PunditFact checks claim about smart guns

Smart guns may not be not sold in the United States, but that doesn't mean they're not debated. 10 News anchor Allison Kropff teams up with PunditFact to look at the statistics on if the safety features actually work.

Smart guns are commonly known as "child-proof guns" or "personalized guns." The hope is to reduce suicides, accidental shootings or someone stealing an officer's weapon. On MSNBC, Larry Pratt with Gun Owners of America, questions the reliability of smart guns.

Here's what he said:

"This product is not ready for prime time. Twenty percent of the time this thing won't work! Twenty percent of the time it won't work! And you're asking people to put their lives in a product like that?"

Pratt was citing a 2003 Popular Mechanics article that was based on research out of New Jersey:

"The New Jersey Institute of Technology was looking at fingerprint readers; guns that fire, kind of like how you open your iPhone these days. Guns that recognize your fingerprint and then allow you to shoot once they recognize you. They were looking at only those kinds of guns and found that they were only working about -- or weren't working -- about 20% of the time," says Katie Sanders with PunditFact.

PunditFact looked at the study and compared it to Pratt's statement.

"The big problem with Pratt's statement is that the study didn't look at all other kinds of smart guns. Some of them fire when they recognize your grip, some of them -- like the leading brand by Armatix, a German company -- fire with entering a PIN code and it recognizes a chip in a bracelet or watch that you wear in addition to the gun," says Sanders.

Because Pratt was taking a very narrow and a very old statistic and applying to all smart guns, PunditFact rates his statement FALSE.

Fact checkers contacted the researchers who did that study back in 2003. They told PunditFact it's not appropriate to use their report in this way, because the technology has probably improved over the years.


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