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Old February 22, 2013, 04:41 PM   #1
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Need input on a school project (gun related)

Hi, not sure if this is the right section for this question, so if it is not I apologize.

I am looking for a little input from the gun-owning community on a product concept. I’m part of a group for an Entrepreneurship college course and we are looking for feedback on a product idea involving firearms. No one in the group is a gun owner or even knows much about them, so any input is very much appreciated (the idea came about to take advantage of an opportunity with the present issues with gun safety and crime prevention).

The idea is a pressure-sensitive platform (magnet?) that you put in a gun safe/cabinet/case to place your gun on. The idea is that if the gun is removed from the platform the sensor is triggered, and you will instantly be alerted on your smartphone app that your gun has been removed. This is meant to be an alert system and potentially prevent a crime. If you are alerted by the app and you know someone isn’t supposed to have access to your gun (your child/a thief/etc.), you can investigate the reason it was moved and take the appropriate action.

A secondary thought was for the user to install some sort of tracking device (a chip under the grip?) so that the owner could keep track of the location of his/her gun on an app that can only be used by the owner. A similar use as the first idea but with this one it would allow you to keep track of the location once it is moved.

We aren’t sure how feasible they are or if we could use a combination of both ideas.

Again, this is for a school project and the next step is to survey those in our target market about the idea (current gun owners/potential gun owners/gun owners with children). Thank you for your time and any input is appreciated!

1. How would you feel about a more effective way to secure and monitor the location of your firearms?

2. Would you be interested in a sensor that can sense the movement of your gun and instantly alert you when it is moved?

3. Have you ever seen or heard about a similar product/service? Do you believe either of the ideas described above are feasible?

4. Would you or like-minded people be interested in buying this type of product/service?

5. How much would you be willing to pay for this type of product/service?
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:01 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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I think a notification to a smart phone if your gun safe is compromised is a very nice idea, although I'd be very surprised if it isn't already available, somewhere. But the notion of a pressure plate inside the safe as the switch/actuator?

Nope. That's fine if you only have one gun, but many owners who have gun safes do so because they have multiple firearms. It's not unusual to find people with 10, 20, 30 and more handguns, and similar numbers of rifles and/or shotguns. Such people would not want to roll the dice on a thief happening to grab the one gun that's on the pressure plate. What's needed is a remote app that sends an alert if the safe itself is either opened or moved.
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:08 PM   #3
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Need input on a school project (gun related)

A type of security system linking firearm storage with a notification via text or something similar could be useful for some. However, I think quite a lot of people (at least among enthusiasts like you'll find on here) generally make use of a safe or some form of secure storage. The likelihood of the "event" of tampering with the gun would be rather remote in such a case, making upkeep of such an app less desirable.

I've seen something similar, where the gun is placed on a plate and synced with a household security system. When the gun is removed, the alarm is triggered, and (theoretically) 911 is contacted by the monitoring company. This is designed to allow easy access to a weapon and instant call for help. Since it requires an existing security set up, and does little to prevent taking of the gun, I don't think it's very popular.

As for a tracking device, a lot of guns would be very hard on them, destroying the chips from recoil and use. Not to mention, any such tracker would complicate any design of a gun, something that most people frown against. Still, I could see use in being able to find my gun if it went missing, but again, the upkeep of such a system would probably be prohibitive. I would not be willing to pay a subscription on it.

So, for me, these services wouldn't offer much. I might be interested in a system I could link to my safe, that connects with my home network to send a notification of tampering/opening, but it would have to be a one-time purchase.
I can't think of a way that a tracking chip would be effective at a decent price on an actual gun, but I don't think I would worry enough to invest in one anyway.

I will note that I live alone, with no children coming into my house, so I don't worry about people finding and getting my guns that are kept locked in my safe. If someone does get into them, there's a lot more going on to muddy the picture.

All in all, nice to see people thinking of ways to help the community!
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:16 PM   #4
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1. How would you feel about a more effective way to secure and monitor the location of your firearms?
I personally don't like the idea of placing chips in my gun. Call me a tin foil hatter if you'd like, but if I can track, then so can big brother. As for some kind of safe design that would let me know if my gun is moved? If it doesn't add to the weight/function of my gun or safe, I don't have problem with it. Having said that, it seems any magnet strong enough not to be moved by, say, being bumped, earthquake, or large truck moving by could potentially stall a draw if needed in an instant. If I'm on the wrong track here, let me know, but thats why I mentioned it can't interfere with the function of my gun or safe.

2. Would you be interested in a sensor that can sense the movement of your gun and instantly alert you when it is moved?
Really, depends on price. Even smallish handgun safes are pretty spendy ($100+ range). Larger stand up safes can run the gamut of $400 or so up to $10,000 or more. Being on a budget, I'm not sure I would want to pay extra for something like this.

3. Have you ever seen or heard about a similar product/service? Do you believe either of the ideas described above are feasible?
Nothing terribly similar to this, although there is a product that can be installed in some revolvers that involves magnets that prevents the gun from firing unless you're wearing a special magnetic ring. Different concept, similar use of materials I suppose?

4. Would you or like-minded people be interested in buying this type of product/service?
I'm sure other people would be interested in something like this. I love gadgets, but I don't like to pay money for a gadget that only gives marginal usefulness. The fact is, if someone breaks into my safe while I'm away at work, the thieves aren't going to spend all afternoon in my house. They're going to go in, grab the valuables and be out. Already having an alarm on my house that will automatically call law enforcement is far better than me getting a text that something in my safe moved. For those without an alarm? I suppose it could help, but chances are, the theives are going to be gone before LE responds anyway, even if I call them the moment I get the text. What if the product has false alarms? The police might get tired of responding to my calls. Chances are, even if I had an alarm, I wouldn't respond to it until I got home anyway, to prevent that, so I just don't see the advantage. Maybe you can help me here?

5. How much would you be willing to pay for this type of product/service?
Right now? Nothing, unfortunately. I don't see the overall usefulness of the product, and I am on a budget. Every $1 I spend on this is $1 less practice ammo I get. This product won't prevent a theft, so it won't save me anything based on my firearms being stolen.

Maybe so more info on your ideas would change my mind? As it is, I just don't see it being a very helpful or useful product, especially considering what it's likely to cost.
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:54 PM   #5
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Well, the sensor idea sounds like a solution to an almost non-existent problem. A security system on the house would make more sense to alert you and the authorities about break-in.

The chip tracking is not going to go over well. Cell phones also track us, but it's in the user services contract we sign when we subscribe for service. Guns don't have subscriptions, and I don't like the idea of some random person behind a computer being able to track my guns. Also, that sort of technology drives up the cost considerably, something that won't go over well either.
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Old February 22, 2013, 07:03 PM   #6
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+1 on Aguila Blanca's post above.
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:02 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your input. I myself didn't think the tracking would go over well, but it was an idea we threw around so I thought I should include it.

Our initial thought was to attach a sensor to your case/safe/cabinet and the alert would be from your safe being opened (not the movement/removal of the gun), but I think we got a little caught up in trying to do more. That seems to be the only angle that might make this idea work.

I understand that many households have security systems to alert you of break-ins, but that wouldn't apply to instances where one's child or their friends who are already in the house try to gain access to your safe.

Going with the idea of an alert for when your safe is opened, perhaps it could be targeted more towards gun-owning parents instead of gun owners in general? I understand the majority of gun owners already have multiple levels of security in place, but having a text alert once it's opened might be one more layer of peace of mind they might be willing to pay for.

By the way, our plan is that the app would be free with the one-time purchase of the sensor (don't know a price yet).
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Old February 22, 2013, 08:39 PM   #8
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RFID chip, gun safety device...

A simple RFID type chip or device that can secure the firearm & send a text alert or email to the gun owners smart phone is not a bad idea.
If the firearm is stolen or removed from a gun owner's property the RFID or tracer could help sworn LE or a service center track it's location(like GM's OnStar service).
A booby trap or anti-tampering device could be added too. If the crook or a child tampers with the firearm a loud alarm would sound or it could deliver a electrical charge.
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Old February 22, 2013, 10:38 PM   #9
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I think a sensor that detects when a gun is disturbed/moved will be of little use because of the time it will take to stop the event. By the time you get home, or the police get there, it'll be too late (assuming you use this device while you're not home).

Since the second option can only be used by the owner as you stated, and not tracked by BB, there's at least a chance you'll get your gun back.
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Old February 22, 2013, 10:57 PM   #10
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Let me just toss out a potential draw-back to these concepts:

Remote notification, as has been pointed out, most likely won't allow you to arrive home OR to notify the cops in time to prevent a theft. My home was burglarized a number of years ago. My mailman at the time was also a police officer, and his route took him down one side of my street and back up the other (my) side. He knows my house was intact on his way down, and he spotted the broken window on the way back. So they thieves weren't inside very long -- and that's normal. The pros are in and out within less than five minutes, and usually a LOT less than five minutes.

So the notifier won't save your firearms.

But many states either have adopted or are moving to adopt laws requiring notifying the police of a stolen firearm within ___ (24/48/72) hours of when you knew OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN about the theft. So if you're out of town, on vacation or business or for whatever reason, the clock won't start ticking until you arrive back home. But if you have one of these apps that's supposed to send you a text message, suppose for whatever reason you don't receive the message, or maybe you accidentally delete it without reading it. And you don't actually return home for two weeks after that.

It's not a stretch to think that an over-zealous police officer or prosecutor might accuse you of intentionally ignoring the alert in order to give a hypothetical accomplice more time to dispose of the stolen firearm(s). So there's a scenario under which this "feature" not only won't help you, but could actually harm you.

I'm a Luddite. I don't trust technology and you won't see me lining up to buy whatever you develop out of this project. I'm also not interested in anything that puts a chip or transmitter in the gun. If my app can trace it, so can other people, and where I go with my gun is none of their business.
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Old February 22, 2013, 11:24 PM   #11
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I like it.

Years ago, there was a company that marketed a magnetic ring to be worn by the gun owner on his/her gun hand (or both hands, I suppose). The ring attracted a pendulum that enable the gun to be fired. Without the pendulum moved, the gun was inoperative. I don't know if it ever was successful, but did learn of one gun that was stolen and, when the thief took it to a gunsmith to get it fixed so he could use it or sell it, the gunsmith recognized the device as being used primarily by police officers. Result: the gun was returned to the owner and thief found out.

The tracking chip seems like a GREAT idea. Not only for guns, but for my car keys and anything else I might mislay. For me to be interested, it would have to have a very low power draw (for battery life) and be small enough to fit somewhere under the grip (difficult enough with most revolvers, and nigh impossible with most autoloaders I own, though).

Big brother does not need to know if the chip is mounted in a dog collar, automobile, gun, television, computer or what.

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Old February 23, 2013, 12:45 AM   #12
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You realize that there are already camera security systems that can monitor the safe and send email/text message if activated. There are also motion senors, magnet door sensors slso activate the alam system and send a message to ones cell phone. Check out AT&T's system for example.Why duplicate what already exists ?

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Old February 23, 2013, 08:04 AM   #13
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Old February 23, 2013, 10:42 AM   #14
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when i was going into my senior year of engineering school a couple of people presented the concept of adding palm or finger print recognition into the grip of a law enforcement firearm to prevent it from being used against the officer should it be taken from him. other than the obvious reason of a misaligned grip rendering the cop's gun inoperable, the university didn't want any part of a gun related design project on their premises.
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Old February 23, 2013, 09:20 PM   #15
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I could kinda see the idea of an alarm on a gun safe that alerted a smartphone app. Let's say your teenage son's home, alarm's off, and he goes in the gun safe to take out the gun and show it off to his friends. You can chew him out when you get home.

As for an alarm on an individual gun, no. I have dozens of handguns in the safe, and what are the odds someone will pick up that one gun? I see the same problem with a chip. I had a gun stolen from a hotel room last year, and out of all the guns I had, it's not the one I would have guessed someone would steal.
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