Sunday, March 18, 2012

GPS tracking of guns

GPS RFID tracking of guns

Is GPS tracking of guns possible or practical?

Ever since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I’ve been seeing proposals calling for GPS tracking for guns. I don’t really see how this would work, since GPS tracking systems require a power source and a transmitter.

Basically, it would be up to the gun owner to make sure the system was always charged, and anyone up to no good would likely let it drain down or disable it. We’re pretty much talking about turning firearms into an electronic device. Can you imagine what retrofitting existing firearms would look like? Clearly many of the folks proposing this don’t have much of a clue about GPS technology.

A workable alternative: RFID tracking

Yet there is another option that requires no power source, and would add almost no weight or bulk to a weapon – Radio frequency identification (RFID). These are the tags that trigger alarms when a shoplifter walks out of a store with merchandise. They only have a range of a few meters, but sensors could be set up at entrances to schools, theaters, public buildings, etc. Apart from the politics of it, this still leaves the issue of existing devices.

And while I’m sure the technology could be circumvented, I also know that there are folks being caught committing crimes while wearing GPS tracking devices. Clearly, there are plenty of criminals and deranged people who don’t think things through. RFID tagging would no doubt help prevent some senseless tragedies.

Image adapted from kcdsTM, Creative Commons license

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. OK…so, I’ve got my concealed carry permit. Every time I go into a store with a RFID reader, will an alarm go off? Will my movements in places that are legal for me to carry be tracked? This, too, opens a whole new can of worms. How about figuring out a way to punish those who would do harm rather than us law-abiding citizens? This idea is about as useless as suggesting all guns be turned in…does anyone really think the bad guys are really going to turn theirs in?

    • Rick Howard says:

      Sorry, but law abiding citizens with CCW licenses can legally enter many of those theaters, public buildings, etc. that you mentioned above. Accountability lies with people, not weapons. We will not fix the decades-long moral decay enveloping this country by electronically tagging firearms. There are no quick fixes to this problem.

  2. Yeah, you can’t fix stupid. This would just be yet another colossal waste of taxpayer dollars trying to fix the wrong problem.

    People are the issue, NOT the guns.

  3. I think that this is a great idea if the gun veers too far from its storage it will alarm the police and the police can now trace the gun and the person carrying to where it is and have it for questioning.

  4. This will not fix the problem about carrying guns in public places, but it is a great idea for finding lost firearms

  5. If this were implemented, how on earth will the gps be installed? The gps should be very robust to endure the abuse guns get when always used.

  6. GPS in guns, another thing that the NRA will definitely disagree with and will lobby extensively so it will not be approved.

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