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‘Smart’ Guns With Fingerprint Sensor Headed To US Market

Washington: “Smart” pistols designed to limit who can shoot them are poised to hit the booming US firearm market this year, taking aim at spiking gun deaths as federal lawmakers remain deadlocked on any new restrictions.

Questions over reliability and political fights have bedeviled the technology for decades, but backers say it’s a chance to prevent children, criminals or people considering self-harm from pulling the trigger.

Yet whether the deadly weapons will be embraced by buyers, perform as intended in real-life, or deliver on their pledge to increase gun safety are questions that could be years from a definitive answer.

“I don’t have a crystal ball to know whether it’s going to be good on balance, bad on balance or ultimately like other smart guns in the past — kind of a dud,” said Adam Skaggs, chief counsel and policy director at gun control advocacy group Giffords.

The system from entrepreneur Tom Holland’s company SmartGunz uses RFID chips — similar to the emitters many people use in their car to pay tolls — installed inside rings.

When shooters grip the gun with the hand wearing the special ring, a safety mechanism unlocks, allowing the gun to fire.

Holland sees applications in protecting police officers who could have their pistol wrestled away by a suspect; or parents worried their kids could find their firearm.