The End of Gun Grabs

Have you given thought to what it would take to end death of police officers due to gun grabs?

This past June two Georgia prison guards were killed when two inmates jumped them during a transfer, took their firearms and used it against the officers. Recent research by Johns Hopkins shows that when a law enforcement official’s firearm is taken from him, an assault is more than twice as likely to end in a fatality.

Gun grabs are one of law enforcement professionals’ worst nightmares and for good reason; over fifty police professionals have been killed by their own weapon in a ten year period according to research by the Washington Post. Fear of gun grabs is said to be so high in many correctional institutions that prison guards are forbidden to carry their firearms thus putting themselves at higher risk of being assaulted on the job.

Yet it seems current techniques and products to minimize the risk of gun grabs offer at best limited effectiveness. In the heat of battle, training intended to help officers secure their weapons often goes out the window. When faced with a scenario in which someone tries to grab their gun, officers are instructed to grab the gun, take a hold of the suspect’s wrist, drop down to shift the body weight, and then roll. According to retired NYPD police tactics expert Daniel Modell: “if someone grabs your gun, you are under immense stress and the complex skills you are trained on, rarely work in the streets.”

As all in law enforcement also know there are a variety of holster retentions and hood shrouds to prevent gun grabs. The concern though among many is that these products impact accessing the firearm from the holster in a profession where being “quick on the draw” can be a matter of life or death.

The good news is that there is new technology on the horizon that can end gun grabs once and for all. Smart guns that can only be operated by the authorized user (and if necessary his designated partner) have been thoroughly tested and proven reliable in such extreme conditions as the cold of Nome, Alaska, the humidity of the Panama jungle and the heat and sand of the Arizona desert by the former head of Heckler & Koch, Ernst Mauch.

Before smart guns can become available, a controversial, New Jersey Smart Gun Law that discouraged investment must be amended, and the markets need to gain total confidence in reliability. It looks like with Governor Christie leaving office in January 2018 the New Jersey issue will be rectified. The aforementioned Ernst Mauch believes his radio frequency identification (RFID) smart gun design which involves a “digital handshake” between a tiny chip embedded in a ring or wristband in the offhand and a chip in the firearm itself has already passed the reliability test and indeed an earlier version of his has received approval by the State of California.

Ultimately further intense testing by federal law enforcement agencies and large state and metro police departments will be the final arbiters. No less an authority than Alan Gottlieb Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation has said that if legal mandates were removed he would be one of the first to buy a smart gun if proven to be reliable.

Alan Gottlieb Discusses Smartguns

The two Georgia prison guards killed by their own firearms would most likely be alive today if equipped with a proven reliable smart gun. Sadly we can’t of course recreate history. This tragedy however can motivate all of us in the industry to be receptive to new life saving technology that can help keep our law enforcement officials safer in the future.

– Mike Farrell, CEO Smart Firearms

(Mike and others will be at the “Law Enforcement and Smart Guns Symposium” at the Henley Park Hotel in DC on 8.3)

gun grabs