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Personalized Gun Technology Advances Formerly Termed "smart Guns"

Discussion in 'Legal' started by 2dogs, May 12, 2003.

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  1. 2dogs

    2dogs Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    the city


    By: Ted Lang

    The extremely controversial "personalized gun" or "childproof handgun law" signed into law by New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey on December 23, 2002, mandates that all handguns sold in New Jersey must be "personalized firearms" three years after the state attorney general determines that a particular model of handgun can be so classified. "Personalized gun" is now the technically correct term to identify what was formerly referred to as a "smart gun," advises Donald Sebastian, Ph. D., of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The change in terms involves a proprietary legal consideration. Dr. Sebastian is vice president for research and development at NJIT where the research effort for this new "nanotechnology" is being conducted.

    "Nanotechnology" is the term used to describe the minute space age microcircuitry and electronic computer-type memory design that is built into the grip of the handgun such that it "remembers" its owner’s unique touch and will fire only upon this recognition. It employs a "biometric signature," the term used to recognize individuals through biological uniqueness, such as a person’s fingerprints, or voice or eye pattern. Sebastian describes this electronic sensory capability as "dynamic grip recognition."

    The personalized firearm legislation is the brainchild of Bryan Miller, executive director of Ceasefire New Jersey. Miller founded the gun control activist group after having lost a brother, an FBI agent, to gun violence. Miller had campaigned and lobbied legislators for six years to have the legislation enacted. Gun control activist groups, such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Million Mom March rallied behind Miller and secured the support of Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg [D-Bergen] as the chief sponsor of the legislation. Weinberg took on the project when visited by Jacob Locicero of Hawthorne, New Jersey. Long Island Rail Road shooter and mass murderer Colin Ferguson killed Locicero’s daughter, Amy, in that notorious 1993 shooting spree.

    The National Rifle Association likened the technology’s reliability to that of a computer, which a spokesperson suggested has the tendency to "crash." And police agencies have voiced similar objections on the same grounds. Sebastian admitted that at the time Gov. McGreevey signed the legislation, the technology was new and unproven. He also offered that the technology could be developed in two years if funding of $4 to $5 million became available to NJIT. To date, New Jersey has provided NJIT with $2 million for the project.

    The new, unproven technology and its rejection by its originally intended beneficiaries, namely the police, has angered the NRA and pro-gun groups. And the fact that the New Jersey Legislature added wording to the law exempting themselves from any and all liability should a "personalized weapon" fail resulting in death or injury to the user or his family, doesn’t make acceptance of this law any easier. In fact, NRA publications have cited the hypocrisy of the Governor and the Legislature, pointing out that they will all be protected by police officers not subject to this restrictive, untested technology, which was originally designed for them.

    Another sore point for pro-gun groups is that the attorney general of the state, a political appointee of the governor, would do the bidding of an anti-gun governor, and approve a technology that could be unreliable and therefore dangerous to a gun owner trying to protect his or her family. The Legislature having exempted itself from liability presents this as a very real possibility.

    But as to the research efforts on the part of NJIT, it appears that the engineers and scientists involved in the project have set exceedingly high standards for the "personalized gun."

    Several months ago, an NJIT spokesman listed some of the standards they were working towards to ensure the success of the "personalized weapon." On May 8th, these standards were reviewed again with William Marshall, assistant vice president for military and government relations for NJIT. Some of the objections voiced by both police and pro-gun groups included the concern that the firearm might fail during extreme mishandling or trauma, such as a life and death struggle with an assailant. Concerns were expressed that during such a struggle, a police officer might be required to retrieve the fallen gun with his other hand and not the hand that was biometrically signatured and recognized by the dynamic grip recognition system. Suggested failures caused by the firearm being covered with mud, snow or water, present real life situations and challenges.

    Another risk is when the family member that has been programmed to use the personalized weapon is unable to use it because he or she is struggling with an intruder or attacker. Will the spouse or partner be able to fire the weapon?

    These questions were posed repeatedly to the NJIT research representatives, and here are the standards they are setting for the successful type classification of a "personalized gun:"

    As to damage to the nanotechnology in the design grip recognition [DGR] system, the approved "personalized gun" will have to perform better than today’s mechanical counterparts;

    The "personalized gun" can be fired from either hand of its programmed authorized owner/user;

    The gun can still be fired if the owner is wearing gloves;

    The gun can be fired if wet or covered with mud;

    The gun can be programmed to permit several users to be biometrically recognized by DGR, though reliability will decrease. However, the reliability factor can be increased via the incorporation of Geographic Positioning System [GPS], a technology now available in automobiles, by limiting the geographic domain of the gun;

    Even during a struggle, and a poor or partial grip by the owner on the gun, DGR will still recognize the user.

    Marshall offered the same projection as the one given by Dr. Sebastian earlier: 24 months until a prototype could be developed. The funding requirements are almost the same - the dollar estimate this time was between $3 and $5 million.

    When queried as to a possible partnering with gun manufacturers to help develop this technology and reduce research costs, Sebastian offered that gun companies operate on a relatively low margin and do not have the research and development funding necessary to contribute financially to the effort. According to information posted by FOXNews on their website and released by the Associated Press, "Smith and Wesson was awarded a $1.7 million federal grant last year [2001] to work on developing the technology and has spent $5 million on development since 1993." Gun manufacturers have also been restricted in terms of committing long-term research and development funds anticipating lawsuits by municipalities and injury and death liability suits by individuals.

    NJIT has already conducted some extensive testing according to Marshall, and has achieved a 96 to 97 percent success rate. Although this would seem to confirm the unreliability fears expressed by police agencies and the NRA, Marshall explained that these results were obtained "without tweaking or adjusting the electronic settings." In fact, Marshall stated that the severe stress factors the test guns were subjected to produced several mechanical failures to virtually none that were classifiable as electronic failures.

    The tests were conducted at a firearms test facility and were performed at a range in a controlled environment. The test guns were fired by four seasoned and knowledgeable shooters, as well as two complete novices with no prior firearms experience.

    Marshall and Sebastian are confident this technology is doable. It seems that the last leg of the technology is the design of the "blocking mechanism," which prevents unauthorized use of the firearm. "We know we can do it - we just need the funds," laments Dr. Sebastian.
  2. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Not for me.
  3. Waitone

    Waitone Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    The Land of Broccoli and Fingernails
    So the public catches on to the downside of a "smart gun". So what's a statist to do? Why change the name from "smart gun" to "personalized gun." Same loser concept with a more pleasing name.

    I don't believe a word of what was written about its advantages or capaibilities.
  4. 243_shooter

    243_shooter Member

    Jan 25, 2003
    I don't believe the things they are coming up with.. Why not take that $5 million and do something usefull with it, like work towards ending the drug trade. I wonder what the crime rate in the US would be if the drug trade was terminated.

  5. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Oh brother.

    Whom was the guy that said, " my safety is my trigger finger" ?

    I see two things, If and I mean if this thing flies,at least one knows whom to name in a lawsuit since the gun was selected and allowed by NJ.

    "James E. McGreevey on December 23, 2002, mandates that all handguns sold in New Jersey must be "personalized firearms" three years after the state attorney general determines that a particular model of handgun can be so classified".

    Secondly, Gun runners dream. Just like Prohibition, where there is banishment there is a market. Where there is want there is a way, and people will pay. Reality and history-simple.
  6. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 25, 2002
    Down East in NC
  7. Battler

    Battler Member

    Jan 21, 2003
    I've commenced work on the "Smart Democrat".

    It's different to the regular democrat. This one is a Democrat with embedded electronics that make it impossible for him to talk, until his handler activates the user-identified system.

    This will especially benefit Democats like Turner, Byrd, and Sheila Jackson Lee.
  8. Elmer Snerd

    Elmer Snerd Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    Even if it works, the technology will jack the price WAAAAY up. Perhaps this is the ultimate goal? After all, only politicians, celebrities, the rich, and their bodyguards need privately owned guns.

    If I had to have a smart gun, I would want this one.
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