...At Least Not Anytime Soon.
Whenever a tragic story comes out about an accidental shooting, especially when it involves a child, the question arises of ‘What can possibly be done about gun safety?’ The first response that always seems to come to mind, at least for the general public, is Smart Guns. Every time a news agency runs a segment on smart guns, they begin by showing that clip from a famous spy movie. You’ve all seen it. It’s the one where the nerdy, genius scientist the spy agency keeps in the basement gives the wily, not-so-secret agent a gun that can only be fired by him. Then the scene fast-forwards to the part where the bad guy picks up the hero’s gun and tries to shoot him, but can’t because his biometric signature doesn’t match. The spy then handily defeats his assailant while mocking him with dry, British humor. This is the point where the segment transitions to a smart (and notably, non-fictional) inventor who has created a new variation on a gun that can only be fired by its owner and the implication is suddenly clear; smart guns are the perfect answer to the solution of gun safety.
But unfortunately, this is the real world, and none of us are actually James Bond.
So, does the technology exist to make smart guns happen? Clearly. Most of us unlock our smart phones with a fingerprint dozens of times a day. Could this technology be applied to firearms? Undoubtedly. There is already a German gun that will only work after you’ve put a PIN into a special watch (that has to be in close proximity to the gun). Our point here is not to debunk the technology behind Smart Guns, nor is it to delve into the implications that the sale of these guns could have on availability of traditional handguns in the US (specifically in New Jersey). The point is, smart guns can only help address the issue of gun safety at some time in the hypothetical future, once they have become technically dependable, politically acceptable and commercially available. Even if this happens, consumers have to be willing to not only get rid of their existing handguns, but they also have to be willing to pay 2-3 times the price of their “old” handgun to replace it with a smart gun.
Frankly, depending on smart guns to improve firearm safety is like betting on flying cars to fix the problem of traffic congestion. It may be technically possible, but it sure as hell doesn’t seem probable.
Let’s just say that smart guns are readily available tomorrow (they won’t be for a number of reasons, but let's just pretend). If you are a parent that has already spent $750 for a handgun because you desire the ability to defend yourself and your family in a crisis, are you going to now go out buy a Smart Gun for $1,800? (Yes, this is really the price of the German smart gun mentioned earlier) No, no you’re not…you’ve got kids. It is actually quite likely that you will never have $1,800 again. So what do you do? If you’re responsible, you buy a high-quality, quick access safe for between $100 and $300; then you unload your gun and store your gun in the safe and your ammo locked up separately. This is the safest way to store a gun. But, what is the reason you (the hypothetical parent) purchased this handgun in the first place? That’s right, for protection in a crisis. Unfortunately, you just locked your protection away in a box.
If we take a step back and consider human nature for a second, what is the more likely scenario? You spend $750 for the handgun, then another $300 for the safe and then render your gun completely useless in the exact scenario that you got it for in the first place. Or, you keep your gun loaded and in a “safe place” that is readily accessible to you in a crisis, but that you are just certain your children don’t know about. For a lot of folks, this translates to a loaded and unsecured gun in the nightstand, under the mattress, in the top of the closet or in a glove box. Unfortunately, all you have to do is check the news on a weekly basis and you’ll understand how this ends. As of 6 November 2015, there have been at least 224 children accidentally killed/injured from firearms accidents in the United States in 2015. The fact is that each and every one of these could, and should, have been prevented.
So, “What’s the point?” you ask. The point is that we need to spend more effort and energy to secure the ~150 million handguns that already exist in the US and this is not something that smart guns will ever be able to do. However, if instead of purchasing that $300 safe, you are able to purchase a product that gets you the best of both worlds, safety and accessibility, then you are going to choose that option.
This is why we started Veri-Fire--to solve the challenge of responsibly securing handguns while maintaining unprecedented readiness. Guardian was invented to provide personalized safety to existing handguns as well as future handguns, thereby achieving the best of both worlds.
Guardian is NOT a smart gun. It is not a product that can only address the issue of weapon safety at some hypothetical point in the future. Guardian is a safety device that attaches to the trigger guard of your handgun via a custom adapter and preserves the readiness of your handgun while reliably increasing safety. Smart guns may very well be a viable response to the issue of firearm safety at some point in the future. Only time will tell if they can overcome all the technological, political and economic challenges that they face. However, we need a solution for the estimated 150 million handguns that already exist, especially those that people keep specifically for home defense. We believe that Guardian will be that solution.
At Veri-Fire, we believe in the power of the community and encourage opinions and healthy debate. That said, please be respectful and refrain from personal insults and profanity. We reserve the right to monitor and remove comments that do not conform to these guidelines.