The smart-gun controversy at Oak Tree Gun Club

 


Unidentified shooters use the Armatix iP1 smart pistol at a Black Friday event at the Oak Tree Gun Club, located outside Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Jenny Park Photography)

I have a follow-up to my story about the nation’s first smart gun going up for sale in California. The new piece looks at the backlash against Oak Tree Gun club for selling the Armatix iP1. In the follow-up, I note that Oak Tree has tried to distance itself from offering the gun. To make sure the record is clear, here are extended quotes from Oak Tree owner James Mitchell’s initial interview with the me on carrying the gun. I’ve also included two photos sent to me by Armatix.

On getting involved with the smart gun: “We’ve been helping the company get the gun introduced here out west, actually in California. We’ve been playing around with this thing for about a year, really. . . . I know the people that own the company, so we’re a logical place for them to start, because California is a very restrictive state and we’re one of the biggest dealers in the state.”

On the controversial aspects of selling it: “One is that people who are opposed to this stuff don’t really know what it is. It’s just like some of the people that are against gun owners, people that own guns, have never even touched a gun or fired a gun.”

 Armatix iP1 gun on sale in cabinet at pro-shop at Oak Tree Gun Club. (California Gun Girls is the LLC that owns the firearms license at the facility.) (Courtesy of Armatix)
This photo of the Armatix iP1 on sale in a cabinet at the Oak Tree Gun Club was taken by Belinda Padilla, president of Armatix’s U.S. operation. (California Gun Girls is the LLC that owns the firearms license at the facility.) (Courtesy of Armatix)

On the target customer: “I think the target customer will be people who are technologically driven — in other words, have interest in higher-level technology. Guns have historically not changed dramatically over the years. Some of the same technology has been used for 50 or 100 years in guns. This has an opportunity to advance that technology greatly by basically adding an electronic component to something that’s never had it. I think the potential buyers would be people that have very high interest in the safety of the gun.”

On being pro-gun and pro-smart-gun: “I walk in a delicate line because I am an extremely pro-gun conservative type person. But I’m also logical, you know. There’s good potential for comprising people’s opinions on both ends, if the technology is accepted. I know the people who developed this real well. They’re engineer types that have a broad base of experience.”

On how the gun is displayed in the store: “It’s a normal gun that goes into a gun cabinet but what we’ve done is we’ve built a range that is a high-tech looking range that’s different from all the other ranges we have. It has furniture on it and stuff like that. . . . It’s a cool-looking gun. It has a James Bond kind of look to it.”

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.
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