So-called “smart” gadgets have become all the rage in recent years. From smartphones and smart speakers to smart thermostats and smart light bulbs, the average American home contains all kinds of smart devices.
The country has gone so smart crazy that there has even been some talk about smart guns making an impact on the firearms industry. One survey found that about 60% of gun owners would be interested in investing in smart guns.
If you’re not familiar with what they are, you might be asking yourself the question, “What is a smart gun?”, right now. You should take the time to learn more about them since there is a chance they could become the new standard when it comes to guns sometime soon.
Here is everything you need to know about smart guns and how they could impact the country in the coming years.
First, What Is a Smart Gun?
Before we begin discussing the potential impact that smart guns could have on the U.S., it’s important for you to know the answer to the question, “What is a smart gun?” Fortunately, smart guns aren’t all that difficult to understand.
Smart guns are guns that contain technology that makes it impossible for anyone other than an authorized user to fire them. Most of the smart guns that have been developed thus far have electronic chips in them that sync up with smartwatches worn by their owners.
As long as a smart gun owner is wearing their watch, they won’t have any trouble getting their gun to go off. But as soon as they take their watch off, they’ll no longer be able to fire their gun.
There are some companies that have also come up with other ways to make their guns “smart.” Some have designed rings instead of watches to sync up with their guns. Others have created technology that allows people to lock and unlock their guns with their fingerprints.
Why Do Some People Want to See Smart Guns Hit the Market?
It’s not hard to see why some people, including former President Barack Obama, have pushed hard for the development of smart gun technology.
Every single day, there are more than 100 Americans killed as a direct result of gun violence. There are also more than 200 people injured after being shot with guns.
The thought is that smart guns might be able to lower these numbers quite a bit. If nothing else, advocates for smart guns believe that they would show America’s commitment to dealing with the country’s growing gun violence problem.
It’s why there has been such a big push for smart guns in certain circles. There are many people who want to see smart gun technology put to good use.
Are There Any Smart Guns Available at the Moment?
Despite the push made by smart gun advocates over the last few years, there aren’t many smart guns available in the U.S.
Smart gun technology has been in existence for more than 20 years. But you won’t find smart guns on shelves sitting next to traditional firearms and firearm accessories from companies like Strike Industries in most gun shops across the country.
The Armatix iP1 Pistol is one example of a smart gun that people can buy. It’s a semiautomatic weapon created by a German company and designed to work in tandem with an RFID watch.
But at almost $1,800, it’s not the most affordable gun on the market, which has prevented it from becoming more popular than it is. It has also come under fire from many gun enthusiasts who have refused to have anything to do with the Armatix iP1 Pistol and other smart guns like it.
Why Aren’t More Manufacturers Producing Smart Guns?
When you consider the profound impact that gun violence has had on this country over the last two decades or so, you might be surprised to hear that smart guns haven’t made a bigger splash. You might also be surprised to hear that more gun manufacturers aren’t doing everything they can to legitimize smart guns.
But neither of these things is all that surprising once you hear why manufacturers have shied away from producing more smart guns.
Back in 2000, Colt and Smith & Wesson—which are two of the top gun manufacturers in both the U.S. and, to a larger degree, the world—revealed that they were going to start making smart guns. It didn’t go over well with gun enthusiasts.
In fact, both Colt and Smith & Wesson came close to going out of business after showing an interest in developing smart guns. They faced such serious backlash back then that they had to abort their mission. They moved away from conceptualizing smart gun technology right away.
Gun enthusiasts boycotted Colt and Smith & Wesson because the companies chose to explore the idea of manufacturing government-sponsored smart guns. And of course, this did not sit well with Second Amendment supporters who fought hard to stop them from making strides in the smart gun space.
Since then, Colt, Smith & Wesson, and most other major gun manufacturers have largely ignored the latest smart gun technology developments. They’ve wanted nothing to do with smart guns and know that they could be bad for their businesses.
Could Smart Gun Laws Lead to More Smart Guns Being Produced?
At this time, it doesn’t appear as though many firearm manufacturers are going to step up and start producing smart guns. But there are some smart gun laws that might lead to more smart guns being sold in the U.S. every year.
The New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law, for example, could impact the way guns are sold in New Jersey. This law states that once gun shops anywhere in the entire country start selling smart guns, every gun shop in New Jersey will need to start selling nothing but smart guns within three years.
This law could be just the kind of thing that helps smart guns take off at some point down the line. But it could also hinder the smart gun movement in some ways.
The law has sparked a lot of controversy in the world of firearms. It has made some people even more passionate about speaking out against smart guns than they were before.
Many gun enthusiasts hate the idea of being told that they have to use smart guns and oppose the law that New Jersey put into place and other laws like it.
Will Smart Guns Help Solve America’s Gun Violence Issue?
News articles regarding smart guns often start to make the rounds online in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting. They begin to pop up everywhere after tragic events like the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
But it’s worth noting that smart guns aren’t the answer to stopping many mass shootings like that one. Reason being, the vast majority of mass shootings are carried out using guns that are owned by the mass shooters behind them.
However, smart guns could help solve America’s gun violence issue in other ways. For instance, smart gun advocates argue that smart gun technology could stop criminals from using stolen guns to commit crimes.
They also argue that smart guns could prevent thousands of children from accidentally shooting themselves with guns each year. There about 5,800 children treated for gun wounds on an annual basis, and about 20% of these wounds stem from accidental shootings.
For these reasons, it appears as though those who support smart guns are going to keep on pushing for them. Even if gun enthusiasts continue to push back against them, they believe that smart guns are going to do a lot of good as far as limiting gun violence.
Keep an Eye on Smart Gun Technology to See What Happens Next With It
In the not-too-distant future, there might not be too many people asking, “What is a smart gun?”, anymore. Smart guns might finally make their big breakthrough and become popular in the U.S.
But for the time being, it doesn’t seem like smart guns are going to end up in stores anytime soon. There is going to have to be more of a push made by their supporters before they become the standard in the industry.
There is also going to have to be more of a push made by those within the firearms industry for smart guns to take off. And it’s unclear whether any of the major gun manufacturers are going to be willing to put their businesses at risk to go to bat for smart gun technology.
In the meantime, the nation will wait and watch to see where smart guns go next. It’s going to be interesting to see how the “smart” craze affects the firearms industry, especially as the craze begins to affect other industries in brand new ways.
Interested in reading more gun-related articles? Take a look around on our blog for more content on firearms.