Implanted microchip would allow only police officers to fire their guns

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Jan 8, 2003
AP/Palm Beach Post

Implanted microchip would allow only police officers to fire their guns

AP Business Writer

PALM BEACH, Fla. — A new computer chip promises to keep police guns from firing if they fall into the wrong hands.

The tiny chip would be implanted in a police officer's hand and would match up with a scanning device inside a handgun. If the officer and gun match, a digital signal unlocks the trigger so it can be fired. But if a child or criminal would get hold of the gun, it would be useless.

The technology is the latest attempt to create a so-called "smart gun" and could be marketed to law enforcement agencies within a year, according to Verichip Corp., which has created the microchip.

Verichip president Keith Bolton said that the technology could also improve safety for the military and individual gun owners.

"If you let your mind wander to other potential uses, you can imagine the lives that could be saved," he said.

Verichip, which has marketed similar microchips for security and medical purposes, announced Tuesday a partnership with gun maker FN Manufacturing to produce the smart weapons. The companies have developed a prototype and are working to refine its accuracy, Bolton said.

Similar developments are underway at other gun manufacturers and research firms. The New Jersey Institute of Technology and Australian gun maker Metal Storm Ltd. are working on a prototype smart gun that would recognize its owner's individual grip.

"We're at an interesting age where all sorts of science fiction is becoming real technology," said Donald Sebastian, NJIT vice president for research and development and director of the project.

The technology could also eventually have an even bigger impact on the illegal gun trade, Sebastian said.

The FBI estimated that 67 percent of the 16,204 murders in 2002 were committed with firearms.

"You have a long-term benefit of making it much more difficult for a handgun to have any value to anyone other than the original owner," Sebastian said.

But until the smart-gun technology is repeatedly proved to be reliable, some law enforcement authorities remain leery.

The scanning device could malfunction, the officer's hand with the computer chip could be smashed during a fight or an officer might need to use a partner's gun, West Palm Beach police training Sgt. William Sandman said.

"We have power outages, computers crash. Would you risk your life knowing all those things that could go wrong?" Sandman said.

Verichip's Bolton said those concerns already are being addressed. He said the guns can be designed to work for an officer, his partner and a supervisor. Departments could set routines where the scanning devices in guns could be checked before every shift.

The chip needs no battery or power source. It works much like those that have been implanted in pets over the past decade so they can be identified if they get lost. Verichip, a subsidiary of the Palm Beach-based technology firm Applied Digital Solutions, developed a "more intelligent" version two years ago for humans and estimates that about 900 people worldwide have been implanted with them.

The chips can be used instead of security key cards at office buildings or to use global positioning satellites to keep track of a relative who might suffer from Alzheimer's. It can store medical information that emergency rooms could read or financial and identification information to prevent fraud.

The chip, about the size of a grain of rice, is inserted into an arm or hand with a syringe — much like a shot is given.

Bolton said the company has seen no medical complications and that the technology will only improve with time.

Once the technology is accepted, legislation could follow to encourage the use of smart guns. New Jersey already has passed legislation that will require smart gun technology on all handguns sold — three years after the state attorney general certifies that smart guns are available in the marketplace.

The National Rifle Association opposes the legislation because of potential problems with smart-gun technology, but gun safety advocates argue that the technology could encourage gun ownership with the newfound sense of security.

"It seems that guns are the only product that haven't followed a path of development that leads to greater safety for the user. The only real change we've seen is to make them more lethal and smaller so they can be more easily concealed," said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "This is one of the steps that hasn't been taken and we think this debate is one that needs to take place."


On the Net:

Applied Digital Solutions:

FN Manufacturing:

New Jersey Institute of Technology:

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

National Rifle Association:


April 13, 2004 - 4:12 p.m. EDT
Oh yeah, I bet the guys on the street are going to love those...

(click) "oops, musta had a spark of static again, let me dig out my backup"

(click) "oops, battery went dead, just wait a minute"

(click) "oops, there's a lot of humidity in the air today, isn't there? But just wait until tomorrow!!"

And how long until there are detectors on the street to detect up those little RF interface chips? Or to burn them out?

I'm sure the unions are going to be real impressed with the idea of getting injected with a permanent dog-tag too.
I get the feeling that a lot of cops who would support microchip tracking for everyone else (for "their safety") will be against this.
So, besides losing their guns, will fallen cops also lose their hands?:uhoh: That's some pretty sick stuph.
POS systems... What happens when someone decides it's EM generator time? Or bluetooth (or whatever they use) hacking time?

This'll never work, there's a reason guns are still "dumb"
Sigh. The "Smart Gun" stuff again.

If it's based on typical firearm designs the electronic safety would be easy to defeat. You're just taking a time proven design and smacking an extra piece or two in there with the sole purpose of NOT making the gun fire. Give it 20 years and maybe I'll trust it to actually work.

However, given that approach it's not going to be terribly hard to just remove the extra gizmos that make it a "smart" gun. Criminals will surely do it and hopefully any NJ resident would do it too.

If they go with a totally new and all electronic design like Metal Storm's stuff.... well, you've got a full-auto handgun with the twiddling of a few electronic bits. Talk about "easily convertible". All the hardware with full auto and just software keeping it semi-auto.

While I like such designs in theory, it's just going to make a class of criminals out of geeks everywhere. We like to tinker with stuff. It happens... and try as we might you cannot legislate the computer activities of the entire world. Somebody across borders will figure out how to make it full-auto and release instructions on how to do it. It'll get out there and now anybody with computer equipment parts X and Y along with gun Z is in posession of a fulll auto handgun by the newest BATFE legislation.

Now, if I could actually legally own a full-auto handgun with no questions asked, it'd be a different matter. I'd be happy to let people experiment with them in hopes that it's reliable some day and I can own one.

Besides, sounds like this is RFID based and if I'm not mistaken there are RFID chips out there that'll respond to EVERY possible combination that they're hit with.

Scanner: Are you #13487?
Funny RFID Chip: Yes I am.
Scanner: Are you $248972?
Funny RFIC Chip: Yes, I'm that too!

And on and on.

Give me a Smart Gun and I'll make it as dumb (but perhaps not as ugly) as any of my Glocks in short order.
Hi all,

First off, I've been lurking for a little while, having found this site from some of my fellow GT's...btw, hi to all you all from GT (Dr. Jones, F4GIB, et al)

Anyway, back on topic:

Lemme tell ya about how well this electronic crap works. I'm an officer at our local jail here in Louisville. We have these neat little devices that we scan your left two fingers (index & middle) on when you get arrested. Now, the way things are SUPPOSED to work, is that, after scanning your finger, it tells s who you are, if you've ever been in here & scanned prior to this arrest (we just got t a few months back). Again, that's how it's supposed to work. Most of the time, it don't. I've seen male prints come back to females, black guys to white ones, etc, etc. The point is, it don't work as well as it should.

Now, knowing how often this crap either doesn't work, or breaks down we just had a machine break, and was down about 3-4 weeks), it scares the heck outta me, thikning they want to do something similar to guns. Esp. a gun that I carry every day for work to protect myself....I guess the guys in the military has the same probs with all the "gee-whiz" kinda stuff. I wish the politicians/anti gunners would actually try this stuff out before they force it on us. Hey, there's an idea...make their security details carry it first, and see how well it works when something bad happens. Well, no....I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but yo get my point. Technology is great, but dumber is better for my gun.
Shoot all my guns are smart, they help my boys with homework(math,physics,home ec:what: and other things) I guess that i'm way in the fore front of the tech world:D
Interesting thought:
The year is 2030 and all new guns must come with an implanted chip. What's going to happen to what will then be today's equivalent to some of the modern day THR members who have dozens if not hundreds of guns? Where will all of those chips go?
"Smart" guns. Another bad idea that refuses to die.

The problem is that the government keeps throwing money at researchers for this stuff. Cut off the dollars, and it will go away.
It's very simple.

Sooner or later some maker is going to be stupid enough to actually install this crap in their guns. And the first time it gets someone killed there will be lawsuits like you have never seen before.

Someone will creat a chip that will override the programming and enable the user to fire any weapon. They will be sold on the black market.
Of course there will have to be a way to program them to bypass the user chip so the guns can be test fired or rented at ranges. There will be black market sales of e-prom programmers so the BGs can reprogram stolen weapons.

Sad will be the day when little Bobby says, "Can I shoot your gun Grandpa?" and is told. "Sorry son but you're too young to have a chip."

My prediction is that the first major maker to force feed us this technology will go bankrupt in short time. First from the loss of sales to us intelligent people and then from the wrongful death and injury lawsuits when their products screw up.
Uhh..the cops won't be the ones getting the chips...It'll be the gun manufacturers forced to chip orient PRODUCTION guns...and it will be me... and and all the rest that will have to get "implanted" if we want a new gun...and if this doesn't sound real to you, just think about it for a minute. They aren't gonna' stop the cops from accessing real weapons...Did they allow us to keep regular magazines and force the police to use reduced capacity?
No...Did then police have to stop using weapons that fire more than 10 rds from 1

We will be in deep doo-doo if this goes to the next level...No More New Guns...unless you wanna' get "chipped"...

'Guess I'm gonna stay on my steroids treatments and get really big and learn to use Thor's Mighty Hammer. (Are Norse gods bulletproof?)

Granted, this will limit the range at which my non-chipped weapon will be useful, but I won't have to worry about running out of ammo...

Hmmm, I wonder if my concealable-sized hammer is going to be worth a $^%* in a pinch?
They'll try to foist chips on the general public first. The police aganecies are too smart to have wasteful stupidity that will get someone killed.:rolleyes:
ok...allow me to interject this.

I have played tournament level paintball for a number of years...You may or may not know, that upper level paintball is almost completely electronic...electronic triggers trip a firing circuit in a processing board which in turn, controls all of the pneumatics electronically.

I have no qualms carrying an electronic weapon into the "battlefield" of tournament paintball....And mind you that most paintball markers are made with more precision,engineering, and technology than any curent production "real" firearms.

However, i have seen enough failures to know that i would NOT carry an electronic weapon into REAL battle.
"900 people worldwide..."

And this was the most convincing statistic they could come up with...sure gives me the warm and fuzzies about how people are clamoring for this nonsense.

To put this in perspective, that's like saying ONE person in Chicago or New York has this stupid thing...and based on that wonderful track record, they are now going to foist this on the rest of us.


no offense to any morons I may have insulted...
It all boils down to personal responsibility, folks.

BTW: officer from dept A requests back-up, officer from dept B answers the call. Now Mr. Murphy has some fun: Officer B needs to deploy the shotgun that's "chipped" to officer A. Now what???
You can even insert neighbor A / neighbor B or family member A / family member B if you'd like.
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