Image: Geoffrey Fairchild/Flickr.
Still not convinced people aren't buying smart guns? Click over to Oak Tree Gun Club's Facebook page and look around. Oak Tree is one of the biggest firearms store and shooting range in California, and also happens to be the first gun shop in America to sell smart guns. And you might never guess who's hot pissed about that.
"These people [Oak Tree] are anti-gunners. I will never step foot in this dump," reads one Facebook comment.
You'll see similar backlash—amid plenty of glowing customer reviews, to be sure—shot through the gun store's Yelp page, where one reviewer writes: "If you care about the ability to exercise your [Second Amendment] rights, I would suggest that you do not continue to frequent this place.”
To think, self-identified "gunners" are hating on a gun store that's selling high-tech firearms, specifically the Armatix iP1 pistol. It might sound a bit counterintuitive, but it actually makes good sense.
The iP1, of course, is equipped with electronic chips that "talk" to an accompanying wrist watch in a way that prevents the gun from firing if it isn't in close proximity to the watch. In theory, this sort of "personalized" gun is safer than traditional firearms that will fire so long as the safety is switched off. This is why smart guns are being embraced (if you'd like to call it that) by gun-control advocates. They see something like the iP1 as a way to cut down on both deliberate and accidental shootings and also suicides, if only the technology could be scaled up, perhaps by act of law.
That's the rub.
"The protests are fueled by worry that being able to purchase the iP1 will trigger a New Jersey law mandating that all handguns in the state be personalized within three years of a smart gun going on sale anywhere in the United States," as the Washington Post reports. For their part, California and both chambers of Congress have introduced similar mandates.
Which brings us back to the trolling. Oak Tree has apparently come under such intense fire that the pro shop now appears to be flat out denying having ever offered the iP1. The store is also taking pains to apologize "for any confusion", the Post adds. Just look at this apology to a gun rights advocate published by the Examiner in late February.
None of this jibes with what James Mitchell, Oak Tree's owner, has said on record regarding why he decided to put the iP1 on his store's shelves. And to make the denials even more suspect, the Post recently acquired a pair of photos of the iP1 on sale in a gun cabinet at Oak Tree, in addition to a slew of images that show customers firing the smart gun (in front of Armatix signage, no less) at Oak Tree's shooting range. Needless to say, Armatix execs and Second Amendment supporters are a bit puzzled over the denial.
The irony here is that it's looking like both the smart gun firm and the "gunners" who see Armatix's technology as a threat to their Second Amendment rights will have to take their business elsewhere—just not on Facebook.