WASHINGTON —The latest skirmish over the nation's first smart gun, marked this week by death threats against a Maryland gun dealer who wanted to sell the weapon, has raised doubts about its future and prompted some gun-control advocates to back away from legislative efforts to mandate the technology.
Engage Armament, a Rockville gun shop, endured an outpouring of vitriol from gun rights activists who fear the technology will be used to curtail their Second Amendment rights by limiting what kinds of guns they can buy in the future.
The protests echoed those against the Oak Tree Gun Club, a Los Angeles area store that offered to sell the smart gun and — like Engage Armament — quickly dropped the idea after opposition mounted. Electronic chips in the Armatix iP1 can communicate with a watch that can be bought separately. Then the gun cannot be fired without the watch.
Gun rights advocates are worried about a New Jersey law under which only smart handguns can be sold there within three years of being sold anywhere in the country. The law, they fear, will be replicated in other states.
Andy Raymond, co-owner of Engage Armament, said that after word spread that he would sell the gun, vehement protests emerged online, and he was called a traitor.