Belinda Padilla is probably the only gun salesperson who gets threats from pro-gun advocates.
Pro-gun enthusiasts have threatened Padilla because she is trying to market a new .22-caliber handgun, the iP1 pistol, that uses a radio frequency identification (RFID) to identify the authorized user.
The gun will not fire for unauthorized users.
Padilla works for a German gun manufacturer Armatix, which is trying to sell the first “smart gun” in the U.S.
However, traditional gun manufacturers, which often tout the wonderful free market of America, have fought the sale of this "smart gun."
“Right now, unfortunately, these organizations that are scaring everybody have the power,” Padilla toldThe New York Times. “All we’re doing is providing extra levels of safety to your individual right to bear arms. And if you don’t want our gun, don’t buy it. It’s not for everyone.”
Second Amendment advocates, who stand in the way of the free market, claim that "smart guns" will somehow lead to scary, evil U.S. government mandates.
“Are we concerned?” said Lawrence Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade association for U.S. gun companies. “Yes.”
“No. 1, the technology is not ready. No. 2, we believe the market ought to work,” added Keane. “[Armatix] tried to put the product on the market, and the market reacted.”
However, it was not the rejection of the market, but rather pro-gun activists who shut down sales of the iP1 pistol, which went on sale at the Oak Tree Gun Club near Los Angeles earlier this year.
After the Oak Tree Gun Club owner, James Mitchell, told the The Washington Post in February how the iP1 “could revolutionize the gun industry,” pro-gun advocates threatened to boycott the gun club and called for investigations of Padilla and Armatix, whom they tried to link to a gun control plot by the U.N.
Calguns.net, a forum for gun owners, included comments such as: “I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans.”
The pro-gun advocates succeeded in forcing the Oak Tree Gun Club to drop the "smart gun." Mitchell now claims he never had a business relationship with Armatix and denies ever selling the iP1 pistol.
Contributing to the fear-mongering is the pro-gun NRA, which stated in 2013 that it "recognizes that the 'smart guns' issue clearly has the potential to mesh with the anti-gunner's agenda, opening the door to a ban on all guns that do not possess the government-required technology."
The NRA cited a poll by the NSSF that found that 44 percent of respondents in the U.S. said that a "smart gun" would not be reliable at all, while another 34 percent said that a "smart gun" would not be very reliable.
Neither the NSSF or the NRA questioned the non-logic of Americans giving their opinions on "smart guns" that they had never used.
For her part, Padilla does get email from people wanting to buy the iP1 pistol, but the pro-gun lobby has made it impossible (so far) for her to freely sell guns in America.