The rise and fall of Colt’s smart gun (AUDIO)

In the 1990s, a Manhattan investor bought a struggling Colt and he thought he could make the company millions by innovating firearms technology.

In 1994, Donald Zilkha had a plan to revive the company by doubling down on Colt’s history of invention. He was going to build the next great leap forward in firearms: a safer gun. He imagined a smart gun that would only fire for an authorized user. But it did not go as he planned.

And nearly two decades later, his story explains why we can have a smartphone that only unlocks with its owner’s fingerprints, but we can’t have a gun that does the same.

[ Planet Money ]