Chiappa and RFID

It has been discovered that Chiappa is going to start adding radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips to their handguns for inventory and quality control purposes. RFID, like any technology, has good and bad uses. The Firearm Blog has a nice writeup on the whole situations including a press release from MKS Distributing which is rather snarky:

RFID Removal: For those still concerned you can simply remove the grip and remove the hot glued RFID from the frame in the grip area when (over a year from now) these begin to appear. Others may prefer to wrap the revolver and their head in aluminum foil, curl in a ball and watch reruns of Mel Gibson’s 1997 film, Conspiracy Theory. Well, that’s a plan too!

I smiled a little at the snarky remark and then shook my head as its obvious MKS Distributing doesn’t understand the very real concerns over implanting RFID chips into firearms. Although MKS Distributing claims the RFID chips can only be read a few inches a way that was proven to be completely incorrect at last year’s Defcon. RFID chips are very simple, thus they have no built-in security mechanisms meaning anybody with the right equipment can read them without your knowledge.

Combine this with the fact that obtaining RFID readers is pretty cheap these days and you can see a problem for people carrying concealed. Although I would rip these chips out the second I obtained a gun with embedded RFID chips, most people would not know to look for or pull out these blasted little identification chips. With simple equipment somebody would be able to read the RFID chip on your firearm and instantly know whether or not you were carrying a firearm. Part of the reason people carry concealed is because they don’t want anybody else to know they’re carrying. Often this is to make others feel more comfortable but another reason is to have the element of surprise should you ever have to pull it. Embedding RFID chips into firearms would give criminals a means of know whether or not you were armed and take appropriate actions.

Of course there is also the possibility of using the RFID chip to identify homes of gun owners (a person staking out your home could just drop an RFID reader in your area and see if they come across any hits). If a person has one gun (for instance if they’re carrying it out the door when leaving for work) it’s likely they have others which would make their home a desirable target for the would be thief. On top of that, if you left the reader in the area for a couple of weeks a potential thief could figure out when the homeowner is away so they could move in and rob the place without resistance.

Putting a passive remotely readable device into anything isn’t a great idea, but that idea becomes far worse when that object is a firearm. Personally I won’t support Chiappa as I feel that would be promoting this type of behavior but I also believe what MKS Distributing said is true, RFID chips will become far more prevalent in firearms down the line.

One thought on “Chiappa and RFID”

  1. I mentioned over at Robb Allen’s blog that I’m currently (peripherally) involved with an RFID project. The big problem isn’t in reading the tags we are looking for–it is in reading those tags reliably without also often reading the tags from halfway across the warehouse. I find it unlikely in the extreme that the range is limited to 3 inches, and far more likely that their reader is turned down to that level.

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