A Rockville gun store owner who announced plans to sell a smart gun controlled by an electronic chip scrapped the idea after gun owners protested and even made death threats against him.
But, he’s called out gun supporters for their intolerance, arguing in a video that the so-called smart gun would appeal to people who have questions about gun ownership, broadening the popularity of weapons.
Andy Raymond, the co-owner of Engage Armament, had said earlier this week that offering the Armatix iP1 handgun was a “really tough decision” after what happened to the Oak Tree Gun Club near Los Angeles. The California club was criticized by gun owners and National Rifle Association members who fear the new technology will be mandated and will encroach on Second Amendment rights, reports The Washington Post.
Electronic chips in the gun communicate with a watch and the gun cannot be fired without the watch.
On Thursday night, Raymond lashed out on Facebook against protestors who he says have made death threats against him, his family and even his dog, reports Bethesda Magazine. That Facebook post has since been taken down, but his video explaining his decision can be found on YouTube.
When Armatix approached him about selling the smart pistol, Raymond said it seemed to be good idea to expand gun ownership to “fence-sitters” who might question having a weapon in the house.
“I thought if you got people who never wanted one … if they bought a gun that’s a good thing. They would go out there and exercise their Second Amendment rights. They would join us,” Raymond says in his video.
“How can the NRA or people want to prohibit a gun when we’re supposed to be pro-gun? We’re supposed to say that any gun is good in the right person’s hands. How can they say a gun should be prohibited? How hypocritical is that? … If you’re pro-gun, does it matter what kind of gun the person has?"
Raymond profanely yells at the camera to those people he says threatened to kill him, suggesting that they use guns to kill politicians who have limited gun ownership.
The Post says Raymond was willing to risk selling the gun because Maryland, with its strict gun-control laws, “has already essentially put us out of business.”
But after hundreds of protests on the store’s Facebook page and online forums, Raymond released his video saying he had received death threats and would not sell the gun. He apologized and took responsibility for the decision, urging customers not to blame his business partner or store employees.
Raymond says he had not sold the smart guns and would not.