A Former Remington Executive Takes On A Challenge: Building A Smart Gun That Can’t Be Hacked

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 11 months ago


For a while this summer, Ginger Chandler ignored the emails from LodeStar. As an executive who had formerly worked on product development for Smith & Wesson and Remington, she was an obvious candidate to help the startup develop a better smart gun. But she knew the history of smart gun efforts in the United States.

In short, they’d failed. Smart guns are a kind of graveyard of heroes who have been torn apart on the rocky shoals of American gun politics.

Chandler had been laid off from Remington as it neared bankruptcy in spring 2017. She’d started a platform for to help small gun accessories makers to access markets. But she had time. So, she started to think about the idea.

“Smith & Wesson ran after this 20 years ago and failed,” said Chandler. “Other companies have done it and failed. And I’m not interested in addressing the politics. I feel like we get it wrong every time we try to do that.”

But the executives at the company were on a mission.

CEO Gareth Glaser had a 30-year career in corporate America, but after a mid-career program at Harvard he wanted to do something with a social mission.

Ah, how sweet.  A social mission.  It’s all mere altruism, isn’t it.  But wait.

Ralph Fascitelli, another executive, had long been involved in Seattle-based Washington CeaseFire, which advocated pragmatic solutions to gun violence. They both saw smart guns as a business-oriented, pragmatic solution to gun violence, and a big market: They estimate potential sales at $1 billion, or about 40% of the 7 million unit handgun market.

There were high-profile investors involved (though they don’t want to be public), including a former CFO of Smith & Wesson, Chandler told me. The company has raised $500,000 and needs about $3 million to start producing the guns.

LodeStar was appealing, to be sure, Chandler thought.

“Giving people options so that they can maintain their firearms and keep others who are not authorized from using them …  that is a good and honorable cause,” she said. “No one would disagree with that.”

She found herself open to the idea. But there were other challenges.

The idea of smart guns makes incredible sense: build guns with tech-enabled safety features, like fingerprint IDs, that could prevent them from being used by someone who doesn’t own them. Take, for instance, the 15,000 children who are killed or injured by guns every year (the number is based on 2015 stats). “Smart guns can reduce gun deaths by 37%, which correlates with our own analysis re saving lives from suicides, domestic violence, police gun grabs, stolen guns used in homicides, child accidents, school shootings involving teenage underage shooters,” said Fascitelli by email.

In other words, the technology used on your smart phone, applied to guns, could save as many as 37 people out of the 100 who die each day from guns, not to mention those who are injured by guns. In fact, the three big gun safety/public health experts have all voiced support for smart guns: UC Davis’s Dr. Garen Wintemute, Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Stephen Teret and Harvard’s Dr. David Hemenway.

The market for smart guns starts with parents who want to keep their kids safe and police departments who worry about guns being turned around on police officers.

But when companies have tried to introduce them – Mossberg Firearms, iGun and most recently, German company Armatix – some of the technology wasn’t as easy as it is now. There’s been a backlash from the gun community.

So which is it?  Either the gun community will accept these things because no one could possibly disagree with such an approach, and it makes good sense, and it’s a swell idea, or the gun community has rejected them and is causing a “backlash.”  Which is it?  It can’t be both.  Only a lousy reporter wouldn’t probe to find the truth.  Only a shill would write an article that sounds like an ad.

The NRA says officially that it is concerned that technology introduced in guns could make guns less safe, though that claim is widely dismissed. The second issue is that smart gun technology could be mandated, which both the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation object to. More than 15 years, a New Jersey law seemed to confirm some gun owners’ worst fears:

A law sponsored by Loretta Weinburg in 2002 mandated that only smart guns could be sold in New Jersey within three years after the first model hit the market anywhere in the United States. That law is now largely regarded as a well-meaning failure — even by Weinberg — because it touched off such a nasty dispute with gun rights proponents,  as columnist Mike Kelly wrote.

Smart guns haven’t received much support from some gun control organizations over the years – though the Obama Administration tried to promote research into them.

“The major gun safety groups like Brady have done very little to promote a technology approach. … This we “believe” is because of a small group of naive well-heeled idealists on the left don’t want a safer gun to be the solution to gun violence   The idealists on the left, who supported the New Jersey mandate, and right have prevented a pragmatic solution for a long time,” said Fascitelli.

So the controllers haven’t pushed technology, it’s the right teaming up with the left that has prevented smart guns.  Well, this is a narrative I haven’t heard before, maybe because it’s idiotic.

In addition, politicians in New Jersey seemed open to changing the 2002 that would have mandated smart guns in New Jersey (which some in the gun community objected to on principle and as a sign that other states would follow.)

This week, in the wake of the Tree of Life shootings, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he would introduce new gun control bills, including one that would replace the mandate. The new legislation would require every New Jersey gun retailer to carry at least one smart gun

Mandates did trouble Chandler, but New Jersey seemed to be conceding part of that battle, and truthfully, over the years she had come to have a more nuanced view of the subject.

“When seatbelts got mandated in Texas, it made me angry that they were trying to legislate an individual right. But when somebody has a wreck without one, all of your insurance goes up,” she said. “Then, in my first job out of school, I designed air bags. Air bags save lives.

Mandating that they are in cars is not a bad thing.”

[ … ]

So now we get to the crux of the issue, yes?  It’s not that this is an economic option for people, it’s not that it’s the far right teaming up with the far left to kill the idea, it’s not that the technology sucks, it’s not that it can be hacked, it’s not that it’s another step in the process of defending life, it’s not the failure modes inherent in yet another complex component in the train of equipment, it’s all really about the need to mandate these things.

I asked if, in the wake of her decision to join LodeStar to work on smart guns, whether she’d gotten any hate from her friends or the community. She was nervous about that, she said.

But, no. “What I did get was, ‘Ginger, that’s such an uphill battle. Why would you spend your time there. They’re not against smart guns. They just don’t think anybody can do it.”

That’s not the kind of remark that stops Chandler, who seems not only pragmatic but one of those people who slices through obstacles like butter. Saving 37 lives every day seems like a pretty good goal.

“I just kind of believe this is a good thing,” she said. “I believe this will happen.”

She’s a liar.  She doesn’t really believe in them, and she doesn’t really believe the market can support this.  She believes that she can sell the product if the government mandates that all other products are illegal.

I remind readers of my challenge.  Hard hats and ketchup, folks.  I have yet to have anyone take me up on it.  And as for money, I hope and recommend that she and leftist investors of all sorts drop millions upon millions upon millions of dollars into the venture.  I think that would be wonderful – and a good social mission.


  1. On November 1, 2018 at 2:57 am, Pat Hines said:

    Like “Psychic Friends” once did, taking money from fools is a social good, it keeps them from causing trouble in other places or activities.

    It’s even possible that money spent on this quest will sap some contributions that normally go to the Gun Confiscation Lobby.

  2. On November 1, 2018 at 9:03 am, Fred said:

    Because when seconds count your gun is only a mismatched authentication pair away from requiring a re-config. And Remote off switches, don’t forget to incorporate the remote off function.

    You can take your Smart Gun and shove it up your dumb ass.

  3. On November 1, 2018 at 9:08 am, Fred said:

    Oh, and, the one on my hip right now is un-hackable. Tic Tock…

  4. On November 1, 2018 at 9:50 am, Frank Clarke said:

    If it’s true (and I believe it is ‘close enough for government work’) that 120 million Americans own 350 million guns and 200 billion rounds of ammo, the only conclusion a rational being can draw is that those gun owners are more law-abiding than Ivory soap is pure.

    If that were -not- true, folks wouldn’t be writing their Congresscritters about fixing potholes; they’d be demanding they DO SOMETHING to get those piles of rotting corpses off their streetcorners.

    They’re not. Q.E.D. The problem is not widespread gun misuse, and it won’t be solved by preventing widespread gun misuse.

    Ask the wrong question; get the wrong answer.

  5. On November 1, 2018 at 6:59 pm, Gryphon said:

    ANY Electronic Device in a small package (like would be necessary in a ‘smart gun) is Very Vulnerable to being ‘Zapped’ by a Hand-Held Electromagnetic-Pulse Device… What happens when (the po-Lice will, of course, be Early Adopters of this technology) the Bank Robber with the Taser-Based ‘Zapper’ renders the pigs’ Weapons useless?

    Ha. Ha. Ha. When Tyranny turns to Technology, I still get to Shoot.
    Rule 308a.

  6. On November 2, 2018 at 2:18 am, Mike said:

    Some systems are keyed to a ring worn by the gun’s owner, which might work okay, unless someone were to wrestle your gun away and then hold it close to you when they fire it.
    Battery life? How often would you need to change your gun battery?
    Shock resistance? In addition to the wear and tear on a carry piece, what long term effect does firing the weapon have on any internal electronic smart gun?
    These are all rhetorical questions. I would never buy one.

  7. On November 3, 2018 at 9:44 am, Weeble said:

    “She believes that she can sell the product if the government mandates …”
    _And_ she believes that she’ll be getting a decent paycheck for a good long time, regardless of whether this sells or not.

  8. On November 3, 2018 at 3:36 pm, Fred said:

    We will lose the coming engagement at the border and ultimately, we will lose our country, here’s why.

    Civilizations Doorstep


  9. On November 7, 2018 at 1:12 pm, DDS said:

    If smart guns are a great way to protect police, then please explain why the police are typically exempt from proposed smart gun mandates.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You are currently reading "A Former Remington Executive Takes On A Challenge: Building A Smart Gun That Can’t Be Hacked", entry #20194 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published October 31st, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (704)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (36)
Air Power (9)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (21)
Ammunition (164)
Animals (113)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
Antonin Scalia (1)
AR-15s (297)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (79)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (27)
Australian Army (7)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (120)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (18)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (3)
Blogs (23)
Body Armor (21)
Books (3)
Border War (14)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (38)
British Army (35)
Camping (4)
Canada (3)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (15)
Christmas (12)
CIA (29)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (3)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (217)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (189)
Department of Homeland Security (26)
Disaster Preparedness (4)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (12)
Donald Trump (26)
Drone Campaign (3)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
El Salvador (1)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (2)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (32)
Featured (186)
Federal Firearms Laws (18)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (1,411)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (15)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (44)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (9)
Georgia (19)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (1,379)
Guns (1,913)
Guns In National Parks (3)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (8)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (16)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (1)
Horses (1)
Humor (37)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (94)
India (10)
Infantry (4)
Information Warfare (2)
Infrastructure (2)
Intelligence (23)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (170)
Iraq (379)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (64)
Islamists (95)
Israel (18)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (2)
Jihadists (80)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (9)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (4)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (4)
Lawfare (7)
Leadership (6)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (2)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (14)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (8)
Logistics (50)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (271)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
Media (62)
Medical (84)
Memorial Day (6)
Mexican Cartels (36)
Mexico (52)
Michael Yon (6)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (4)
Military Equipment (24)
Militia (5)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (25)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (23)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (75)
NATO (15)
Navy (24)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (2)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (3)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (58)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (221)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (7)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (66)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Pistol (2)
Pizzagate (21)
Police (545)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (893)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (243)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Rifles (1)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (75)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (32)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (435)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (28)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (23)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Supreme Court (30)
Survival (56)
SWAT Raids (55)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (2)
Tactical Gear (6)
Taliban (168)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (17)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (95)
Thanksgiving (10)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (22)
TSA Ineptitude (13)
TTPs (4)
U.S. Border Patrol (5)
U.S. Border Security (14)
U.S. Sovereignty (17)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (3)
Uncategorized (58)
Universal Background Check (3)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (3)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (317)
War & Warfare (40)
War Movies (4)
War Reporting (21)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (6)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (73)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (21)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2021 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.