Lucas123 writes: Smart gun developers have faced pushback from opponents who fear adoption will lead to mandates. But this week, President Obama embraced the technology, creating the biggest customer of them all for smart guns: the federal government. He instructed several departments to "review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis, and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety." Joel Moshbacher, national co-chair of a gun safety advocacy group, said the move this week is "a game changer." Smart gun developers he's spoken with need only a few million to move their prototypes to market, so $20 million would be a windfall for several developers. Donald Sebastian, senior vice president for research and development at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), said federal dollars are the only way to advance the technology because of pushback by opposition groups. For example, when Armatix, a German startup, tried to introduce a smart handgun in the U.S. two years ago, it was met with vehement protests, including threats to burn down a Maryland store that was going to sell it. A second store in California that was carrying it also pulled it from its shelves citing pressure from those opposed to the tech.
Lucas123 (935744) writes "When two gun stores attempted to sell the nation's first integrated smart gun, the iP1, gun advocacy groups were charged in media reports with organizing protests that lead to the stores pulling the guns from their shelves or reneging on their promise to sell them in the first place. But, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation say they do not oppose smart gun technology, which they call "authorized user recognition" firearms. "We do oppose any government mandate of this technology, however. The marketplace should decide," Mike Bazinet, a spokesman for the NSSF, wrote in an email reply to Computerworld. However, the argument for others goes that if stores begin selling smart guns, then legislators will draft laws requiring the technology."
R3d M3rcury (871886) writes "How's this for a good idea? A gun that won't fire unless it's within 10 inches of a watch? That's the iP1 from Armatrix. Of course, don't try to sell it here in the United States." From the NY Times article linked: "[Armatrix employee] Belinda Padilla does not pick up unknown calls anymore, not since someone posted her cellphone number on an online forum for gun enthusiasts. Then someone snapped pictures of the address where she has a P.O. box and put those online, too. In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. 'Belinda?" the person wrote. "Is that you?" ... "I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans," one commenter wrote." The article paints a fairly rosy picture of the particular technology that Armatrix is pushing, but their ID-checking gun seems to default to an unfireable state, which might not always be an attractive feature. And given that at least one state — New Jersey — has hinged a gun law on the commercial availability of these ID-linked guns, it's not surprising that some gun owners dislike a company that advertises this kind of system as "the future of the firearm."
An anonymous reader writes "Armatix has built a pistol that will disarm itself when it is taken away from a watch that sends it a wireless arming signal. The .22 caliber guns will go on sale in the US within months, and the initial price is 7,000 euro. Higher caliber models will follow. To activate the gun, users must enter a pin code on the wristwatch, and then keep it within roughly 20cm of the gun. If the person is disarmed, the gun can't be used against them. Also coming soon this year, civilians will also be able to buy three-shot Tasers, rubber bullets, as well as Heckler and Koch black rifles." This might not be good news for the citizens of New Jersey.