SAN ANTONIO – Do firearms make you safer or do they trigger more tragic accidents? The manufacturers of smart guns say they have a solution.
Smart guns would be smart enough to instantly know their owners, so if they got in the hands of the bad guy, the bad guy would be locked out. Only the good guy could use it.
It’s the stuff of science fiction that’s on its way to becoming reality.
In Skyfall, James Bond added a smart gun to his arsenal and that technology outsmarted the enemy.
"That guy goes after the komodo dragon at the bottom,” Josh Felker with Lone Star Handgun says. “He gets the dragon away. He tries to use James Bond's gun and it didn't work because his fingerprint wasn't registered in his gun."
Felker’s a combat veteran who now teaches civilians how to carry and fire guns.
"We're using a Glock 19 9mm today,” he shows News 4.
That model is similar to the weapons some companies are making with “smart” technology.
"One's got a ring on it that basically will deactivate a magnet that's in the handgun when you grasp the gun properly,” Felker says. “So only the operator of that gun can use the gun, in theory."
There are also prototypes of what James Bond used like the Intelligun.
Chris Anda, a retired Marine who teaches safety classes at Alamo Tactical, explains how it works.
"It actually reads the electromagnetic profile of the fingers that are scanned in there,” Anda says.
He spoke with Intelligun’s manufacturer who says the gun can store up to 25 different profiles of your fingerprint.
"So no matter what angle it's grabbed at, it will sense the finger and work,” Anda says.
The technology is in its infancy but some gun control advocates say it’s the future. It’s being promoted as the type of weapon teachers could keep in classrooms and parents could keep at home, and not be worried kids could accidentally hurt themselves or criminals could use it against them.
"Don't get me wrong. The technology's intriguing,” Anda says. “But a lot of people don't trust it because they're worried it's going to be mandated."
Political concerns aside, both veterans say there are practical reasons most stores don’t stock smart guns. They’re not mass produced yet and it’s impossible to put a dollar amount on one, so it’s not something the average family could afford.
Plus, the “smart” components are battery-operated, and batteries malfunction are run out.
"I think that leaves a lot of room for error,” Felker says. “A lot of room for, what if I don't grip it properly. What if my wife needs to use the gun. What if, what if, what if.”
Our experts agree, smart guns won’t hit Main Street until they work as well as they do in Hollywood.
"When the technology is mature and it's affordable and it's accessible to everybody, the market will accept it and it will move into where it needs to be,” Anda says.
Both veterans say education is your best defense. They say if you want to keep a gun in the house, don’t treat it like a forbidden fruit the kids can’t touch because that will only make the kids want to play with the gun more.
Instead, they recommend taking the time to teach your kids safety tips, and lock the guns up if you’re not around.