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Smart Tech Firearm Challenge offers US$1m to advance gun safety


February 2, 2014

By offering substantial rewards for technological solutions to gun safety, the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation believes it can make a safer country without compromising 2nd Amendment Rights

By offering substantial rewards for technological solutions to gun safety, the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation believes it can make a safer country without compromising 2nd Amendment Rights

While legislative solutions to curbing gun violence in the US continue to meet fervent opposition, the Smart Tech Foundation, formed to incentivize free-market solutions to firearm safety, aims to take a different route. Through its Smart Tech for Firearms Challenge, it believes circumventing the political debate and fostering innovation in smart gun technology is a viable way to move toward a safer society.

Launched in California last week, the global challenge identifies four different categories as key pillars in the effort to reduce gun violence and offers US$1 million in grants and prize money for each.

The first category, Smart Tech For Firearms, for which it is currently taking applications, is centered on technology that reliably authorizes approved use. With 1.4 million firearms stolen during burglaries between 2005 and 2010 in the US according to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands, or making them worthless if they do, forms an integral part of the foundation's vision.

The other three categories, which will open up for applications sometime later this year, include; Smart Tech for Big Data, which looks to develop ways to optimize law enforcement patrol routes and gunshot detection using big data and predictive analytics; Smart Tech for Brain Health, which looks to promote innovation "in the fields of mental health, neurology and optimized intervention" and; Smart Tech for Community Safety, which is focused on crisis response and crowd-based alert networks for safer schools and communities.

The Armatix intelligent pistol, which we looked at in 2010, is an example of the type of thinking the challenge is looking to encourage. Users identify themselves via a fingerprint sensor on a custom wristwatch, which in turn sends a signal to to the gun and enables it for use.

In offering substantial rewards for technological solutions to gun safety, the foundation believes it can make a safer country for all, without compromising the constitutional rights valued by so many.

"By incentivizing the creation of free-market solutions that reduce gun violence, we can speed up the discovery of innovative technologies to make America safer without altering 2nd Amendment rights," its website states.

The foundation is taking applications for the Smart Tech for Firearms challenge up until March 31, 2014, with the remaining three to follow throughout the year.

Source: Smart Tech Challenges Foundation

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars

Its a catch 22 for smart weapons, because ownership and intent are separate things. So incorporating fingerprint scanner into the handle will only make a firearm work for the individual. But it does not control how he will discharge it and at whom. Additionally, in a self defense scenario with a quick draw, will the scanner succeed in authorizing the user in time to defend himself.

The best way is all new firearms built with removable dongles. Dongle will only work if inserted into the firearm. Dongle is highly detectable through a radiological print (radium source). Coded for the user. Detectable from a distance.

Then you can have firearm free zones where you leave your dongle at the door and hold on to your piece.

Of course people will modify firearm to bypass the dongle which is their given right. But that can be managed administratively through long jail sentences.

For 'touching you from afar' weapons like rifles, impose a dongle free zone from beyond its usable range. Make them forbidden in towns and cities.

As for old firearms and sharp sticks, required aftermarket modifications to continue to hold license. Failure to comply is managed administratively.


"Legislative solutions" to curb gun violence in the U.S. meet "fervent opposition" because just about every "legislative solution" has been TRIED over the last 100 years or so, some of them many times, in many different places, and NONE of them have worked. And we have 80+ years of statistical records to prove it.

This is really not in question anymore. Insistence that it is does nothing more than demonstrate that the person insisting it hasn't done his or her homework on the subject.

Nearly all "mass" shootings in recent decades, including virtually all school shootings, have taken place in areas where guns and ammunition are already illegal to possess. The shooter in the Aurora theater passed up 8 theaters closer to home, and targeted the only one that actively prohibited firearms. (The answer why is obvious: they don't want anybody shooting back.)

10 to 1 that when the news services reported that recent mall shooting, they "neglected" to mention that it was STOPPED by another guy with a gun. If he hadn't been there, how many more people would have been shot?

More legislation is not going to solve problems like those.

Further, violent crime (INCLUDING shootings, and INCLUDING school shootings) are drastically DOWN from what they were 30 years ago... half of what they were, in fact. While gun ownership per capita in the U.S. has steadily gone up.

Further, I honestly and firmly believe technologies like Armatix are more likely to get people killed than save them. It isn't the prevention of unauthorized use that is the problem. Doing that WHILE simultaneously and reliably allowing authorized use is where they have historically failed.

Anne Ominous

violence in a society is a symptom, it is not a cause. this is more or less like mopping up the blood on the floor, gushing from a cut and thinking it will stop the bleeding.

treat the cause, and the symptoms will disappear by themselves...

Michiel Mitchell

A person with a can of gasoline and some matches can cause far more damage than one with a gun. Imagine if James Holmes had barred the exits to the theater and simply threw some gasoline and a match inside the theater. The method of murder isn't as important as the motive.


Why not design non-lethal weapons instead? Bear spray can protect you from twenty attackers without killing anyone.


I am a certified firearms instructor and know that relying on a safety mechanism on a firearm is dangerous. It will encourage the idea of people leaving loaded firearms around children. Instead of paying for technology that will never be 100% reliable and may encourage dangerous behavior. we need to look at where and how guns are used illegally. Most murders with guns are inner city gang members shooting each other and innocent bystanders usually over illegal drugs. Decriminalize narcotics and the problem will disappear. It worked when alcohol prohibition was ended. Responsible, law abiding adults aren't the problem. They should be able to buy firearms without restriction. Even background checks are a waste of limited law enforcement resources.

Jeff Goldstein

Okay so we disconnect the actual trigger and make this an electronic switch. Then can use a range of option - fingerprint scanner, mobile phone linked, implanted RFD etc Still would need to come up with some destruction option if compromised - I like the Mega city option of exploding but I guess this is a bit extreme and if you forgot to charge your phone one day - messy.


The best thing they could do if the intent is firearm safety would be to have a program in every school in the Country to educate and inform all children regardless of age. The Program would need to be tailored to different age groups and by high school have actual hands on shooting and safety instruction. The mystery and fear would be taken away and most would find that an inanimate object holds no more power than any other.

Steve Northrop

I am sure that no one considered sufficiently responsible to own a gun would agree that anyone has a right to plan to kill, be it by gun, knife or whatever weapon of their choice. That being the case, it follows that the need to own a gun is either for use in target practice and the like, as found at gun clubs, or it is for self defence.

Let us take the former as a given and if it were the only use envisaged for guns, then it would be possible to build a legislate framework around their use in gun clubs, with secure storage between meets and sufficient control over their usage and subsequent return to storage during them.

That leaves their only intended use being for self defence, which is a wholly different can of worms. I don't live in the states and so might be out of touch, but my understanding is that the states with the least number of deaths and serious injury from guns are, counter intuitively also those with the laxest gun control legislation.

So, seeing as the debate over gun control has spanned many decades already and by the look of things is going to span even more in future, why not try a national experiment in an attempt to resolve it once and for all? Chose the laxest set of gun control regulations found in any of the states and also chose the most draconian. Have a period of time, let's say one year, with one set and the following year with the other set (though I suspect that it might be better to have at least two years), or some requirement that climate conditions should be roughly compatible. Let us say either both during La Niña or neutral El Niño–Southern Oscillation climate pattern conditions - people tend to lose their tempers during heat waves, which often come courtesy of El Niño events.

After the period of experimentation, let the number of criminal gun incidents be the deciding factor. Can't be worse than carrying on endlessly wrangling over the matter, can it?

I suggest that the experiments should start with the most draconian, because I suspect that it is the most lax that will win the day, especially if the above evidence is true, and therefore the trial period can simply be extended until it is decided to make it permanent (again, gun crime numbers being the only consideration).

From a personal perspective, the Second Amendment makes a lot of sense, especially considering the way things are going, but that is another matter entirely, well, almost entirely.

Mel Tisdale

Waste of time.

The mfr wants it to default to "fail" to avoid liability. The user wants it to default to "fire" for safety. (For the clueless, my gun is "safe" if I can shoot it at the bad guy, and "unsafe" if I can't.)

Any electronic module can be removed or circumvented, much like cell phones are rechipped regularly. Criminals will do this.

When I need a gun, half a second to activate it is 2 seconds too long. I will dismantle any such crap you put on a gun, so I can use it when I need to.

And it has no effect on the mindset of the shooter. Once he's coded the gun, he can shoot at anything he wants.

Nairda's suggestion of some kind of dongle is the typical retardery from people who don't understand guns and fear them (HINT: they're inanimate objects, like cars or powertools. They do nothing without an operator).

Then there's the billion guns in existence already that don't have this crap.

People who fear guns just need to grow up.

Iman Azol

After Alcohol Prohibition ended there was a 50% reduction in gun violence. Now we have the larger Drug Prohibition going on and we would get a proportional decrease in gun violence by ending that failed program as well. Do I get the 1 million Federal Reserve Notes now? Any modification you make to a modern fire arm will not stop a criminal from taking it apart stripping out the junk and using the inescapable basic form of the weapon of ignition source containment and guidance. Then you have to consider how easy it is to make a gun from hardware store parts for less than 50 dollars you can make a 4 shot shotgun. With a little knowledge you can make black powder with what nearly everyone has in their home.


best form of gun control is education - the earlier they learn, the less likely they are to practice STUPIDITY around guns. guns don't kill people, people kill people. technology can always be hacked, my fingerprint / magnetic key / whatever gets bypassed / overridden or replaced by his / hers


The number 2 illegal import into the US (after drugs) is fully automatic weapons, the kind which are already banned under US law. I don't object to "smart" gun technology, but it is symptomatic of the thinking of "progressives" that restricting the use of firearms to law abiding citizens will somehow affect the use of firearms by criminals.

I'm not going to rehash the issues, but until one of these progressives can explain to me in clear, non-emotional, non-fearful terms how my giving up the right to self-defense will make everyone safer, I will continue to oppose you and contribute money to defeat your legislation.

Thomas Brooks

Once again, people are trying to change inanimate objects in the hope that their human users will not be violent. (sigh) Fix -people-, not objects.


Nairdar, I think you mean a catch .22 situation.

I would think that considering the enormous number of guns actually owned in America, the death rate is relatively low. I would reckon that most deaths are caused by criminal activity.

The government might well be able to disarm legal owners (they did this very successfully in New Orleans, during the flooding. People who wished to defend themselves from looters had their weapons taken by force by the police) but criminals will not be so easy, because they are not registered.

So it is obvious that the wrong people are being disarmed. This happened in England, when there was a very rare school shooting, and owners of handguns which were legally held for target practice had to have them destroyed.


Agreed, a meddlesome Utopian waste of time in Unicorn Na Na Land.

Oh, and after a massive solar storm, or EMP event, when you will really rely on your weapons against hoards of hungry manner-less Zombies, then what do you do? Well, ride that Unicorn hi ho silver away!


Mel Tisdale:

While it hasn't been done "formally", it has in fact been done. We have 50 different states that have been experimenting with 50 different sets of firearms regulations, for the last 100 years, give-or-take.

The result is already known, and quite decisively: restrictive firearms legislation -- in the United States -- does not reduce crime. It is that simple.

Anne Ominous

Why is this article even here?

Does anyone else in the CIVILISED world even care about Americans and their frankly perverse attitude to gun ownership and use?

Keith Reeder

Making a gun usable by one person only is fine as far as it goes. First who is going to pay for all of that added electronics and how long before it breaks down? How long will the battery last? How reliable would a gun so equipped be when it is needed? I own one gun that was owned by my grandfather, then by my father, now by me. In the United States are hundreds of millions of civilian owned guns of all types. More guns in the hands of we Americans than all of the small arms of all of the worlds military's combined. Are you thinking that we will toss them all into a compactor when a "authorized user identification device" becomes reliable and realistic? Controlling a few guns will not make a difference. The senseless mass killings we have witnessed where a deranged person used a gun on unarmed children and others was not caused by a gun or by guns in general. There will always be insane persons living in our society. Like rain or fog it is something we must all live with. The only tool that can be used to combat such evil events are our heads. Look, listen, and think. Many if not all these mass killings occurred in "gun free zones". Some mass shooters are using their own legally owned firearm. I applaud your efforts, be they entirely mis- directed.


To Mel Tisdale:

You also have a very good example of this being done outside the U.S.

When the UK implemented their big gun ban in 1998, violent firearms crime went WAY up... and stayed up for 8 years. At its peak, it was double the rate prior to 1998.

It did then taper off, but it is not possible to attribute that later reduction to firearms restriction because it was falling off at about the same rate in other Western countries, too. Including the U.S., where per-capita gun ownership was actually going up.

Anne Ominous

"In offering substantial rewards for technological solutions to gun safety, the foundation believes it can make a safer country for all, without compromising the constitutional rights valued by so many." Unfortunately this is wishful thinking. Fingerprint readers and palm/hand print sensors are simply not reliable enough. Both give false positives and false negatives. e.g. gloves, cold or hot weather and even if multiple users and sale can be addressed securely the problem of third party authentication in an emergency remains. As for tokens unless they are implanted and automatically fail if removed or altered they are totally useless.

Detroit has shown that wider access to concealed carry permits reduces the murder rate dramatically. Before before the new chief of police's tenure Detroit didn't issue concealed carry permits but he has been issuing them freely and both the overall crime rate and murder rate have decreased. Looking for an technological solution to a social problem is always doomed to failure.


Most gun deaths related deaths are from suicides. It appeals to people because it's basically just a button press away from death. People kill themselves with guns because it's easy. When guns are removed from the suicidal, they are less likely to kill themselves even in other ways. I wonder what kinds of technology could deter suicide by firearm. If we want to reduce gun-related deaths, focusing on suicides would be a place to begin.

Alonzo Riley

@ Mel Tisdale

On re-reading my comment, I can see one extra category that is perfectly legitimate, namely that of planning to kill for food, an obviously legitimate use. However, it doesn't disqualify the main thrust of my point. (I only own a BB gun, so hunting big (or little game) is not something of which I have experience.

Mel Tisdale

I have a permit to carry a firearm. I went through fairy extensive back ground check, paid my money and finished the required class as the top of that class of about 55 people. I carry every time I leave the house.

Beyond that I passed a 12 week NRA Marksmanship and Safe Hunter course in 1964 before my father let me have my first 22 rifle. I have been a shooter ever since. I have a number of firearms. Not one have ever jumped up and shot someone!! Not one has called to me to go to the local school and start shooting children and as much as dislike many politicians and their lies none have ever encouraged me to shoot one of those either. Nor do I have plans top do any of those things myself.

Let's look at another thing. Every year the DOJ publishes statistics of children shot with firearms. Did you know that number includes all the gang members shooting each other up to the age of 21 even though they are legal adults at 18? That is just one way the government skews gun crime numbers.

It is also true that EVERY state that has started "Shall Issue" carry permits has had a REDUCTION in gun crimes and crime in general. These are facts folks. Inconvenient to the gun haters but facts just the same.

Almost all gun self defense cases start at a distance of less than 21 feet. The highest percentage start at a distance of 9 ft (3 yds). I am 61 and disabled but I can still cover 9 ft in well under a second if needed. So am I to wear a watch (I hate jewelry of any kind it drives my skin crazy), put my finger perfectly on my watch AND draw my gun in under 1 second? That does not even count recognizing the threat to start with!! It has been proved in court a number of times that the median age criminal can cover 21 ft (7 yards) in not much more that a second.

The whole idea of a smart gun is silly. Does that mean the many millions of DUMB guns just go away? Does it stop a really bad guy from coming up behind me, bashing my skull in and taking my watch, my gun AND my finger? Smart guns are are only good for the company that invents it, the state or federal politicians that want it and the bad guys that will not abide by it.

CA just passed a law to force gun makers to micro inscribe the hammer or striker of every gun to mark every cartridge case fired with serial number and make of firearm. Revolvers do not eject their cases anyway so that will not help and on semi autos it take less than 15 minutes to remove the inscription with a file or weld or a number of other ways.

What about the criminal that is smart enough to go the local range and pick up marked cases and leave THEM at the crime scene?


There are 32,000 gun deaths in the USA per year. To the rest of the world this seems like mass slaughter (especially for the thousands of children). Yet to the average American they just have no problem with it. Whatever system is invented the Americans still want the "freedom" to go out with machine guns. No rational argument will change that.


Bad ideas are doomed to fail before they are implemented. The idea of a "smart" gun or anything else inanimate is so stupid that it doesn't deserve any serious consideration at all. This is just another backdoor idea to circumvent something regarded as "human error." From every angle of consideration, the idea of an intelligent and well trained individual is the only avenue to "smartness" where firearms are concerned. Redundant safeties, etc. are dangerous and have a greater potential to cause accidents than prevent them. They are cumbersome, frivolous and awkward from any viewpoint except that of an overly litigious, ambulance chasing attorney. If half as much effort was devoted to training, there would be no perceived need for "idiot proofing" an inanimate object from irresponsible use.

Chris McLaughlin

@ Keith Reeder

You are absolutely right - the rest of us in the CIVILISED world don't care one jot about the barbarians in America and their perverse attitude to guns, the 'Right to bear arms' and all the other reasons that they wipe themselves out in droves...But - given their total control of media in the Western world - it is difficult to avoid being bombarded with it. Just take American movies for example; how many covers on DVDs include someone holding a gun? It's frightening how endemic and ubiquitous the gun has become in modern 'entertainment'


Two measures to consider. 1/ Don't ban guns. Ban bullets and making them. When they're all gone an empty gun is just a blunt instrument like a walking stick. Have a listen to Ellis Paul singing 'Autobiography of a Pistol' :-)

but more seriously...

2/ the US has border control. Use it to keep it's citizens and their weapons at home to do whatever they want. If the majority are happy with their gun laws so be it. It's a democratic country. We just don't need them promoting destructive ideas out here in the real world.


What makes bludgeoning people to death with a piece of construction debris morally superior to shooting them?


Re: Iman Azol If you have the pro-gun blinkers on of course any suggestions to the contrary sounds ridiculous. I'm from one of the other countries, where carrying a concealed firearm sends you to jail.

Re: Slowburn Not morally superior, just harder to conceal the weapon and execute. Some years back I was witness to a comical interaction between two gangs that were trying to genuinely kill each other with machetes. After much dancing around each other and some superficial flesh wounds, they were all rounded up by police after the medics patched em up. Its not that easy to kill someone in hand to hand unless you are trained for it. Suppose if you sneak up on someone and bash them with something on the head you could accomplish your goal, but I don't know anyone that would consider this morally superior. Just cowardly.


I want an audio recorder built into any gun which starts recording once the safety is off. This would be a step towards resolving dubious "stand your ground" incidents before they happen. No longer it's just your word against that of a dead teenager.


Kudos to the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation!

All of the concern about mass shootings in malls, schools and crowded events can be mitigated with the right Smart Gun solution.

More importantly shooters can get better and more accurate guns, and completely eliminate the possibility that these guns can be accidentally used by children or adults with criminal intent.

Yes these guns can and will be readily at hand, fully loaded for the authorized users.

Will there still be misuse and wrongful acts committed by those "authorized"? Yes of course, but not mass shootings and not accidentally or by the unauthorized.

We are willing to pay the price for the freedom to drive our cars with many tens of thousands of deaths each year. The price for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms will also be deaths and injuries but with the Smart Gun many fewer then before.


32,000 deaths by shooting every year in the USA. Where did you get that number?

The peak year for homicides in the USA was 1991 with 24,703. By 1999 it dropped to 15,522 by 1999 and continued to drop. The peak year for homicide by handgun was 1993 or 1994, depending on who's doing the counting.

There's been more than 32,000 deaths in traffic accidents (often many more) every year in the USA since 1950.

The number that the anti-gun people, especially those in small countries, don't like to acknowledge is the large population of the USA. We have the 3rd largest population after China and India.

More people naturally equals more deaths, by all causes, also more criminals in prison and more of pretty much everything humans do.

Gregg Eshelman

@ Gregg Eshelman

Perhaps people don't acknowledge the large population figure because that in itself is irrelevant when comparing this kind of data. Saying more people means more of this or that is meaningless in itself. Rather it is the percentage that counts. Regardless of population size you can create an even playing field for comparison by working out the percentage and the rates of things per 100 000 people.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find reputable data that doesn't show USA having a higher rate of gun related homicides per 100 000 people in comparison to other first world countries.

Mia H

Biometrics seems to be a possible solution. Before arming the weapon, either a Finger Print scan or a Retina Scan should unlock the Weapon. Probably during unlocking the standard Safety Lock on Weapons a Fingerprint scan should be taken, electronically the gun should stay locked if the fingerprint does not authenticate the user.

Neo Al

The gun debate has been settled, theoretically and experimentally. No matter. The results are ignored. For many, rational arguments are not persuasive. They hold their ideas based on emotion. Worse, they want those ideas translated into law and forced on everyone.

In Australia the gun debate quickly spread to all forms of personal arms. After guns were outlawed, knives and clubs followed. Violent crimes increased. No matter. It "felt" like the right thing to do.

Note: The debate over arms is really a debate over self-defense versus delegated defense, i.e., individual action versus collectivized action. But I have not seen it identified as such. People against arms never want to disarm or control the authorities, only citizens. Moreover, they want to give authorities a moral blank check. Police are assumed to be in the right, until proven guilty, which is nearly impossible, because they investigate themselves, or are judged by friendly DAs. Every year hundreds of unarmed citizens are killed by cops. Charges are very rare.

In films the Nazis were portrayed as the ultimate uncivilized thugs. Now, the govt. SWAT teams exceed their worst behavior. Watertown, MA was a good example. An American neighborhood was treated like a conquered hostile force. This invasion was a full dress rehearsal for how govt. "defense" forces will deal with all civilian protest or resistance.

Who will protect you from you protectors?

Don Duncan

Nick, Your opening sentence is a slander, and I resent it. You said: "While legislative solutions to curbing gun violence in the US continue to meet fervent opposition..."

The only legislation that lawful gun owners oppose are those that curb the rights of lawful gun owners. Those laws, where enacted in jurisdictions like Chicago and Washington DC have not had any impact on violent crimes committed with a gun.

Legislation in my state HAS had a positive corollary when it comes to gun violence (causation is very hard to prove) and has NOT been met with "fervent opposition" by gun owners. Of course, this is lawful concealed carry. My own city has enjoyed a substantial decrease in gun violence, though I certainly wish my neighbors and I were even safer.

However, curbing guns is not the answer, never has been the answer, and largely without fail has lead to a corollary with MORE gun crimes.

Shame on you for slurring millions of Americans who want nothing more than to peacefully pursue our hobby and protect our family.

Tim McNabb

With respect to all the commenters:

It is apparent to me that many people who have commented are simply unaware of the actual facts, or haven't bothered with the relevant math. These are just statistics, no politics involved. I do not pretend the numbers are accurate down to a fraction of a percent but they are close.

In 2011, there were approximately 32,000 gun deaths in the United States. Of those, about 2/3 were suicides. The number of HOMICIDES was only about 11,000, leaving 1,000 accidental gun deaths.

Note that "homicide" does not just mean murder... that's ANY intentional death caused by another person, INCLUDING people shot by police, or in self-defense. (We would like to think all police shootings are in self-defense but anybody who reads the news with a critical eye knows better.)

That's one homicide per 15,000 people. AND, it is important to note that in the United States, there are about as many legally-owned firearms as people (per-capita ownership has been steadily rising, even while crime has been falling).

So that's also less than one homicide per 15,000 firearms. (And only a fraction of that many homicides from legally-owned firearms. See below about gang-related shootings.)

And that's about 3 accidental deaths per million people (and again, less than 3 accidental deaths per million firearms.)

This shows pretty clearly that accidental shootings deaths are simply not a significant problem, statistically speaking. Compare 3 per million accidental gun deaths to 20 deaths per million annually from accidental falls in bathtubs and around the house.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (and it is beyond me why they think compiling these statistics falls under their mandate), a full 80% of those homicides are gang-related: gang members shooting other gang members, usually over money or drugs. Further, the vast majority of those shootings happen in areas and under circumstances in which the possession of those guns is already illegal.

If you remove the gang-related shootings from the equation (i.e., you are just a common U.S. citizen not involved with gangs), the number of total homicides has now dropped to 2,200. Your likelihood of being a victim of homicide by firearm is now down to 7 per 1,000,000... roughly 1/3 the chance of dying from a fall in your home.

Another important point is that comparing different countries is difficult, because of the ways crimes are reported in those countries. (See http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/Compiling-and-comparing-International-Crime-Statistics.html) What is officially listed as a homicide in the United States might not be listed in the books as a homicide in the UK.

Anne Ominous

The need a "smart tech for anything" category - forcing people to think inside the box is going to be a whole lot less effective than letting cool new ideas surface!

Like @moreover above - that's an awesome idea, but not one that fits the grant scheme.


The danger of having a "smart" anything is that it can be turned against the owner.

1) In the recent protests in Ukraine, the anti-government crowd received text messages on their phones which said: "Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance."

2) In the US, there are politicians seeking to add a "kill switch" into smartphones. The government (or politicians) could deactivate your device remotely for reasons which are defined by bureaucrats. These reasons might also change depending on who is in power.

3) Google filed US Patent #20140025755, for a system that identifies when and where a “mob” event takes place and sends alerts to relevant parties. The patents are titled “Mob Source Phone Video Collaboration” and “Inferring Events Based On Mob Sourced Video“. In this case a “mob” is essentially an activity or event attracting an abnormal amount of attention in the form of video recording and picture taking (Example: Occupy Wall Street).

These are 3 examples of how technology can be used against the owners of the device. Now, imagine what would happen if guns included this technology. If the government (for whatever reason) decides that you don't need to use weapons, they send a "kill signal" and disable everyone's firearm. Of course, the police and government would all have working guns. Just not the citizens.

There's something very wrong when you have two different levels of society (those in charge and everyone else). George Orwell warned us about this in Animal Farm when he said: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

I'm sorry, but, I won't use technology that forcibly removes control from me and gives it to someone else.

Ken Dawson

Ken Dawson:

While it's only peripheral to the main topic, I felt it was worth chiming in:

It's even more sinister when it's INTENDED to be a remote kill switch. Even if you accept (I do not) that "authorities" should have control of a kill switch, what possible societal benefit could come from a kill switch on TELEPHONES?

None of which I am aware. When I first heard of this proposal I almost hit the ceiling. People (as a group) would have to be half-insane to go along with something like that.

I am rooting for the success of Firefox OS: their collaboration has produced first fully-functional smartphone that is not wholly controlled by large snoopy corporate interests.

Anne Ominous

Smart Guns are for people not worthy of owning a gun. A Dumb Gun is the choice for people who are worthy because they are mentally able to act and take full responsibility for acting.

No amount of smartness will turn the unworthy into worthy. 'Smart' is not wise.


Anne Ominous:

When outside forces use technology as a weapon against the owner it's a problem. We don't buy phones to be spied on, tracked, or threatened by our government. Ironically, the most secure systems in the world are old school (e.g. -- paper and pencil or face to face meetings)

I feel that smart weapons could pose many of the same problems as smart phones. You might have outside entities using the devices against you. The only way to avoid this would be to keep using mechanical firearms which cannot be compromised electronically or via software.

Ken Dawson

Any responsible gun owner will take all the necessary measures to ensure that his firearms are secured firmly in a place that is out of reach of children or any other unauthorized persons. This will help prevent the gun from being stolen or causing any accidents. Most gun owners generally use gun safes for this purpose. There are many different types of these safes on the market and finding a suitable one for your needs should not be a problem. You can also go for gun cabinets that are a less expensive option and are ideal for displaying your collection of firearms.

Sopnil Masrafe Sujon
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