St. George company introduces Armstarr, gun-tracking technology for private citizens

ST. GEORGE – Firearm tracking systems for law enforcement and military use were developed in the mid-2000s. However, Chris Cannon, founder of the St. George-based Armstarr, said he has developed the only product of its kind available to the general public.

The Armstarr system uses the WTM1, a patented GPS-based tracking device created by Cannon that is purchased and installed within a firearm by the gun owner.

The device doesn’t begin tracking until needed. If a firearm is lost or stolen, the owner can contact Armstarr online or by phone, and activate the system using a unique password. It will then relay a signal to the nearest law enforcement agency, facilitating recovery of the weapon.

By no means unique, tracking devices raise concerns over their vulnerability to misuse. Their application to guns is no exception, as opponents of gun control, among others, recognize that tracking devices facilitate oversight and could play a role in increased regulation. On its website, the NRA states that it opposes requiring guns to be made with electronic equipment that would allow the guns to be deactivated remotely, or with other features that gun owners do not want.

Federal law requires that any firearm purchased through a dealer be registered, and the buyer is subject to a background check via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. However, many states, including Utah, do not require firearms to be registered if purchased from a private party. Firearms do not have to be registered to use Armstarr.

“We would like to keep it out of ‘regulation’ by the government and keep it in the hands of the citizens,” Cannon said.

In the future, Cannon and his partners are seeking integration of Armstarr in the U.S. military. The technology could virtually eliminate soldiers missing in action by tracking the exact location of their service weapons, he said.

“That could essentially work, until the soldiers are disarmed. The tradition is that the enemy disarms American soldiers, and then puts their weapons back into service for their own use,” said Bruce C. Solomon, a combat veteran and readjustment counselor with the St. George Vet Center.

They are involved with various veterans’ organizations and plan to donate a portion of the company’s proceeds to servicemembers.

Chris Cannon
Chris Cannon

Cannon said that both conservative and liberal citizens have been supportive of Armstarr. Opinions on the system from local gun owners varied from interest to strong opposition.

“Anyone who steals (a firearm) can presumably remove it, unless it becomes yet another required thing for every weapon and registered owner,” Ron Olroyd said. “Trust me when I say it will be misused. The government has never seen a technology it can resist abusing.”

“I haven’t heard of anything like this before. I think it’s a good way to locate your weapon if you lost it out hunting or someone stole it from your house,” Brad Pollmann said. “I would use it as long as it wasn’t linked to the government; I don’t really want them to know what I have or where I’m at. It would depend on the subscription cost as well.”

Armstarr and the WTM1 have been in development for the past year and a half. Currently, Cannon and his partners are in the process of trying to obtain licensing with manufacturers. They have approached multiple companies, including Garmin, Magellan GPS and COPsync.

Their hope is to secure a deal and begin producing the Armstarr system by the end of 2014. It will be available through firearms distributors for approximately $65 retail, plus a subscription cost of around $175 per year. Cannon said that several local businesses have expressed interest in carrying the product.

“The first issue I can think of is that the chip will only fit on 1/3 of all handguns; you’re going to have to have a pistol that has grips on it to hide the transmitter. But the chip has plenty of places to be hidden on a long gun of any type,” Dixie Gunworx CEO Chris Michel said. “The system sounds great. It’s not the first of its kind, but still a worthy goal.”

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  • My Evil Twin April 25, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I don’t much like the sounds of this.

  • Dan Lester April 25, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I don’t see it as different than putting a chip in your dog or cat. If you voluntarily put the device in your gun you’ll have a better chance of getting it back if lost or stolen. Same as with your pet. I think it is a loooonnnnggg way from you choosing to do it to having it required. In fact, I don’t think it will ever be required.

  • zacii April 26, 2014 at 8:07 am

    This article is inaccurate. There is no Federal gun registry. Many people believe that when they fill out the ATF form to buy a gun that that is a registry; it is not. It is not officially, anyway. It is possible that the ATF could use the form for a de facto registry, but that is just speculation.

    There are some states that require registry, but Utah isn’t one of them, and there is no federal registry; yet. The day that gun registration becomes reality, we can officially kiss the 2nd amendment goodbye. It will consequently lead to the disarmament and mass murder of American people, just like it did in Europe and Asia last century. Tens of millions were murdered after first requiring a gun registry, which facilitated gun confiscation.

    The Jews for the Preservation of Gun Ownership (JFPO) has an excellent documentary on this subject, which can be easily found online.

    • Obama's gonna take our guns!!! April 26, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      communist socialist takeover?

  • Applejack April 27, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I can’t believe the “GOPhers” aren’t all over this article yet. It’s refreshing, actually. 🙂

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