shoot.

          So you get a risk of the gun not shooting when you need it to on the con side, and the very narrow pro that if someone steals the gun but doesn't have time/know-how to bypass the security, they can't fire it. They can still fire it if they are fighting you for it or if they have a little bit of time to work on it.

          I'm not impressed yet.

          -stormin
          • So you get a risk of the gun not shooting when you need it to on the con side, and the very narrow pro that if someone steals the gun but doesn't have time/know-how to bypass the security, they can't fire it. They can still fire it if they are fighting you for it or if they have a little bit of time to work on it.

            I'm not sure that the pro is really that narrow. I would think that most instances of someone getting shot with their own gun, especially for law enforcement, occur within seconds of it being st

            • I wouldn't presume anything like that about the technology. At best, they introduce a lot of additional complexity to the weapon, and might lower the chance of it being useful when it needs to be (forget to change the battery? Too late now, you're dead!). For the amount that these things cost, owners, both civilian and police/military, would be better off simply learning how to retain their weapon more effectively (or don't let the suspect/attacker get close enough to you to grapple for the gun; if there's
      • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:59PM (#15613674)
        A whole new meaning to the Blue Screen fo Death....
      • by tehwebguy (860335) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:01PM (#15613693) Homepage
        "And what's to keep a bank robber or other criminal to carry a small EMP generator to effectively disarm any cop whose pistol is so equipped?"

        rofl what about the other way?

        eventually we may have to worry about a criminal throwing a radio device that brute forces all the weapons in a certain radius into a secure area -- discharging every officer's weapon in the building.

        actually i'm sure this won't be possible but it would make a cool scene in an action movie..
        • by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:12PM (#15613821)

          eventually we may have to worry about a criminal throwing a radio device that brute forces all the weapons in a certain radius into a secure area -- discharging every officer's weapon in the building.

          Well, the signal is supposedly encrypted so that it can't be triggered by an outside party. But that doesn't mean some outside party couldn't just broadcast a very strong NOISE signal (aka, jamming) on the same frequency, thereby disabling any gun within a few hundred feet.

          The ability to disarm every cop in the building with the push of a button. Yeah, this is a great idea!

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *
        > How on Earth is someone going to talk millions of hunters and target shooters into adding a key encryption
        > device to their already expensive repertoire of presses, measurement tools, and cleaning equipment?

        They aren't going to 'talk' you into anything. They will simply pass a law, which is one of the whole points of this exercise. No sane person would ever buy any of this crap, the point is to turn the screws of gun prohibition one more turn. Raise the price of guns and ammo enough to make it a
        • by Guuge (719028) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:49PM (#15614789)
          Join the NRA people, before it is too late. The ballot and soap boxes rest firmly atop the cartridge box, lose (or willingly surrender as your case may be) one fundamental Right and eventually you will lose them all.
          Guns have done nothing to prevent violations of our fundamental rights. In fact, those who own guns are more likely to let the government get away with worse transgressions. Guns provide nothing but a false sense of security.
      • by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:17PM (#15614474)
        carry a small EMP generator

        Dear Slashdot posters,
        It is not necessary to force an EMP reference into every single post which mentions the operation of electronic devices.

        Thank you,
        Concerned Citizen
    • by pi_rules (123171)
      sounds like a huge farfetched idea that some capital went to waste on.
      Oh, it is, but there's a market for this stuff.

      Three years after a "smart gun" is available on the market citizens of New Jersey won't be able to buy regular mechanical handguns anymore.

      Police, of course, are exempt from this restriction.
    • by creimer (824291)
      Never heard of the Lawgiver Mark III [wikipedia.org]? What's was previously science fiction is now becoming patentable science fact.
    • KISS applies here. Something like this will be false security (and expensive as hell). It is more likely to get you killed when you need it, or make you rely on it instead of proper safe handling. Its as dumb as a gunlock.
    • by Tmack (593755)
      Will the gun have bluetooth to match bullets to guns? Could I then fire my gun from my cellphone? Or will I need a USB cable to connect my gun to my computer to program it? Being radio frequency, what happens in a high-RF environment, does the gun start shooting on its own or does it get "jammed" (or is the casing enough to shield it from outside RF)? And if I carry/own a gun for protection, how long would it take me to recognize the need to draw my weapon, enter the password correctly, then aim and shoot?
  • by rueger (210566) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:35PM (#15613417) Homepage
    The final words of many a young gun owner "Hey, watch this!"
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:35PM (#15613420) Journal
    Do I have to enter an unique 8-digit pincode on the numpad everytime I want to shot too?
    • Can you imagine Chuck Norris diving behind a car, punching in his 8 digit pincode, standing up and firing ... ducking back down, punching the 8 digit pincode, then standing up and firing again?
      • by orasio (188021)
        Chuck Norris would roundhouse-kick the gun, and it would fire the full charge at once, killing all the bad guys.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Chuck Norris only uses firearms to warn criminals that a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the face is imminent. This is required by the Geneva Conventions.
    • Basically... Yes. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by quincunx55555 (969721) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:23PM (#15613930)
      FTA - ...This would only happen if a password entered into the gun using a tiny keypad matched one stored in the cartridge.

      When they are sold, cartridges could be programmed with a password that matches the purchaser's gun. An owner could set the gun to request the password when it is reloaded, or to perform a biometric check before firing. The gun could also automatically lock itself after a pre-set period of time has passed since the password was entered.

      The system would undoubtedly cost more than a conventional gun, but many firearm enthusiasts would surely pay a premium for such added security.



      So, I can only use this ammo in one firearm (too bad if I have another with the same calibre), then while dodging my assailaints bullets, I'm entering in a password. If I get the password wrong, or the solid state switch fails (*gasp!*), then I've got to try again, but the pre-set period of time re-locks the gun. For anyone dumb enough to buy this, I hope your assailant has bad aim! btw, firearm enthusiasts will not "surely pay a premium" as there is no "added security".

      I've noticed this paradigm with new handguns that were designed in the last 5 years. Trying to make them safer so little Johnny doesn't blow his brains out on accident, but making the firearm near useless as a defense tool. Considering ~300% more children die each year from 5 gallon buckets, I don't think "safe guns" are a needed focus.
  • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:35PM (#15613427)
    When will it end? The obvious use will be to somehow keep me from firing my gun. I guess in this situation, civilian safety is the "think of the children" excuse.

    I'm tired of it. Just let me shoot my gun.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:01PM (#15613694) Homepage Journal
      Just let me shoot my gun.
      You might find it easier to shoot something that isn't your gun, with your gun. Otherwise it's like trying to touch your left elbow with your left hand.
    • by DG (989) *
      Statistically, the gun most likely to shoot you is the one you own/carry, so there is some value in some sort of authentication mechanism in a firearm.

      But putting the mechanism into the ammunition is the wrong way to go about this. The fire/no fire algorithm should be in the weapon itself, such that it is inert unless an authorized user is holding it. I can imagine a simple mechanism that simultaniously blocks the firing pin and locks the slide (can't fire, can't even load) unless the proper user is holding
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:36PM (#15613432)
    So, the round is no longer fired via firing pin, but instead the gunpower is ignited by a device in the round after that device receives the correct radio signal.

    So, now your ammo will have to be protected from radio waves. And the device will have to be small enough to fit into the round yet smart enough to store the signal and check incoming signals.

    Is this a joke?
    • by awing0 (545366) <adam @ b adtech.org> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:48PM (#15613542) Homepage Journal
      Not only that, the gun must know the clip order somehow, else rounds in the clip or your pants/jacket start exploding. At least with a conventional handgun, the bad guy has to wrestle it away from you. There are too many things to go wrong with this. I think fire control should be in the weapon (if at all), not the ammunition.

      The fingerprint system and the ID ring system are already working examples of "smart guns". One gun fingerprints you, the other makes sure you are wearing a uniqe ring with some sort of RFID tag in it. These seam to be as simple as an owner-fire-only system you can get.
    • by airConditionedGypsy (703864) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:54PM (#15613608)
      My initial reaction was also one of "wow, that's stupid", but presumably the bullet is fired by a combination of the firing pin (so, the holder of the weapon still has control) plus the radio signal. So, I don't think that guns will spontaneously go off just b/c someone guessed the right key -- you still need to pull the trigger.


      Seen the right way, it's classic two-factor authentication.


      I am guessing that the "key or signal" is delivered from a device that is perhaps embedded in the handle to read your fingerprints, RFID tag embedded in your wrist, or some other biometric.

  • by Nigel_Powers (880000) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:36PM (#15613434)
    I'm sure the bad guys are going to line up to purchase these pgp bullets.

    This is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight.

  • by Raxxon (6291) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:37PM (#15613443)
    How long before someone hacks up a device to wideband broadcast random code/garbage in an attempt to make guns discharge themselves before they should?

    Imagine if world armies had this kind of hardware... load of fun I'd imagine. No need to drop 10t bombs on heavily fortified installations... Just drop one that has no explosive payload, just LOTS of EM/RF Gear in an attempt to make everyone shoot each other.

    Remember Kids! Friendly Fire, Isn't.
  • This could be bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BradleyUffner (103496) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:37PM (#15613445) Homepage
    The first thoughts that came to my head were these.
    "Can it be jammed so it doesn't fire?"
    "What happens if some random radio noise hits and and set it off?"
    "What happens if you aim enough random radio noise at say, an ammo supply room, that could potentially be bad."
  • You know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:37PM (#15613447) Homepage Journal
    ...I think that with firearms, this is the ONE aread I don't think I want any technological saftey restraints on. I want to keep it mechanical. I want it to shoot immediately at what I aim at. I virus, bug or whatever that causes firing errors at the wrong time can be a life or death thing.

    That and if this type thing is installed...what would prevent the govt. from programming no weapons to fire at THEM? I'm still holding on to a sliver of hope that a well armed citizenry is a slight barrier to a completely totalitarian govt. in the future...

    • ...I think that with firearms, this is the ONE aread I don't think I want any technological saftey restraints on. I want to keep it mechanical. I want it to shoot immediately at what I aim at. I virus, bug or whatever that causes firing errors at the wrong time can be a life or death thing.

      I'm sure some slaphappy mod will label me a troll, but if your side is valid, so is mine: all too often it is a "death thing", and it is people's inability to control themselves that results in inventions like "cryptog

      • by aaronl (43811) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:45PM (#15614143) Homepage
        I hope you get modded up, actually. I think that firearm ownership is a necessary and important right. I also think that if you have guns, then you aren't protesting; you're rebelling.

        As for people controlling themselves... freedom is also the freedom to make mistakes. You punish the mistakes, but don't restrict people to supposedly "prevent" them. That doesn't work. You can't use the government to fix a social problem.

        The civil rights movement did use guns, as did suffrage, just not by the general population. The threat of government force through police actions was an important factor. The *protesters* did not use guns, though.

        Once the government is willing to use guns against the populace, the populace needs a way to defend itself. Protest won't work at that point. History will show the use of deadly government force as heinous, but that does not help when you are in the thick of it. Your two examples are examples nearing that breaking point. People were protesting, the government used force, and in one case the people rebelled, in the other there was a lot of legal action, and additional protest.
      • In the Civil Rights era, although most protestors/activists did not publicly display guns, some or many did in fact keep them around. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself never was publicly seen with a gun (I believe), but his hangers-on did have rifles, shotguns, and pistols in order to protect MLK from the Klan and other groups that might try to kill him.

        Some civil rights workers also carried guns when working in the South to fend off KKK attacks.

        There was an incident in South (or North?) Carolina where black
  • by BigZaphod (12942) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:38PM (#15613452) Homepage
    ... for a lawyer after the bullet either A) doesn't work when it is supposed to in a life or death situation or, B) ends up working just fine even in a gun that wasn't authorized for it. Our society just keeps finding more and more interesting ways to keep lawyers employed!
  • by JL-b8 (862188) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:38PM (#15613453)
    DIY Linux server on a Saw'd off!
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrotherNO@SPAMoptonline.net> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:38PM (#15613456) Journal

    ...but hackers who hack bullets do!

  • by onion2k (203094) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:39PM (#15613464) Homepage
    I imagine that, with a relatively simple modification, you could have bullets that can only be fired in a particular building eg a gun club.
  • by Mullen (14656) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:39PM (#15613473)
    Yep, a neat idea, but really, just Gun Control with Encryption. How do I know the Government do not have the encryption keys and some how they don't disable my bullets when they want? There are much better methods of gun safety that are not this complex.

    Here are the only ways I am ever going to use this, if the police and the bad guys do it first. As soon as the police and criminals sign up for Gun Control, I will.
  • by denisbergeron (197036) <DenisBergeron@NOSPAm.yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:40PM (#15613474)
    have to provide a secure key to be hit by the bullet ?
  • by joebok (457904) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:40PM (#15613476) Homepage Journal
    Since locking people up for violent crimes isn't solving the problem, I guess that a better approach would be to reclassify things like armed robbery and murder as DMCA violations - then we'd have the full weight of the RIAA on our side for a change...
  • by Kohath (38547) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:41PM (#15613483)
    Why would I buy ammunition that's designed to fail to shoot sometimes?

  • by ndansmith (582590) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:43PM (#15613505)
    Someone finally made a bullet that costs $5,000.
  • by saphena (322272) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:51PM (#15613579) Homepage
    Surely all that would be needed is a simple dialog box with [Yes] [No] and [Cancel] buttons over the question "Are you sure?", perhaps with a little warning about how dangerous guns are, every time the trigger is pulled.

    With a larger screen and maybe a soundcard, it could popup a paperclip asking "I think you're trying to kill someone, would you like some help?"
    • With a larger screen and maybe a soundcard, it could popup a paperclip asking "I think you're trying to kill someone, would you like some help?"

      MS should get on that. People would really start to love Clippy if he could lay down suppressing fire.
  • by Kulaid982 (704089) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @12:58PM (#15613662)
    We wouldn't need ridiculous things such as this if everyone would abide by the basic rules of gun safety. My grandfather taught me these when I was 4 years old:
     
    1. Handle every gun as though it were loaded, even if you KNOW it's not.
      2. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction - down range, at your target, or down into the ground.
      3. Always keep the safety "on" until you are ready to shoot.
      4. Don't shoot at anything unless you intend it to die.
      5. Don't store guns loaded.
      6. Teach your children respect for guns and what they can do.
     
      I really think that rule 6 is the most important. I'm not saying following these rules would cure all accidental discharges, but it sure wouldn't increase the number of tragic accidents that occur.
    • by ChePibe (882378) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @08:17PM (#15617296)
      Teach your children respect for guns and what they can do

      By FAR the most important thing you can do.

      A friend of mine who is a gunsmith made a habit of taking his children to shoot as soon as they were old enough (around 5). Not so they could actually shot all the time, but to demystify the weapons.

      He would show them the gun, disassemble it, reassemble it, allow them to handle it, and then have them shoot it. Generally, they were scared to death of the weapon, the recoil, the noise, etc. and they respected the gun - they knew what it did, they knew it was dangerous, and they did not want to mess with it until they were much older when they wanted to take up shooting themselves (although he thought it was a bit funny when his 14 year old daughter - who's not the type you'd expect to like shooting - actually became a better markswoman than him).

      Too many parents hide the weapon and never let children handle it - it's forbidden, and once they get a hand on it the first thing they want to do is use it like they do in all the video games and movies, often with dreadful results, especially if the owner has left the weapon loaded.
  • by realmolo (574068) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:11PM (#15613803)
    This is something they should be using their lobbying power to stop.

    "Gun safety" is fine, but how long would it be until the U.S. government started requiring this in all firearms? And, of course, they would have all the encryption keys. And, of course, they would know how to JAM the signals.

    A lot of the reason we have a "right to bear arms" is so that we can fight the tyranny of our OWN government, if we need to. This technology would allow us to maintain that right, but make it completely ineffectual.

    • by bhima (46039) <Bhima.PandavaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:24PM (#15613943) Journal
      do you honestly think the "right to bear arms" could have any effect on fighting the tyranny of the US government?

      How? I'd hazard the guess that you'd be labled a terrorist and prosecuted.
      • by ArmyOfFun (652320) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:59PM (#15614307)
        do you honestly think the "right to bear arms" could have any effect on fighting the tyranny of the US government?
        Look at the Iraq war. It's an even better example than the Vietnam war that a determined yet totally unorganized resistance armed with nothing more than explosives and light to medium firearms, can mount an effective counter-resistance to the US government. Despite all the labeling and prosecution of those in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, there is still an effective resistance. Now, Iraq is not the US, but it does show it's possible if enough of the populace supports your cause.

        Disclaimer: I do not support the Iraqi resistance/terrorists/freedom fighters/whatever nor do I support a violent or armed overthrow of the US government. Every 2-4 years we get our chance for a peaceful revolution, and this system has worked more or less ok for roughly 230 years.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:24PM (#15613944)
    Guns are, essentially, very simple devices. You slam the bullet's back, the powder ignites, the charge is propelled forwards. Simple, proven technology that works like a dream.

    Yes, safety is an issue, but 9 out of 10 accidents happen with people who don't know JACK about handling guns or are in no shape or condition to handle one. Does it happen to expert weaponsmiths who handle them on a daily base? To people who spend more time at the shooting range than at home?

    It happens to people who do not know how to safety handle a gun.

    If you want to "secure" guns, make it a law that you have to store them in a safe place, out of the reach of kids and people unable to handle them properly. But a device like that is ridiculous at best, dangerous at worst.

    So the bullet ignites if it gets the right signal. Can we forsee some "pranksters" running around trying to figure out the frequency on cop guns? What are we gonna call it, warblowing? Imagine a firefight where the cop suddenly gets "shot" with high-freqency radio signals from the geek he's fighting, pretty much blowing his gun up in his hand. Would work, the bullets are "hot", after all he planned to use them.

    There are a lot of dangerous loopholes that could be easily abused by criminals (and law enforcement) alike. If you want to increase gun security, teach people how to handle them properly instead of trying to keep them out of their hands!

    Another example of "why security by obscurity is a failed design".
  • Bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blate (532322) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:29PM (#15613981)
    This is truly one of the wost ideas I've ever heard and it only highlights prevalent misconceptions with respect to firearms safety.

    Modern guns, themselves, are not inherently unsafe. Guns do not spontaneously jump up and shoot people. Guns only discharge when the trigger is pulled; while this can occur unintentionally, e.g., due to a dog stepping on the trigger of a loaded, unsafed gun left laying on the ground (don't laugh, this does happen!), almost 100% of such incidents are due to NEGLIGENCE.

    Nearly all incidents of unintended or illegal shootings are due to negligence, lack of training and practice, or intentional criminal activity. Negligence includes such actions as: allowing unauthorized access to a weapon by a minor, pointing a weapon at something other than a target or a safe downrange area, and placing one's finger on the trigger when the weapon is not pointed in a safe direction. Lack of training and practice leads to negligence; there are numerous incidents of police officers, who, in principle, should be some of the best-trained firearms handlers among us, who have shot themselves in the foot or leg while handling their own weapons.

    At the end of the day, it is the person, the gun owner, who is responsible for safety. When a gun discharges, it is because of someone's actions; full stop. It's not the gun's fault and it's not the manufacturer's fault.

    We also must remember that the purpose of most weapons -- handguns, assault rifles, tactical shotguns, etc. -- is for defensive or offensive use against other humans. Put more simply: they're designed to stop human adversaries, by injury or death. In principle, their use, particularly by civilians, should be very infrequent. I am a relatively highly-trained defensive shooter; I believe that I am capable of defending myself, my family, and my home, should the need arise. But I hope and pray that I never need to do so. I think that most police will tell you that they hope to have to shoot a suspect, but that they are trained and prepared to do so to protect others or themselves.

    If and when, however, the time comes that a weapon is needed, one must be supremely confident in the reliability of the weapon. This means that simpler is necessarily better. When you pull the trigger, you want to hear "BANG", not "click" or "beep". You don't want to have to fiddle with magic decoder rings, tiny keys, batteries and secret codes, etc. in the dark, under pressure, with your child screaming in the background. And a cop can't be worrying about passwords and encrypted ammunition in the heat of a pursuit. He must know that his weapon will fire when he pulls the trigger -- he's betting his life on it.

    The technology described in this article is just another way to make owning firearms more difficult and more expensive. Criminals, by definition, have no regard for laws. You can make all guns illegal and the bad guys will still find a way to arm themselves. Look at Chicago or Washington, DC for prime examples. Those of you in Austraila and Britian have seen a rise in violent crime, including home invasions and broad-daylight robberies, since you banned guns.

    The technological achievement expressed in this article is impressive. I'm happy that people are exploring the uses of modern computer and cryptographic techniques. But be skeptical and wary as well... Your rights are at stake here.

  • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @01:31PM (#15614002) Homepage Journal
    The JPFO says no. [jpfo.org]

    -Peter
  • by sobiloff (29859) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:53PM (#15614823)
    I think shortly before Y2K Remington came out with a new rifle system they called "EtroniX." It was inspired by a system developed by Voere in the 80's, and used electrically fired primers just like the system in this article. The idea was that this removed the mechanics behind the trigger, allowing varmint and benchrest shooters to keep the rifle much more stable while firing, thus improving accuracy.

    It was a huge flop.

    The ammo was easily three times as expensive as traditional ammo and the guns were no more accurate than their traditional counterparts. The system merely added complexity (and a battery that, of course, would fail at the least opportune time) and cost without any significant improvement. In theory the system offers an improvement, but in practice the difference hasn't been noticeable.

    Contrary to some of the highly-modded posts above, the system charges the base of the shell that's in the chamber. It takes enough energy that it's impractical to try to set off the ammo remotely. (Think of a weak taser being applied to the base of the shell casing and you get the idea of how much energy is needed to activate the primer.)

    The only problem with this idea, aside from its sheer impracticality, is that HCI and its ilk will now start telling the UN and governments that they *must* adopt this system since it'll prevent all sorts of bad behaviors. Hogwash!
  • by BobSutan (467781) on Tuesday June 27, 2006 @02:54PM (#15614832)
    I guess they need to roll this out en mass for those that use firearms on a daily basis in order to make sure its safe for civilian use. I'll tell ya what. How about you do all the field testing with the police and military and then come talk to me.

    Oh, what's that? Their firearms are already safe? Oh, well then if our existing firearms are already good enough for the police and military then it must be good enough for me!

Weekends were made for programming. - Karl Lehenbauer

Working...