For years firearms safety advocates have wished that there were some way for firearms to be able to communicate with their owners such that they would recognize whether the individual who was attempting to fire them was authorized. Certainly combination locks on triggers represent a step in this direction. More sophisticated devices such as fingerprint or retinal scanners are too bulky and expensive in their current configurations, but what if they could be miniaturized?
The need for instant shooter recognition is found in police and personal safety situations. Police officers being disarmed and shot with their own weapons has been an unfortunate issue since the inception of armed police departments. A firearm that could instantly recognize that the designated officer was not holding the weapon could prevent such happenings. Likewise, this would be beneficial to private individuals who confront assailants and are disarmed and their firearms used against them.
After a weapon is fired, investigators often must try to determine whether a particular spent bullet or casing was discharged from a particular firearm. Firearms examiners have long wished that firearms could impart some sort of identifier to ammunition, above and beyond the traditional tool marks that are left. For instance, an implanted device would provide some sort of electronic fingerprint for both the ammunition components and the firearm. As yet, however, all these ideas remain within the realm of science fiction.
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