Title:
Dischargeable hand weapons having reduced criminal usefulness
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Methods and apparatuses for preventing the discharging of a hand weapon in locations where it is not permitted by determining the location of the weapon and receiving a signal for allowing discharging from a permitting agency only when the weapon is at a location where its discharging can be permitted.



Inventors:
Martin, John Mikel (Brownsville, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/867242
Publication Date:
12/05/2002
Filing Date:
05/30/2001
Assignee:
MARTIN JOHN MIKEL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
42/70.01
International Classes:
F41A17/06; (IPC1-7): F41A17/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BUCKLEY, DENISE J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John Mikel Martin (Brownsville, TX, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An apparatus comprising: a dischargeable hand weapon; means for transmitting a certain signal to an agency for permitting the discharging of said weapon; means, in contact with said transmitting means, for receiving in response to said signal, a signal for permitting the discharging of said weapon based on said transmitting means being at a geodetic location where the discharging of said weapon can be permitted; and means, in contact with said receiving means and said weapon, for preventing the discharging of said weapon based on said receiving means not receiving said permitting signal.

2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said certain signal comprises information of the identity of said weapon, and wherein said permitting signal is further based on there being no illegalities relating to said weapon found by said agency.

3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said preventing is further based on said permitting signal not being received within an immediately preceding certain period of time.

4. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said preventing means comprises: means, in contact with and at the same location as said receiving means, for providing an allowing signal based on said receiving means receiving said permitting signal; means, in contact with said providing means, for transmitting said allowing signal; means, for receiving said allowing signal when within a certain distance of said allowing signal transmitting means; and a preventing part, in contact with and at the same location as said allowing signal receiving means and said weapon, for preventing the discharging of said weapon based on said allowing signal receiving means not receiving said allowing signal.

5. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 further comprising human operated means, in contact with said providing means, for controlling the functioning of said providing means so that said providing means can be allowed to function or prevented from functioning.

6. An apparatus as claimed in claim 5 further comprising means, in contact with said providing means, for transmitting a certain signal to an emergency agency based on said providing means functioning after not having been functioning.

7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 further comprising: means for determining that the location of said determining means has changed; and means, in contact with and at the location of said determining means and said providing means, for preventing the functioning of said providing means based on said determining means determining that said location has changed.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising means, in contact with and at the same location as said transmitting means, for determining the geodetic location of said determining means and said transmitting means, and wherein said certain signal comprises information of said location.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said weapon and all means are part of one assembly, and further comprising means, in contact with said determining means, for preventing the discharging of said weapon based on said determining means determining that the location of said assembly has changed by more than a certain distance after said transmitting means has transmitted said certain signal.

10. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8 wherein said preventing means comprises: means, in contact with and at the same location as said receiving means, for providing an allowing signal based on said receiving means receiving said permitting signal; means, in contact with and at the location of said determining means, said transmitting means, and said providing means, for preventing the functioning of said providing means based on said determining means determining that the location of said determining means is more than a certain distance from the location where said determining means was when said transmitting means transmitted said certain signal; means, in contact with said providing means, for transmitting said allowing signal; means, for receiving said allowing signal when within a certain distance of said allowing signal transmitting means; and a preventing part, in contact with and at the same location as said allowing signal receiving means and said weapon, for preventing the discharging of said weapon based on said allowing signal receiving means not receiving said allowing signal.

11. A method for reducing the criminal usefulness of a hand weapon comprising a communicating part and a discharging part comprising the steps of: preventing the discharging of said weapon; transmitting a certain signal from said communicating part to an agency for permitting the discharging of said weapon; receiving from said agency by said communicating part a signal for permitting the discharging of said weapon based on said communicating part being at a geodetic location where the discharging of said weapon can be permitted; and allowing the discharging of said weapon.

12. A method as claimed in claim 11 wherein said certain signal comprises information of the identity of said weapon, and wherein said permitting signal is further based on there being no illegalities relating to said weapon found by said agency.

13. A method as claimed in claim 11 wherein the locations of said communicating part and said discharging part can be changed independently of each other, wherein said allowing step comprises the step of transmitting an allowing signal from the location of said communicating part to the location of said discharging part, and further comprising after said allowing step, the steps of: increasing the distance between said communicating part and said discharging part so that said communicating part and said discharging part are more than a certain distance apart; and preventing the discharging of said weapon based on said discharging part not receiving said allowing signal because of said increasing of distance.

14. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein said allowing step further comprises the step of transmitting a certain signal to an emergency agency based on said transmitting of said allowing signal.

15. A method as claimed in claim 11 further comprising after said preventing step and before said transmitting step, the step of determining the geodetic location of said communicating part, and wherein said certain signal comprises information of said location.

16. A method as claimed in claim 15 further comprising after said allowing step, the steps of: changing the location of said weapon by more than a certain distance; and preventing the discharging of said weapon based on said changing.

17. A method as claimed in claim 15 wherein the locations of said communicating part and said discharging part can be changed independently of each other, and further comprising after said allowing step, the steps of: changing the location of said communicating part by more than a certain distance; and preventing the discharging of said weapon based on said changing.

18. A method as claimed in claim 11 further comprising after said transmitting step and before said receiving step, the step of determining the location of said communicating part.

19. A method as claimed in claim 18 further comprising after said allowing step, the steps of: changing the location of said communicating part so that said communicating part is not a geodetic location where the discharging of said weapon can be permitted; and preventing the discharging of said weapon after a certain period of time after receiving said permitting signal.

20. A method as claimed in claim 18 wherein the locations of said communicating part and said discharging part can be changed independently of each other, and further comprising after said allowing step, the steps of: changing the location of said communicating part; and preventing the discharging of said weapon based on said changing.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] 1. Field of the Invention

[0004] This invention relates to dischargeable hand weapons and in particular to methods and apparatuses for reducing the criminal usefulness of such weapons.

[0005] 2. Description of Related Art

[0006] U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/845,123 discloses methods and apparatuses for reducing the criminal usefulness of a dischargeable hand weapon by using means for determining the location of the weapon, means for storing information of at least one area where discharging of the weapon is allowed, and means for preventing its discharging if it is not in that area. The handgun and claims of that application are similar to the handguns and claims of this present application.

[0007] Colts has reportedly produced a prototype of a handgun that can be fired only by persons authorized to fire it.

[0008] U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,423,142, 5,192,818, and 5,068989 disclose several methods and apparatuses for reducing the criminal usefulness of dischargeable hand weapons.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 4,682,435 discloses a safety system for selectively disabling a firearm.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 4,672,763 discloses a device for preventing the unauthorized firing of a weapon.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 4,563,827 discloses a safety system for disabling a firearm.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 4,488,370 discloses a weapon system and method for controlling the operation of a weapon to prevent it from being accidentally operated or operated by an unauthorized person.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 4,154,014 discloses an apparatus for preventing unauthorized activation of a touch-operable device.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 4,003,152 discloses a safety system for firearms.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 3,400,393 discloses a safety mechanism that prevents a weapon form being discharged while aimed toward a source of electromagnetic waves.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] Many dischargeable hand weapons are popular for the defense of homes and businesses. Reducing the criminal usefulness of those weapons would save many lives and reduce injuries. There are several ways of accomplishing this. One way is by limiting a weapon's area of usefulness. Accordingly, the main object of this invention is to provide means and methods for preventing the discharging of a hand weapon in locations where it is not permitted.

[0017] The location of a hand weapon can be determined by use of a:

[0018] 1. telephone that is part of the weapon and is communicating while plugged into a fixed telephone outlet,

[0019] 2. wireless telephone (e.g., cellular telephone) that is part of the weapon and is transmitting a signal that is received by a locating means, or

[0020] 3. GPS (global positioning system) receiver that is part of the weapon.

[0021] After determining the location of the weapon, an agency with permitting authority can compare the weapon's location with locations where discharging of the weapon is permitted. If discharging of the weapon is permitted at the weapon's location, a permitting signal can be transmitted to a means for allowing the weapon to discharge. Accordingly, another object of this invention is to provide methods and means for determining the location of a weapon and subsequently to receive from a permitting agency a signal for permitting discharging.

[0022] It is possible that determining of the location of the weapon and receiving a signal might require an too much time in an emergency situation. Therefore, another object of this invention is to receive a permitting signal prior to any emergency situation, and to allow the discharging of the weapon in the future if it is located within a certain distance of where it was when the permitting signal was received.

[0023] Knowledge that at a certain location there is a hand weapon capable of discharging is valuable information for police to have in case they have to go to that residence in the future. Therefore, another object of this invention is to provide a method for disclosing to police agencies the location of a hand weapon that is capable of discharging.

[0024] Kowledge of the location where use of a hand weapon is contemplated is valuable information for police and security services to have. Therefore, another object of this invention is to provide to provide means for disclosing the location where use of a hand weapon is contemplated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025] The drawings are not to scale and some obviously necessary parts are omitted (e.g., wires), or some parts are modified in shape in order to allow for clearer illustration of other parts. The arrows indicate control is exerted by one part over another part in the direction of the arrow, or there is an electric power or information flow from one part to another part in the direction of the arrow.

[0026] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a part of a handgun having electronic and electromechanical parts.

[0027] FIG. 2 is a side view of the handgun of FIG. 1 with a portion of it broken away to illustrate internal parts.

[0028] FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a part of a handgun having electronic parts.

[0029] FIG. 4 is a side view of the part of FIG. 3.

[0030] FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a part of a handgun having electronic and electromechanical parts.

[0031] FIG. 6 is a side view of the part of FIG. 5 with a portion of it broken away to illustrate internal parts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0032] In this application “dischargeable hand weapon”, “hand weapon”, and “weapon” all mean a weapon or hunting device having a triggered discharge and designed to be partly or totally hand held while being discharged. Examples include handguns, rifles, shotguns, hand held rocket launchers such as the Gyro-Jet, crossbows, tear gas sprayers, and electric shocking devices. Criminal usefulness of a hand weapon includes the usefulness of the weapon for illegally threatening a person or injuring or killing a person or an animal.

[0033] FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a handgun 10 that can be fired only in locations where it is permitted to fire. That makes it unsuitable for committing many crimes. In addition, since its location is required to be known before firing, that information can also be known by police departments. In order to be fired, the handgun 10 is required to receive a permitting signal from a permitting agency that has compared the location of the handgun 10 with locations where it can be permitted to be fired

[0034] Except for its electronic and electromechanical parts, the handgun 10 is essentially a revolver of conventional design. During operation, a rechargeable base battery 11 in combination with a power supply 12, supplies necessary power to a semiconductor chip 13, a GPS receiver 14 having a GPS receiver antenna 15, and a transceiver 16 having a transceiver antenna 17. Information from the GPS receiver 14 goes to the chip 13. Information goes to and from the transceiver 16 and the chip 13.

[0035] The power supply 12 comprises an induction coil, diode, capacitor, and voltage regulator, and it provides power to the system when the handgun 10 is placed in close proximity to an external induction coil (not illustrated) energized by power from household current.

[0036] The chip 13, can be any semiconductor chip, chipset, microcontroller, or ASIC (application specific integrated circuit), that is capable of functioning as described herein.

[0037] When its location allows it, the GPS receiver 14 constantly receives radio signals from at least four GPS satellites and functions as a means for determining the geodetic location of the handgun 10 based on the transmitting and arrival times of the signals and thus, their travel times. The location information, provided as latitude and longitude data, is sent to the chip 13.

[0038] The trigger 18 and trigger blocking apparatus 19 of this application are essentially the same as parts 60 through 70 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,488,370. The trigger blocking apparatus 19 prevents firing when it is not receiving power from the chip 13 by blocking trigger movement, and it allows firing when it is receiving power by not blocking any trigger movement.

[0039] The handgun 10 has two different modes of operation depending on whether or not the handgun 10 is at a location where its GPS receiver 14 can receive satellite signals. If it is, when the handgun 10 begins receiving power, the chip 13 “instructs” the transceiver 16 to transmit, a “requesting” signal to a permitting agency that is equipped to communicate with the handgun 10. The requesting signal indicates the serial number of the handgun 10 and its location.

[0040] After receiving the signal, a check is made to determine if the handgun 10 has been reported as stolen, and if it is licensed (where required). If there are no illegalities and firing can be permitted at its location, a “permitting” signal is transmitted to the transceiver 16 and from there, to the chip 13. Once the chip 13 receives the signal, it begins to constantly sends power to the trigger blocking apparatus 19, and that allows the handgun 10 to fire by a pull of the trigger 18. Thus, the chip 13 and trigger blocking apparatus 19 functions as a means for preventing the firing of the handgun 10 based on the chip 13 not receiving a permitting signal from the permitting agency.

[0041] If there is any illegality or if the handgun 10 can not be permitted to be fired at its location, the permitting agency will not transmit a permitting signal to the handgun 10, and the chip 13 will repeatedly wait until the GPS receiver 14 determines that the location of the handgun 10 has changed by more than 50 feet to reinitiate, until successful, the process of obtaining a permitting signal.

[0042] Once the chip 15 receives a permitting signal, it will continue to send power to the trigger blocking apparatus 19 as long as the handgun's location as determined by the GPS receiver 14 does not change by more than 200 feet since the time that the last requesting signal was sent. If there is such a change, the GPS receiver 14, chip 13, and trigger blocking apparatus 19 function as a means for preventing the firing of the handgun 10 based on the handgun 10 not being within 200 feet of the location it was in when the transceiver 16 last transmitted a requesting signal.

[0043] If the GPS receiver 14 determines that the handgun's location has changed by more than 200 feet, the chip 13 will repeatedly wait until the GPS receiver 14 determines that the location of the handgun 10 has changed by more than 50 feet to reinitiate, until successful, the process of obtaining a permitting signal.

[0044] In locations where the GPS receiver 14 cannot receive satellite signals, the chip 13 will instruct the transceiver 16 to transmit a requesting signal once every minute. If the agency's equipment can determine the location of the handgun 10, the agency will perform the same steps as previously disclosed, and will transmit a permitting signal if it is warranted. In this case however, firing will be allowed only for a maximum of 90 seconds, and thus, the electronic and electromechanical part function as a means for preventing the firing of the handgun 10 based on the chip 13 not receiving a permitting signal from the permitting agency within the immediately preceding 90 second period of time. If the location cannot be determined by either the GPS receiver 14 or the permitting agency's equipment, no permitting signal will be transmitted.

[0045] It is important that the handgun 10 has good resistance to tampering and circumvention. Such resistance is provided by epoxy potting 20 of the wiring, electronic parts, and as much of the electromechanical parts as possible. In addition, those parts and the part of the trigger 18 in contact with the trigger blocking apparatus 19 are enclosed in a part of the handgun 10 that has been welded shut. Additional tamper and circumvention resistance is accomplished by the use of a trigger blocking apparatus 19 that prevents firing when it is not receiving power instead of one that prevents firing when it is receiving power (which could be easily circumvented by removing the battery 11).

[0046] Many variations of this invention are possible. The following are some examples. Other types of dischargeable hand weapons may be used. A cellular telephone (a type of transceiver) may be used instead of the transceiver 16. The process of receiving a permitting signal may be required to be repeated every day when the GPS receiver 14 is being used to determine location. When the location is being determined by the permitting agency, the process of receiving a permitting signal may be required to be repeated at a time interval other than one minute, and the time allowed for firing may be more or less than 90 seconds.

[0047] The handgun 10 has the disadvantage of not being useful when it cannot receive GPS signals and the permitting agency cannot determine its location when it transmits its requesting signals. Another disadvantage is that it must communicate very often with the permitting agency when depending on the permitting agency to determine its location.

[0048] FIGS. 3 through 6 illustrate a handgun 30 that does not have the aforementioned disadvantages. It has a base part 31 and a revolver part 32, and although it can be used for hunting or target practicing, it is designed primarily for defensive use in a home or business. It has firing requirements that make it unsuitable for use in crimes where it would have to be transported to a location shortly before a crime is to be committed there. In addition, when using certain radio and telephone transmitting capabilities of the handgun 30, its location and serial number can be determined by police departments.

[0049] The handgun 30 has a base location requirement that requires the establishment of a circular “base” area having a radius of 50 feet where the base part 31 must remain during use. After establishing a base area, the revolver part 32 can then be fired within 150 feet of the base part 31 so long as the base part 31 has remained in the base area.

[0050] During operation, a rechargeable base battery 33 or battery eliminator 34 having a flip-out 115 volt ac plug, supplies necessary power to a semiconductor chip 35, a tilt switch 36, a GPS receiver 37 having a GPS reciever antenna 38, a transceiver 39 having a transceiver antenna 40, and a cellular telephone 41 having a cellular telephone antenna 42. Information from the tilt switch 36 and the GPS receiver 37 goes to the base chip 35. Information goes to and from the base chip 35 and the following parts: the transceiver 39, the cellular telephone 41, a numeric keypad 43, and a telephone jack 45. Information from the base chip 35 goes to a base jack 44. The internal electronic parts of the base part 31 are potted in epoxy 46 that provides resistance to tampering.

[0051] The chip 35, can be any semiconductor chip, chipset, microcontroller, or ASIC that is capable of functioning as described herein. It is programmable by use of the keypad 43.

[0052] When its location allows it, the GPS receiver 37 constantly receives radio signals from at least four GPS satellites and functions as a means for determining the geodetic location of the base part 31 based on the transmitting and arrival times of the signals and thus, their travel times. The location information, provided as latitude and longitude data, is then sent to the base chip 35.

[0053] In locations where the signals are blocked (e.g., inside certain buildings), the GPS receiver 37 cannot function. In that case, the location of the base part 31 must be determined by means that are external to the handgun 30. Possibly the cellular telephone company will have means for determining the location. If so, the cellular telephone signal can be used. If not, the base chip 35 must be programmed to function as a telephone and to use the telephone jack 45 and a cable (not illustrated) to connect from the telephone jack 45 to a fixed telephone outlet. In that situation, the location of the base part 31 can then be determined by means such as used to determine the location of a telephone making a 911 call.

[0054] After a base area has been established using the GPS receiver 37, the location of the base part 31 will continue to be constantly determined to ensure that the base part 31 remains within the base area. Thus, the combination of the GPS receiver 37 and the base chip 35 serves as a means for determining if the base part 31 has not changed location by more than 50 feet.

[0055] If the GPS receiver 37 cannot receive GPS signals and the base area has been established by the permitting agency, the tilt switch 36 serves as a means to determine that the base part 31 has not changed location. The base chip 35 receives information from the tilt switch 36 which serves as a means for detecting an event relating to changing the location of the base part 31. That event is a tilting of greater than 0.5 degrees that will surely occur when a person handles the base part 31 to change its location. The normally open tilt switch 36 closes (turns on) at angles of more than 0.5 degrees from normal, and when it does, it sends that information to the base chip 35. Like most tilt switches, it is also affected by acceleration, with 0.0087 g (about 4 inches per second per second) being capable of closing it.

[0056] It is possible to change the location of the base part 31 without detection by the tilt switch 36 if, for example, it is moved very gently on a cart over a smooth floor. However, because of the low probability of that occurring, especially in committing a crime at a distant location, the base chip 35 disregards that possibility in making its determinations. Therefore, if no tilt is detected by the tilt switch 36, the combination of the tilt switch 36 and the base chip 35 also serves as a means for determining that the base part 31 has not changed location by more than 50 feet.

[0057] The keypad 43 is accessible using a combination number and it has a display for displaying programming menus and keying. Selections and programming by use of the keypad 43 provides for flexibility of use and possibly for fulfilling one or more legal requirements of the jurisdiction where the handgun 30 is used.

[0058] When used where GPS signals can be received, the base part 31 can be kept anywhere, but preferably where 110 to 120 volt current is accessible to avoid battery use. If GPS signals cannot be received and the tilt switch 36 is to be used, the base part 31 would preferably be plugged into an accurately plumbed wall outlet using the battery eliminator's flip-out plug.

[0059] After programming of the base chip 35 by the keypad 43, the base chip 35, by way of the telephone jack 45 connected to a fixed telephone outlet, or the cellular telephone 41, makes a connection with a permitting agency that is equipped to communicate with the base part 31. A “requesting” signal is then sent to the permitting agency. The requesting signal indicates the serial number of the handgun 30 and the location of the base part if it has been determined by the GPS receiver 37. If the location has not been determined by the GPS receiver 37, the permitting agency's equipment must determine the base part's location by other means for the process to continue.

[0060] After verifying that the handgun 30 can be permitted to discharge at its location, a check is made to determine if there are any firing area restrictions at the location of the handgun 30, if the handgun 30 has been reported as stolen, and, where required, if it is licensed. If there are no illegalities and firing is permitted at the location, a “permitting” signal is transmitted to the base part 31 that includes information on the maximum circular area that the handgun 30 will be permitted to be fired in.

[0061] Once the base chip 35 receives the permitting signal, an “allowing” signal with coding unique to the handgun 30 can be generated by the base chip 35. According to laws of the jurisdiction and owner preferences programmed into the base chip 35, one of the following scenarios occurs:

[0062] 1. The allowing signal is immediately and continuously sent to the base jack 44. From there, the allowing signal can be transmitted to the revolver by using a 25 foot electrical cable (not illustrated) having a plug on both ends that fits into the base jack 44 and the revolver jack 47.

[0063] 2. The allowing signal is immediately and continuously transmitted by the transceiver 39. It can then be received by the receiver antenna 48 and receiver 49 if the revolver part 32 is within range of the base part 31.

[0064] 3. The allowing signal will be immediately and continuously transmitted by the transceiver 39 only when it is switched on at the level of the base chip 35. Preferably it should be switched on only when firing is contemplated. Switching is accomplished by keying a combination number on the keypad 43 or possibly more conveniently, by use of a small transmitter (not illustrated) that is equivalent to the fob transmitters that are used with vehicle alarms. That transmitter can transmit a signal that is received by the transceiver 39 and sent to the base chip 35 thereby causing transmitting of the allowing signal by the transceiver 39. After firing is no longer contemplated, transmitting by the transceiver 39 can be turned off by using the keypad 43.

[0065] 4. The allowing signal will be immediately and continuously sent to the base jack 44 only when it is switched on at the level of the base chip 35. Switching on and off is accomplished in the same manner as explained in the third scenario.

[0066] 5. Scenario 3 or 4 occurs and whenever the allowing signal is switched on, immediately the base chip 35, by way of the telephone jack 45 connected to a fixed telephone outlet, or by way of the cellular telephone 41, makes a connection with an emergency agency such as 911 or a security agency contracted by the handgun's owner. A signal is then sent that indicates the serial number of the handgun 30, the fact that firing is being contemplated, and the location of the handgun 30 if it has been determined by the GPS receiver 37. If not, the agency's equipment can determine the base part's location.

[0067] 6. Any one of the foregoing scenarios occurs and the base chip 35 determines that the base part 31 has not remained within the base area. In that case, the allowing signal can no longer be transmitted until a base area is established once again.

[0068] 7. The sixth scenario occurs and the base chip 35 automatically attempts to reestablish a base area until it succeeds.

[0069] The third and fourth foregoing scenarios are preferable over the first or second scenarios from the standpoint of safety since only persons knowing the combination number or having the transmitter can enable the handgun to fire.

[0070] The allowing signal from the transceiver 39 has a frequency that allows it to pass relatively easily through building walls (e.g., 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz). Depending on laws and regulations, the transmitting power of the transceiver 39 can be set by a component of the permitting signal. Even at the minimum setting, the allowing signal has a power that would allow it to be received by receivers located similarly to cellular telephone company receivers. Such receivers would be operated for or by a police and/or security agency, and would be capable of locating and identifying the handgun from the signal.

[0071] Firing can occur only if the revolver part 32 is receiving the allowing signal when firing is desired. The allowing signal is transmitted by way of the transceiver 39 or the base jack 44. Receiving by the revolver part 32 occurs at the revolver receiver 49 through its antenna 48 or through the revolver jack 47. Thus, the transceiver 39, revolver receiver 49, base jack 44, and revolver jack 47 serve as a means for linking the base part 31 with the revolver part 32 so that they can change locations independently of each other and so that the allowing signal from the base chip 35 can be received by the revolver chip 33. Meanwhile, the keypad 43 serves as a means for allowing and preventing the functioning of the linking means.

[0072] Use of the 25 foot cable to connect the base jack 44 with the revolver jack 47 will allow the handgun to be fired within a circular area having a radius of 25 feet. Use of the transceiver 39 and receiver 49 allows firing within a radius of 150 to 500 feet. As mentioned, the permitting signal comprises information on the maximum circular area that the handgun will be permitted to be fired in. If the handgun is located at a city residence, the permitting signal will comprise information that will permit the base chip 35 to set the transceiver's output power to a level that will allow firing within 150 feet of the base part 31. However, if the handgun is located, for example, in a rural area, the permitting signal will comprise information that will permit the base chip 35 to set the transceiver's output power to a level that will allow firing within 500 feet of the base part 31.

[0073] Except for its electronic and electromechanical parts, the revolver part 32 is essentially a revolver of conventional design. The revolver part 32 has a revolver battery 50 that sends power to a normally open switch 51. Slightly pulling the trigger 52 for firing closes the switch 51 thereby sending power to the revolver receiver 49 and a revolver chip 53. Like the base chip 35, the revolver chip 53 can be any semiconductor chip, chipset, microcontroller, or ASIC, that is capable of functioning as described herein.

[0074] The trigger 52 and trigger blocking apparatus 54 of this application are essentially the same as parts 60 through 70 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,488,370, and the switch 51 is the same as part 17 of that same patent. The trigger blocking apparatus 54 prevents firing when it is not receiving power from the revolver chip 53 by blocking complete trigger movement, and it allows firing when it is receiving power by not blocking any trigger movement. After the trigger blocking apparatus 54 begins receiving power, firing can be accomplished by a continuation of trigger pull. Because the revolver's electronic processing is extremely fast, firing of the revolver part 32 feels no different than firing a conventional revolver.

[0075] When allowing signal is received by the revolver chip 53, it sends power to the trigger blocking apparatus 54 and that allows the revolver part 32 to fire. Thus, the trigger blocking apparatus 54 functions as a means for preventing the firing of the revolver part 32 based on the revolver chip 53 not receiving the allowing signal from the base chip 35.

[0076] It is important that the revolver part 32 has good resistance to tampering and circumvention. Such resistance is provided by epoxy potting 55 of the wiring, electronic parts, and as much of the electromechanical parts as possible. In addition, those parts and the part of the trigger 52 in contact with the trigger blocking apparatus 54 are enclosed in a part of the handgun 30 that has been welded shut. Additional tamper and circumvention resistance is accomplished by the use of a trigger blocking apparatus 54 that prevents firing when it is not receiving power instead of one that prevents firing when it is receiving power (which could be easily circumvented by removing the revolver battery 50).

[0077] Many variations of this invention are possible. The following are some examples. Other types of dischargeable hand weapons may be used. The transceiver 39 may use an antenna system that would produce a noncircular area for reception of its signal. Instead of using a telephone connection, an internet or other connection may be used. The transceiver's power or the receiver's sensitivity may be changed to increase or decrease the area that the revolver part 32 can be fired in. The process of receiving a permitting signal may be required to be repeated on a daily or weekly basis. The permitting agency may be able to establish a connection with the handgun 30 and nullify an existing permitting signal.

[0078] While the above description contains many specificities, they should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as exemplifications of the preferred embodiments thereof. Many variations are possible without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims and their legal equivalents.





 
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