Weapons Tracking and Management with RFID
Any organization that uses firearms can benefit from modern technology to track them with increased efficiency and greater accuracy. The use of serial numbers, registry databases and microstamping are all processes designed to track a firearm through its life to the registered owner. But, sometimes these solutions are subject to human error or, in the case of microstamping, controversial to the point where they are not widely adopted.
To keep dangerous weapons from getting into the wrong hands, federal, state and local government agencies, private security companies and corrective institutions all need to have strict accountability processes for the weapons they store in their armories and issue to their personnel – and RFID can help.
Similar to tracking any other item of value, RFID-enabled weapons tracking systems automate the management of firearms and related gear, providing a real time who, what and when audit trail. For example, fixed RFID readers placed in the doorways and issue stations in armories can read items passing in and out of designated areas. Mobile RFID readers can be used to rapidly identify items in a large firearm inventory, reducing count times and helping to find items that may be misplaced or missing. Several types of RFID tags have also been designed with strong adhesives and ruggedized exteriors for mounting on metal surfaces and to provide moisture and abrasion resistance – making them ideal for weapons tracking applications.
Extending the benefit of RFID, firearms manufacturers and retailers can use the technology to manage shipments from the factory to the retail display case. This closed loop system provides added measures to deter theft and fraud along each step of the shipping and receiving process, securing the weapons supply and distribution chain further.
An example of a weapons tracking solution was recently deployed by the U.K.'s Nottinghamshire Police Department. This solution uses high frequency (HF) RFID enabled cabinets to track Tasers issued to its officers, enabling an audit trail of Taser usage. Similarly, solutions using ultra high frequency (UHF) RFID can provide real-time visibility into an organization’s entire weapon inventory, resulting in faster and more accurate locating, distribution and issue resolution.
Regardless of the side of the gun control debate you land on, do you think the use of RFID can enhance the way firearms are tracked by organizations that manufacture and use them? Please share your thoughts with us below.