All You Need to Know About Smart Guns

smart guns

Smart guns, also known as “personalized firearms,” use technology such as radio frequency identification or biometric recognition technology, including fingerprint readers, to prevent unauthorized users from firing the weapon.
RFID technology can activate a firearm when within a certain proximity of the weapon—and can be integrated into wearable devices such as watches or bracelets. This technology is not new and is already integrated into many things we already use. For example, toll booths use RFID technology to streamline highway tolling. Drivers purchase a transponder, such as the E-ZPass, that is then used to activate toll monitoring systems when within close range. RFIDs are also used by hospitals to keep track of medical devices and log patient charts.
Meanwhile, the most common application of biometric recognition technology is an everyday item: the smartphone. This technology is use to open a smartphone with one’s fingerprint and is similar to what can be use for smart guns.


Most of the smart technologies being developed for guns could reduce or eliminate accidental or intentional use of lost, misplaced, or stolen guns. These weapons would not operate without their properly paired technology or persons. Components, such as radio frequency chips or biometrics fingerprints, would be required to handle the weapon. Smart guns that utilize GPS, cellular, or other location-based technologies would stop the weapon from firing and would notify the owner or authorities with information on where and when the weapon was used. Suicide by weapon would also likely decrease, assuming the suicidal person is not an authorized user. Accidental shootings by children or others not intending to fire a live weapon could decrease, assuming they are not enrolled users.
Law enforcement worldwide could benefit from the above-mentioned general-use items; however, they face additional issues, including the potential takeaway of a weapon. Weapon takeaways can happen in a number of ways, including a struggle with a perpetrator. If the officer has a smart gun, this may prevent the perpetrator from taking action against the officer or innocent bystanders.
The government understands the costs of creating a smart gun is no small feat, as evidenced by the Report to the President Outlining a Strategy to Expedite Deployment of Gun Safety Technology which states, “Firearms manufacturers will need to decide whether to make similar investments here. To achieve the innovations that the President seeks, one or more companies must determine that the benefits of enhanced gun safety technology exceed the costs of researching, developing, and marketing such technology.

Development Factors

The Department of Homeland Safety Science and Technology Executive already met with law enforcement agencies and developed the following potential issues and considerations to be include as specifications for smart guns as they are design:

developing smart guns

Permitting Multiple Users

Depending on whether a weapon is for use by a family, a law enforcement agency, or even soldiers, one consideration is the number of authorized users, which will vary depending on the needs of the users. It will also have an effect on the type of technology developed, the computing technology required, the battery, and the battery life in operation.

Reliability (Priority Requirement)

The most significant factor in developing a smart gun is reliability. A firearm must operate the moment it is need, and with a smart gun, not at any other time or with anyone not authorize. This is a solid situation to create. Home protection weapons may go years without being touch, but are expect to (and usually do) operate properly the moment when needed. All smart guns currently used rely on new technology.
This is an issue because no new technology is perfect: dropped calls, dead batteries, computer malfunction or failure, etc. In most cases, none of these things result in harm or even death, but when a weapon is being use for protection, by the local law enforcement, or a soldier, it must. When something is made of multiple components, it is only as reliable as the least reliable piece use in its construction. This must be consider for all forms of smart gun development. The more types of technology developed into a smart gun, the more potential for situational failure.

Physical Characteristics of Firearm

Smart gun technology concepts come in many forms; some are “add-ons”. While other concepts create a new gun that is only “smart” and never to be use without an authorize user. Add-on technologies operate on or inside existing guns, such as trigger guards or replacing internal firing mechanisms with user-authorized technology.

Maintenance and Repair

Current guns have an often-overlooked maintenance schedule that rarely affects the operation of the weapon. This would likely drastically change with smart weapons. Maintaining a charge to battery-operated components. Preventing circuit corrosion, or any number of other items will be dependent on the design of the smart gun.

Ease and Predictability of Use

Ease and predictability of use involve how natural the operation of the smart gun is to a regular user. Most handguns are simple to operate, though a smart gun must consider more as it offers more to a user beyond firing a weapon. One must control the authorized users, operational component configuration, charging, and potentially much more. This could easily contain the most widely varying options in development.

Power Failure

Power failure, or component failure, must be avoid at all costs. Low power-consuming components, long-lasting batteries, and moving functions that can be execute off the device should be consider.

Speed of Operation

Any smart gun technology should be seamless and as fast as a weapon without the added technology. This concept will reduce the amount and type of technologies that can be design into a gun.


Smartphones are unlock with a fingerprint to deter unwanted access. A push-to-start car won’t drive unless the key is within range. Likewise, the technology to improve firearm safety standards exists; yet the United States is behind the curve. For far too long, technology has been use to make guns increasingly more dangerous. While the technology to make them safer lags behind. Smart guns can be use in addition to other prevention methods to reduce gun violence in the United States. If one more life is save from unintentional shootings or one less stolen gun is use to commit a crime. The technology is worth the investment.

What do you think?

Written by Muzammil Khan

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