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Smart Gun Sales Halted in Maryland by Threats of Boycotts, Violence

Image: Smart Gun Sales Halted in Maryland by Threats of Boycotts, Violence In 2009 photo a man holds a prototype of a smart gun during the International Guns Exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany.

By Nick Sanchez   |   Wednesday, 07 May 2014 07:20 AM

One-time smart gun seller Andy Raymond of Maryland has rescinded his decision to carry the device after an outcry from customers that included threats of boycotts and violence.

"Things went crazy," Raymond told CBS News. "People just started calling. All three of our lines were just boom, boom, boom. A hundred emails. I mean, just like that."

The gun at the center of the debate is the Armatix iP1 .22-caliber handgun, a German-made firearm that can only be fired by someone wearing the accompanying radio-wave wristwatch.

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After releasing a reaction video to Facebook in which he expressed his anger and annoyance – "I received numerous death threats today. I really f***ing appreciate that, it's really f***ing classy" – Raymond and the store's co-owner ultimately decided that if it's not what their customers wanted, then they would keep the gun off the shelves to avoid a boycott of their store.

He later told CBS News, "The technology isn't going away. If people want to defeat it, they need to defeat it in the free market."

In Maryland, the free market can sort things out, however gun-rights proponents are wary of laws that would restrict gun sales to smart guns only – effectively outlawing normal firearms.

According to The Washington Post, the state of California and Democrats in Congress have considered passing laws similar to New Jersey's 2003 statute that says that when "at least one manufacturer has delivered at least one production model of a personalized handgun to a registered or licensed wholesale or retail dealer in New Jersey or any other state," the sale of all ordinary handguns will banned within 29 months.

This means that Raymond's actions could have set off a handgun ban not in his home state of Maryland, but just a few miles away in New Jersey.

Many government grants have been given for the development of smart gun technology, which usually relies on a radio-wave signal, palm print, or other identifier unique to the gun's owner.

Law enforcement has yet to take up the technology thus far because of reliability issues as well as expense. Many, however, say it's only a matter of time before the technology is perfected, and the battle tips into the free market.

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