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Is smart gun technology an intelligent answer to gun violence?

Hand guns are displayed at Firing-Line July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado.
Hand guns are displayed at Firing-Line July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado.
Joshua Lott/Getty Images

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The Armatix iP1 is a new .22-caliber smart pistol that requires users to wear a watch in order to fire it. It's the first smart gun available in the country, but manufacturers and gun shop owners across the nation are finding out just how difficult it is to bring the new technology to the market, as first reported by The Washington Post.

Case in point: the Oak Tree Gun Club, a gun shop in Newhall, Calif., which decided to sell the gun. The backlash was so swift that owner James Mitchell took the item off its shelves within weeks.

There's also the experience of Belinda Padilla, who heads the Los Angeles division of Armatix, the manufacturer behind the iP1. Her personal cellphone number and address was posted online by a pro-gun activist.

Opposition of new smart gun technology comes mainly from the gun rights activists and gun owners, who fear that the innovation would lead to stricter regulation. A decade-old New Jersey law requires that once smart gun technology is available in the country, any guns sold in the state would have to be "smart" within three years. A similar bill has been proposed in California. On the other hand, some gun owners feel that the technology would make people on the fence more comfortable with gun ownership.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, smart gun technology has been touted as a viable way to reduce gun violence. Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway has launched a $1 million contest for smart-gun technology.


Mike Rosenwald, The Washington Post reporter who has been following the story