Austin Teens Caught Faking GOA Endorsements for Their Gun Tracking Invention

Westlake High School smart gun inventors
Courtesy SafeZone

A recent story out of Austin shows that misguided people often show their ignorance and incompetence about guns and the issues that surround them. Some Austin area high school students trying to build a “smart gun” — one that also allows guns equipped with the technology to be tracked and remotely disabled — as part of a class project managed to get some local publicity.

But with that publicity came extra scrutiny they didn’t expect.

On the surface, a “smart gun” sounds like a good idea. If only the authorized user can use the gun, there’s additional protection from thieves, children who might hurt themselves, and others. But there are also some very valid reasons why many gun owners don’t want that kind of tech in their firearms.

The most important one is reliability. Fingerprint pads and facial recognition scanners, technologies that are often used in various smartphone designs, can and do fail. Water, sweat, blood, gloves, and injuries (which can be sustained in a fight) can all prevent the technology from getting it right. When life and death hangs in the balance, nobody wants to depend on that.

The other problem is that governments would unquestionably want to make this kind of technology mandatory. One of the Austin students and a gun business owner who helped them say it should be optional and that we can let the market decide. But the video above closes with one of the students saying, “Something we like to say is that we don’t care about the politics of the individual; we care about the individual’s life.”

That’s precisely the claim politicians will use to justify mandates.

And that’s where the real problem here lies. When the individual doesn’t get to control the gun, who’s to say who else might be electronically invited into your holster? Would it get to the point where you have to dial 911 to have your gun unlocked? Or, would authorities be able to remotely shut down all “smart” guns in an area in an “emergency?”

When we lose focus on individuals’ rights, we end up not protecting their lives in the long run. If anything, the history of democide in the 20th century should inform this debate, as murder by government was the top non-natural killer.

They Lied About an Endorsement To Win (And Collect $8,000)

After the story aired, people concerned about issues like those above decided to give the SafeZone website a closer look. They found a glaring problem. To win the competition, along with an $8,000 of investment to move toward a marketable product, the students did something dumb…they claimed that gun groups on both sides of the gun rights issue had supported them without actually contacting them.

The anti-gun groups are probably a safe bet, largely because they see the same potential for (possibly mandatory) state control and they’re on board with that. But Gun Owners of America wasn’t amused by the false claim of their endorsement . . .

The students ended up removing all of the alleged “partnerships” from their website, but the damage has already been done. We don’t know what other competing student projects may have lost out to the enterprising SafeZone kids, but we do know that this one appears to have done something dishonest to get themselves over the finish line.

SafeZone Austin Westlake High School smart gun
Courtesy SafeZone

The wider problem here, however, is that these “smart gun” technologies are almost always the same. Instead of admitting that the goal is to disrespect and limit individual rights in the name of “safety,” they avoid or sometimes lie about the implications of their product. This one was no different.


2 Responses

  1. Those students need to be required to return the money they received fraudulently, be required to return any other “medals or symbols of recognition” they obtained through dishonesty and fraud, required to apologize in a public venue to those students that were cheated out of a legitimate win by their fraud and receive a failing grade if this was a graded assignment!!

  2. My employer installed a smart time clock. Sometimes, I only had to show it my fingerprint 5 or 10 times. Sometimes, I had to give up, and inform my foreman that the clock wasn’t working again. Yeah – I really need a smart gun.

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