California gun shop drops the smart gun after furious backlash

A California shooting club that was “the only outlet in the country” selling the first smart gun is “facing a furious backlash from customers and gun rights supporters,” as reported by Michael S. Rosenwald in the Washington Post:

Attacks in online forums and social networks against the Oak Tree Gun Club have prompted the store to back away from any association with the Armatix iP1 smart gun…

The vitriol began almost immediately after The Washington Post reported that the Armatix iP1 smart gun was for sale at the pro shop. Electronic chips inside the gun communicate with a watch that can be purchased with the gun, making it impossible to fire without the watch.

The backlash “has apparently shaken Oak Tree, one of the largest gun stores and shooting ranges in California,” and the club’s owner has denied “ever offering the gun” and apologized for “any confusion.”

According to the Post account, Armatix claims Oak Tree at first said they needed more smart guns for a TV report, but then the tone “quickly changed” and the TV spot was cancelled, after Oak Tree received phone calls from irate gun rights supporters.

The somewhat murky situation was somewhat clarified by Oak Tree’s owner, in comments to’s David Codrea, to the effect that

Our facility does NOT carry the Armatix pistol, never has… The FFL [Federal Firearms Licensed] dealer on site has not ever merchandised or sold the firearm and does not intend to carry this firearm.”

It appears that a range owner allowing some shooting demos at his facility of the Armatix iP1 smart gun - a .22 caliber pistol that retails at $1,399 plus $399 for the enabling watch - combined with Armatix and the media jumping the gun on a story about the nation’s first smart-gun for sale and the possible triggering of a New Jersey smart gun law, resulted in the heated backlash of the gun community.

New Jersey passed a law in 2002 mandating that “only smart guns be sold in the state within three years of a smart gun being sold anywhere in the country,” as another Rosenwald column recounts.

Once news of a smart gun for sale in California was reported last month, New Jersey state Senate Democratic Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who sponsored the 2002 law, and who was allegedly recorded last year on a hot-mic advocating gun confiscation, lost no time in asking the Christie administration for action.

A USA Today piece by Robert Farago at the time called smart guns a “dumb idea,” and said “revoking New Jersey’s law would be smart.”  As New Jersey’s “beleaguered gun owners” know, however, that’s not about to happen, with “the forces of civilian disarmament running rampant” under New Jersey Democrats.

The executive director of New Jersey’s NRA chapter, quoted at North, says “New Jersey’s smart-gun law is as dumb as it gets… It forces you to use an unproven technology to defend your life, and then exempts the state from liability when the gun goes ‘click’ instead of ‘bang.’

The NRA contends that "the ‘smart guns’ issue clearly has the potential to mesh with the anti-gunner's agenda, opening the door to a ban on all guns that do not possess the government-required technology.”

The New Jersey law, or a federal bill recently introduced by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) requiring smart technology on future gun sales, effectively reduces the resale value of existing guns to zero.