Password-protected gun ammunition

Published 28 June 2006

You can protect your gun with a safety latch; but what if you want to protect your ammunition from being stolen and misused? A German inventor has an answer: Password-protected rounds

Parents in rural areas, small towns, and outer suburbs (well, at least in the United States) have a problem: They want to have a gun or two around the house for safety, and perhaps a couple of hunting guns, but they want to make sure that heir kids to do not use these fire arms accidentally. Yes, there are safety catches, and now the first biometric guns are making it to market (the gun allows only those users the finger prints of which it recognize to squeeze the trigger). Hebert Meyerle of Germany says that even this is not enough because thieves can steal your ammunition and use it in their own weapons.

His solution? Use password-protected ammunition. Meyerle has applied for a U.S. patent for a design for a modified cartridge which would be fired by a burst of high-frequency radio energy. The energy would only ignite the charge if a solid-state switch within the cartridge had been activated. The activation would happen only if a password entered into the gun using a tiny keypad matched one stored in the cartridge. When a gun owner purchases ammunition, the cartridges would be programmed with a password which matches the purchaser’s gun. Meyerle says that the owner could set the gun to request the password when it is reloaded, or to perform a biometric check before firing. The gun could also lock itself automatically after a preset period has passed since the password was entered last.