Dave Workman On Smart Guns

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 1 month ago


Another company, Triggersmart, uses a radio ID tag that can be embedded in a ring.

But a poll done for the symposium reveals only 40 percent of current gun owners would switch to a smart gun — and 62 percent of gun owners reject any mandatory requirement to have them.

Dave Workman is a gun owner with the locally based 2nd Amendment Foundation.

“Let’s not even be talking about the technology until we are certain that it works,” Workman said.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart was on a panel, but wasn’t ready to commit to smart guns.

Urquhart says it will be years before the smart gun technology is ready. And then he’s not likely to mandate it for his officers.

Contrary to Dave’s edict, let’s talk yet again about smart gun technology.  I am a registered professional engineer, and I spend all day analyzing things and performing calculations.  Let’s not speak in broad generalities and murky platitudes (such as “good enough”).  That doesn’t work with me.  By education, training and experience, I reject such things out of hand.  Perform a fault tree analysis of smart guns.  Use highly respected guidance like the NRC fault tree handbook.

Assess the reliability of one of my semi-automatic handguns as the first state point, and then add smart gun technology to it, and assess it again.  Compare the state points.  Then do that again with a revolver.  Be honest.  Assign a failure probability of greater than zero (0) to the smart technology, because you know that each additional electronic and mechanical component has a failure probability of greater than zero.

Get a PE to seal the work to demonstrate thorough and independent review.  If you can prove that so-called “smart guns” are as reliable as my guns, I’ll pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.  If you lose, you buy me the gun of my choice.  No one will take the challenge because you will lose that challenge.  I’ll win.  Case closed.  End of discussion.

Now to the real issue.  I won’t have a weapon that can be manipulated by anyone, or for which outside interference of any kind is possible.  As I said about Gottlieb’s position, “I’m not opposed to people spending their money the way they want.  If Gottlieb wants one, let him buy one.  Leave me out of it.  And don’t ever … everEVER … tell me what kind of gun I can have or must buy.”

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39 Comments on "Dave Workman On Smart Guns"

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William Baker

I’m guessing their sample size on their 40% poll was ridiculously small, and taken at a DNC convention

Russell Smith

I’m gonna guess that they asked five people.

Joe Huffman

The details of their poll are here. It’s not quite as small and as damning as you make it out to be.

Ned Weatherby
Any modern appliance now has a computer inside. My neighbor had to have two new motherboards installed in a built in range. Our new built in stove/microwave combination has failed twice – had to shut down poser and reboot to make everything work. Does anyone know anyone who hasn’t had to remove the battery from their phone to get it to work again properly? Of suffered a computer problem? Do we learn time and time again about back-door tech that allows software companies to mine data? I even read an article by a techie who, after purchasing a new “smart” TV, was afraid to turn it on. It stated in the manual not to speak of private things in front of the television, as voice commands were transferred to a server. So, if one spoke their online banking password over the phone, it could fall into the hands of someone monitoring the system. Or, if a problem arose, and the tech department had to listen to what was recorded by the TV, could gain sensitive info. With a computer device inside a gun, I imagine the fault tree would look like a forest if it could ever be completed. David… Read more »
Pat Hines

The above is exactly right. Nearly all gun owners know that so-called “smart gun” electronics can be shut down in a number of ways by an outside transmitter. Any PD that adopts these weapons will soon be facing organized criminals who have transmitters to shut down the cops weapons. I don’t expect to see any PD adopt them, but would like to know if that happens, and the results that will produce.

I don’t think you’ll ever have to eat your hard hat, Herschel, this technology is dead in the water, like betamax and those huge cassette players.

Ned Weatherby

“Any PD that adopts these weapons will soon be facing organized criminals who have transmitters to shut down the cops weapons.” I didn’t think it through that thoroughly, but really good point.


They’re NOT gonna make police use this technology – they’re gonna make citizens use it – so they can shut down CITIZENS firearms at will – that is the point – law enforcement will be EXEMPT (Like for all other gun control laws) – using this technology would put their lives in danger. Citizens would be safer. Everyone should know the double standard by now. All gun control is a power struggle to tip the balance of power to the point that politicians are very comfortable that their army of law enforcement will easily win against a mass revolution. Pitchforks and torches should be enough to keep a citizens family safe!




Massad Ayoob has a revolver that can only fire if you’re wearing a ring with a magnet on it — if I recall correctly, that feature was added after-market by a gunsmith. Smith and Wesson’s first M&P semi-automatic has a feature where it won’t fire, even if there’s still a chamber in the round, if the magazine is removed. Apparently this feature has saved the lives of a couple of police officers.

Yet I find it interesting that these features aren’t demanded by police officers in general. Even Massad Ayoob seems more interested in merely pointing these features out, rather than insist that every gun out there come with these features (at least for police). Isn’t it odd that we have, even now, simple ways to make a gun “smarter”, yet they aren’t demanded by police officers?

I could be wrong, but I suspect that “smart” guns aren’t the safety game-changer smart-gun advocates would have us believe they are…

Ned Weatherby

I’ve seen one – a model 28.


40% of gun owners would switch to a smart gun? That’s pretty funny – ZERO PERCENT OF GUN OWNERS I KNOW WOULD SWITCH TO A SMART GUN!!! If we all use smart guns then our guns could be remotely shut down along with our smartphones – and if we forget to bring our smartphone with us – our smart gun could relay our GPS data to whoever is interested! I wonder who would be interested???!!!?!


Tell ya what.
When the US Armed Forces, the Secret Service, AND Law Enforcement Officers adopt “smart gun” technology for their own use, I will consider using it.
And not one second sooner.


Better yet, mandate that police and the SS have to have “smart” gun tech, and evaluate the results first.


Neah. ADOPT it.
If it is good enough them, I might accept it. But not before.

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Remember the good ol’ Remington EtronX rifle, and what a rousing success it was?

I rest my case.

Mark Crist

I seem to recall the powers that be bitching about electronic firing systems being a BAD thing because there’s no firing pin marks on the brass for the police to use. To say nothing of the potential for it to make a firearm “too accurate”.

Mark Crist

Smart gun technology does show some promise in potentially preventing unauthorized use. I would submit that the antigun folk are going at this all crabbed. One has but to look at the widespread use if electronic sights and lasers in the military and their growing use in the civilian firearms market.
Once its use becomes widespread in law enforcement and the military, civilian shooters will be lining up money in hand. They then have but to wait for all of the older guns to wear out. No worries. But I still have my old fashioned iron guns.

Ned Weatherby

Smart gun technology shows promise in preventing use. FIFY


Since there is no way to circumvent the core weakness in any of the technologies, i.e. the ability to remotely disable the weapons that are so equipped, it is a dead issue.

As a doornail.

Only gullible folks and people into collecting gimmicks are market fodder.

A mandate slipping through is tantamount to slicing the Second Amendment’s throat and watching it bleed out.

Joe Huffman

Not all of the technologies can be remotely disabled. “Dynamic Grip Recognition” is one such example.

That said, I still agree that “smart guns” will never have widespread market acceptance.

Ned Weatherby

Can one use the gun with the other hand? Or with a hand injury, like a missing finger? Are you familiar with the tech, Joe, or do you have a link? I’d be interested in more info.

It appears, absent any knowledge, that some wrinkles would need to be ironed out – especially for LEO use.

Joe Huffman

With the Dynamic Grip Recognition you would need to program it to accept each hand separately. And probably again for if you wanted to shoot it right handed supported by your left hand as well as left handed shooting supported by your right.

More information is here and here.

Pat Hines

“Not all of the technologies can be remotely disabled. “Dynamic Grip Recognition” is one such example.”

The only tech of which I’m aware that can’t be remotely disabled would be fingerprint recognition built into the grip, which has it’s own bundle of problems. First, it would not be cheap, would require battery power, and would have to recognize the prints from both hands, including if the shooter had his hand off set from the original scan position. Perhaps not impossible, but difficult to set up for proper error correction. I can’t begin to estimate what such technology might cost, figure at least $1000.00 per firearm in mass purchase, a lot more if only buying one.

On the other hand, any device that takes a external signal, be it on the electromagnetic spectrum or infrared, it can be remotely deactivated.

Joe Huffman

DGR is essentially a crude, scaled up, version of a fingerprint scanner. It uses pressure sensors in the grip in an attempt to authenticate the user.
Since there is no communication to a different unit required it is no more susceptible to jamming than a fingerprint scanner.

Pat Hines

In other words, it is a useless add-on for unsuspecting buyers to spend their money acquiring.

Got it.

Dave Workman

Well, Herschel, since my name came up, I’m not keen on so-called ‘smart guns,” and that was no “edict.” That was a suggestion, in a five-second sound bite, and there is, IMHO, really nothing to talk about. Especially when it comes to “smart guns.” Never add a battery to anything that works just fine without one, eh?
Far as Alan Gottlieb is concerned, I read that comment he made to the newspaper. He never said anything about mandating the technology, never mentioned a thing about what anyone else could, would or should buy, and for anyone to suggest he did because he said he’d buy one (provided, of course, somebody could prove it worked) is a bit of a stretch.

Joe Huffman

The poll was of 800 people total. 31% were gun owners. This means there were 248 gun owners asked if they would swap their existing gun for a smart gun. 40% of those (99) said yes.

Not all “smart guns” are vulnerable to radio frequency interference. Examples include Dynamic Grip Recognition (DGR) and fingerprint based technology.

DGR is claimed (and I suspect the claim is mostly true) to work with muddy/bloody hands and with gloves. But the false acceptance rate (unauthorized person is able to fire it) is extremely high unless the hand sizes of the authorized and unauthorized people are significantly different. That is, it probably would work to keep a small child from firing a gun authorized for an adult with normal size hands.

I know quite a bit about biometrics (biometrics expert for a government lab for several years), electronics (MSEE), and software (25+ years as a computer programmer). I do not believe there will ever be a biometrics based gun that will be reliable enough to be functional in a “take-away” situation. I do not believe there will ever be a “smart gun” that will defeat a thief who has access to a few common shop tools.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published January 29th, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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