Smith & Wesson Says “No” to “Smart” Guns

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posted on February 13, 2019
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Smith & Wesson deserves credit for not rolling over and simply giving in to outlandish, unsupportable requests. Months after its annual shareholder meeting, Smith & Wesson has determined that “smart” guns wouldn’t be a pursuit that would be in the company’s best interest. The company supported its decision by saying that its customers don’t blame gun makers for criminal acts involving firearms and today’s technology doesn’t make “smart” guns reliable enough to be viable.
In September, a group of shareholders brought up the subject during the company’s annual meeting. They made enough of a case that S&W agreed to study the matter. The report—released by S&W’s parent, American Outdoor Brands Corp.—was released last week, and the research was conducted at the behest of a shareholder resolution put forth by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Some have suspected that the Sisters bought shares of American Outdoor stock specifically with the end game of forcing change in the firearm-manufacturing process.
“The desire for a seemingly simple technological solution to complex societal problems is understandable, but it is not a basis for good business judgment,” the report said. “While the issue of ‘smart guns’ has been presented as an existential policy decision for the Board of Directors, it is not.”
The activist shareholders apparently are operating under the same mistaken notions that many anti-gunners believe. Their thinking is that if companies can produce something as far-reaching as today’s smart phones, surely they can devise a way for guns to “recognize” that its rightful owner is using it for a lawful purpose. One fallacy with that line of thinking is that in a life-or-death situation, it matters less if your call doesn’t go through than if your gun doesn’t fire. And, like smart phones that don’t respond properly when one’s hands are wet, neither does today’s technology allow a gun to be fired under certain situations. Smith & Wesson—like other companies in the industry—realizes that the limitations can have consequences for law-abiding gun owners.
It is worth noting that even though the company knew the report would dispel the shareholders’ misguided notions, at least Smith & Wesson did the responsible thing as a company by responding to shareholder concerns—even though a majority of shareholders voted against the idea. On the flip side, we’ve seen anti-gun business executives—like those at Dick’s Sporting Goods and various airlines—discount shareholder concerns about how their gun policies are detrimental to business. But don’t expect the gun grabbers to admit that they’re wrong in that regard.

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