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Opinion
The Editors

Smart Guns Deserve a Free Market

Why is the gun-rights movement treating the expansion of consumer choice not as free enterprise but as treason?
The wristwatch is what makes Armatix's guns so smart. Photographer: Joerg Koch/AFP/Getty Images
The wristwatch is what makes Armatix's guns so smart. Photographer: Joerg Koch/AFP/Getty Images

Poor Ernst Mauch. The managing director of Armatix GmbH, a German firearms maker, appears to believe in "a market-driven approach to firearms safety." Unfortunately, the forces that shape the roughly $4 billion U.S. civilian guns and ammunition industry are increasingly political.

Armatix makes the iP1 "smart gun," which communicates with a wristwatch to identify its authorized user and makes it impossible for anyone but the gun's owner to fire it. Given that there are some 30,000 deaths by firearms every year in the U.S., it's pretty clear that gun safety could stand to be improved. Yet gun-rights activists have successfully intimidated stores in Maryland and California into not selling the iP1.