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New Smart Guns Will Have Fingerprint Readers (computerworld.com) 425

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal described the International San Francisco Smart Gun Symposium, and the "Mark Zuckerberg of guns," a Colorado 18-year-old who's developing a gun which only fires when its owner's fingerprint makes contact with the pistol grip. But it looks like he'll have competition. Lucas123 writes: Armatix LLC's new iP9 smart gun will go on sale in the U.S. in mid-2017 and...will have a fingerprint reader that can store multiple scans like a smartphone. The iP9 is expected to retail for about $1,365, which is more than twice the price of many conventional 9mm semi-automatic pistols...
The company's previous product was a smart gun which only fired when it was within 10 inches of radio waves emanating from its owner's watch, but they had trouble attracting buyers. Armatix now also hopes to interest shooting ranges in a gun which only fires when its built-in RFID system recognizes that it's pointing at a shooting target.
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New Smart Guns Will Have Fingerprint Readers

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    • Re:gloves? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:18PM (#53131539)

      Gloves are only one of many problems with this re-tread idea. If fingerprint enabled guns are such a great idea, then they obviously should be adopted first by the police and military. That has zero chance of happening, because the real goal is not "safety" but to make guns more expensive and less reliable thereby disincentivizing ownership, while giving liberals talking points about how the NRA is unwilling to accept "common sense" gun restrictions.

      • Yep. Nothing to see here, move along.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ...and can you show that your fingerprint reader is 100% reliable?

        For most cases, having to rescan a fingerprint isn't a problem. For a gun, if it doesn't go bang when you pull the trigger, you might be dead. That's a rather strong disincentive for this kind of system.

      • The fingerprint reader would also be used for shopping the Ammo Store.

    • Re:gloves? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @06:18PM (#53131799)
      I have eczema on my hands. I have no discernible fingerprints year round due to it. What am I to do? I guess the ADA won't cover me and my 2nd amendment rights.
  • by slasher999 ( 513533 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @04:42PM (#53131371)

    Here in NJ they tried to pass a law to force gun shop owners to stock these "smart guns" and it failed. If people wanted these, they would stock them. For something as important as a firearm the added complexity of fingerprint readers simply increases the likelihood of failure when it is needed. These features aren't safe, they are dangerous and potentially deadly.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Seems like it would be useful in an environment like a gun range where you aren't relying on it for safety. They need to get the cost down of course.

      It might not have to be 100% reliable to be safer than carrying a normal gun either. Quite a lot of people, especially cops and people with children get shot by their own guns. At some point preventing that outweighs the danger of it not working when you need it.

      • Seems like it would be useful in an environment like a gun range where you aren't relying on it for safety.

        A) as another poster noted, the whole reason you go to a gun range is to get more better at shooting the guns you have, so that if you need to (or want to) use them for real later - either quickly like self defense, or more methodically like hunting - you know how well you can aim with them, what realistic distances are, how much kick to absorb or correct for...

        B) Which leads us to a fingerprint scanne

    • Well, I'm interested in the product. I imagine others are as well who want to keep a gun at home outside a gun safe but still unusable by an untrained person who might find it. Could be children, could be a colleague rummaging through your desk (with permission), could be the woman who comes every two weeks to clean your house.

      There isn't any situation where I'm going to snatch up a gun and want to fire it instantly. I'm simply too afraid of killing the wrong person to do something like that. I'm not a

      • Trouble is if you move your hand and break contact, you're out of luck till your finger matches up over the reader just right again. That just right is a tough thing to make happen cheaply. I can't tell you how many times I've had to re-profile my finger for my laptop to register the presence some of the time, nor how many times I've had to swipe my finger for it to be identified. The technology just doesn't seem to be there to do it reliably even without considering dirt, gloves, band-aids that might be pr

    • I would sell these guns to prisons and court houses where guards are often overpowered by the prisoners in close quarters. But of course, I'd still require the guards at the main entrance to carry normal guns.

  • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @04:43PM (#53131373)
    As so often happens with these things you have to do it more than once. If you really need a gun to work at a moment's notice, owning a weapon that may or may not work when you pick it up seems utterly stupid.
  • by Plus1Entropy ( 4481723 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @04:44PM (#53131389)

    Imagine if you had a password that you couldn't change, and you dropped pieces of it everywhere you go. That's what your fingerprint is.

    Not only that, but gun owners don't want additional potential failure points in their firearms. I'm not surprised they couldn't find buyers for their previous watch-radio-wave enabled design.

    • Reliability is the big problem here.

      Yes, somebody potentially could duplicate your fingerprint to use your gun, but it would be so much easier to just get a "dumb" gun, that it would not really be worth it.

      However, this system malfunctioning (or if I forget to take my gloves off before firing) is a much bigger problem because when you need a gun, you really need it and fast,because you usually cannot ask the attacker to take a break, smoke a cigarette while you reboot the gun.

  • No they won't. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marful ( 861873 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @04:51PM (#53131439)
    These things are usually dreamed up by anti-gun proponents who wish to push this technology into law so they can bury gun owners with regulations and thus restrict access to firearms.

    That's what the safe handgun list in California was for, as well as the "microstamping" law.

    If you can make it so difficult to acquire, legally, that the average person doesn't want to be involved due to the regulatory burden, congratulations, you have just restricted and/or removed the right to access that item.
    • Re:No they won't. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:19PM (#53131543)

      If you can make it so difficult to acquire, legally, that the average person doesn't want to be involved due to the regulatory burden, congratulations, you have just restricted and/or removed the right to access that item.

      Even more troubling is that you can get judges all day long that will happily violate their sworn oaths and ignore that "shall not be infringed" "recommendation" in the US Constitution and rule these "backdoor ban" tactics do not infringe by some unfathomable "logic" they pull straight out of their collective ass.

      Anti-gun extremists may celebrate, but they'd better bend over because the same tactics used to go around and/or reinterpret the 2nd Amendment can and surely will be used against the others, some of which you might actually value.

      First they came for the gun owners, but I owned no guns...

      You know how it ends.

      Strat

    • It goes both ways. The gun rights lobby opposes any and all forms of regulation, even the most common-sense, because they fear exactly the scenario you describe: If the government is allowed any power to regulate guns, that power could be deliberately mis-applied to restrict access.

      This is why there has been intense opposition to things like restrictions on high-capacity magazines, or requiring less environmentally-damaging alternatives to lead shot.

      The situation is paralleled in abortion, and has a similar

      • by rossz ( 67331 )

        The gun rights lobby did support sensible restrictions and those passed. Then the anti-gun crowed changed the definition of "sensible" and we (the gun owners) aren't having any of that bullshit.

  • The "Mark Zuckerberg of guns"??
    Really?
    Is Zuckerberg a massive failure too?
    Does he champion a product that fleeces stupid investors too? Okay, that might be a draw.
    (He said draw, while talking about guns! He should be banned!)
    Beautiful, take away the ability to use it the the most common function of self defense but cleverly leave the common use of sick peope available, suicide.
    I submit they ought to name this suicidal gun "The Kevorkian, model 666".
    It's als

  • Would you buy a gun that is as reliable as the fingerprint unlock on your phone? I don't know about you, but I have like 1 in 3 chance of not unlocking at first try. That's a gun that will not fire 1 out of 3 times when you need it.

    And have you ever tried to unlock your phone while being just a bit nervous? And can you imagine how nervous you will be if you are in a life-or-death situation?

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
      No. Apple's latest touch ID is super quick and very accurate, but it still derps out if your fingers are wet or very dirty. If every use was indoor at the range then sure, but that's not going to be the case.
  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:02PM (#53131483) Homepage

    Actually, it's a fitness band that shows the time. It's supposed to unlock my phone automatically if I'm in range. Since I hold my phone with the hand with the watch on it, and swipe with the other, the band is always in range. I'd say 6 times out of 10 it works OK, 2 times out of 10 there is an irritating delay while it displays the password prompt and figures out it should unlock, and 2 times out of 10 it doesn't work at all and I have to input the password. Not something you want your life depending on.

    Firearms are already complex mechanical devices, there is a lot that can go wrong already. 10 minutes after the smart band becomes legislated into existence, evil men will start carrying jammers to interrupt the signal so that other people's (legitimately purchased) firearms can never be fired. Including the police. The criminals, will, of course, not be subject to these restrictions. Not following the law is kind of the definition of what a criminal is.

    • by maz2331 ( 1104901 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:11PM (#53131515)

      Firearms are not at all complex mechanical devices - they are actually quite simple.

      • by He Who Has No Name ( 768306 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:21PM (#53131549)

        And they are that way because we have used hard-won experience earned in blood to spend hundreds of years designing unnecessary complexity and failure points out of them.

        Cartridge ammunition small arms are one of the most refined and matured technologies on Earth.

        The only - ONLY - consistent reason that people have attempted to add significant complexity back into them is in convoluted, ideologically-motivated attempts to make them less accessible and reliable, and that impetus has always been based on the belief that by doing so, their use will be discouraged.

        Notice that nobody hawking these devices ever suggests the military or law enforcement should be mandated to use them. Just the filthy plebs.

      • They are not complex, but they are precision - tolerances are tiny fractions of a millimeter. On parts that can wear down over time, or corrode, or get coated in dust. This is why responsible gun owners recognize the importance of maintaining their gun. If you buy a gun for self-defense and just leave it sitting by the bed for ten years, when someone really does come to rob your house it may well just jam. Or explode and take your fingers off.

  • This is not new, this fingerprint reader has been worked on for several years by several people and manufacturers. Basically, this kid is doing the same thing that the Texas clock maker did, take a object apart and put it back together in a different pattern. It is not a new idea, it does not work reliably and it is just a publicity stunt.
  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:10PM (#53131511) Homepage Journal

    This [time.com] is a smart gun. Did the target move while you were shooting -- that's what mid-trajectory course corrections are for!

  • westworld guns what can go wrong?

  • When someone comes up with a system that police officers are OK with using then I'll look into using it. Until then, if a cop won't trust it with his life, why should anyone?
  • Hell, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <[moc.cam] [ta] [rcj]> on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:22PM (#53131551) Journal

    I categorically refuse to buy any firearm that depends on electronics to fire. A gun needs to work when you need it, with no tucking around.

    -jcr

    • Re:Hell, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @06:04PM (#53131749)

      I categorically refuse to buy any firearm that depends on electronics to fire. A gun needs to work when you need it, with no tucking around.

      -jcr

      Exactly. I'm an EDC for over 30 years, and there's no way I'd ever carry a gun that needs a battery to function. When I pull the trigger, I don't want a low-battery message, I want it to go "bang", period.

  • by ArtemaOne ( 1300025 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:36PM (#53131637)
    Many people don't even like the concept of the lock added to the S&W revolvers, or the magazine drop safety, simply because any extra moving parts on a firearm could mean the difference in a failure that could save your family's life, or not. Firearms are supposed to have simplistic controls, and be as readily available as possible. The videos I've seen at gas pumps or convenience stores tend to show a guy waiting for a fraction of a second for the armed robber to look away before drawing. Holding your hand on the fingerprint reader long enough for it to register would get innocent people killed.
    • I do wonder if there were similar objections raised when the safety was first introduced.

      • Well, that's a fairly generic term, safety. If you mean the kill-switch style of safety, then I think that was somewhat welcomed due to the benefit of being about to carry with a chambered round. Those moving parts also tend to be much simpler, such as a blockage moving out of the way of the mechanics. But there are tons of safeties on modern firearms. Drop safeties, the trigger safety, the grip safety, etc. The complexity and speed of turning them off for proper function is key in how welcome they wil
  • It fires only if your fingers are clean and sweat free, if you aren't wearing gloves, and if the battery is charged. Oh, and there is a delay before the gun unlocks.

    That makes it ideal for premeditated murder. For self-defense? Not so much.

  • What some people may also miss is that not only is the potential unreliability a problem, there's also a liability in having a firearm logged as only usable by you. It's no different to owning a computer that has been hijacked and used for malicious purposes.

    While the physical nature of a firearm makes it less likely be hacked and used in a situation where the owner is framed (for instance), with DMCA making it illegal to investigate a security measure, in a circumstance such as that, it could be completely

  • One of the problems is, I believe, a law in New Jersey that says once they are available they are mandatory. Instead of resulting in a rush to make them, this has so far been a reason to absolutely not make them.
  • How about a gun that, when you pick it up, hold it properly and pull the trigger, shoots a projectile forward in the direction that the gun is pointed?

    Now that's a smart gun!

    Oh! We have those already!?!

  • Too many people see guns are nothing more than a dangerous toy for redneck and right wing a-holes. That's far the reality of it, even if recreation is a part of gun ownership for many. Although I'll not here to try and proselytize the 2A or anything. My point is, is that a firearm is often a safety device as a properly handled weapon can sometimes be the only thing that keeps you alive.

    And with that in mind we can also note that as a safety device the most important measure of that device is that it must

    • Big surprise, I'm anti most gun ownership claims. I suppose I might consider getting a shotgun if I lived in the woods, but I digress. The issue for me is the attempt to ensure deadliness to the attacker, anyone considered "offensive" or any innocent that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The real goal here should be to find some technology that is convenient to carry, keeps the bearer safe in most of the same circumstances as a gun might, and leaves everyone alive and with no permanent in

  • Not this bullshit again....

    The fact is that 99.999999999% of firearm owners DO NOT want this "feature".

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: when I pull the trigger on my sidearm, I want it to go "bang". I don't want a beep or a chime or a low-battery error message, I want it to go "bang", plain and simple. I've carried daily for over 30 years, and I won't carry any firearm that requires a battery to fire.

    I don't give a flying fuck how enthusiastic other people are for my gun to have a fingerprint read

  • I had a gun safe with a fingerprint reader unlocking mechanism next to my bed at one time. When it worked, it was kind of cool. The problem is it turns out a lot of things affect the ability of the scanner to read fingerprints. For instance, humidity. So while the reader might work fine one day, on a drier day, it would not work at all. Or vice versa. This made the gun safe useless. If I needed to get in it in an emergency, I needed to get in it immediately. Being delayed a few minutes - sometimes having to
    • by rossz ( 67331 )

      I looked at those gun safes and rejected them for exactly the reasons you stated. I bought one that uses a quick entry combo. The downside, it requires a battery so it needs to be checked every now and then. Not really an issue since I take it out almost every weekend for a trip to the range.

  • Only works on targets? Good luck with that.

  • I suppose no one should be worried about some way of mass disabling the electronics in a freedom zone so they citizen can't use their given right...

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