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Old 07-31-2011
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Unhappy CHIAPPA "RFID Chip" controversy.

Hello, everybody.

If you've followed the firearms-related Blogosphere recently, you are well aware of the hype that's been caused by the announcement made by an Italian gun manufacturer, ARMI CHIAPPA, regarding its intentions to embed RFID chips in the frames of their firearms starting end 2011, and to the derogative response given by their U.S. distributor, MKS SUPPLY, to the complaints of many worried gun owners and gun rights' supporters.

I hope you're not getting yourself caught in the hype of the "Chiappa RFID Chip". If you scroll the three pages of comments to the FIREARMSBLOG.COM entry that has first started the controversy (http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2...luminum-foil/), you'll find at least one response from me; I've posted another one, but it's either awaiting moderation or got deleted for not being in-line with the paranoid thought of that specific Blog concerning this matter.

I am a close friend of the CHIAPPA people, and I am in close contact with one of their managers, Mrs. Cinzia Pinzoni. This insight enables me to clarify a few aspects of this controversy once and for all:


1 - The KIMAR Group (that comprises the CHIAPPA trademark) is a small family business; they have decided to implement the RFID chip technology to save on paperworks and ease the trailing of history of every single firearm that is sold in case one should get back for repairs.

2 - The CHIAPPA RFID Chip is passive, not active. Not only it is pre-written with the data concerning the manufacture of the weapon, the lot number and the date of shipment to the distributor, but it can not be re-written, and it can not absolutely, POSITIVELY register ANYTHING, not any detail regarding the usage of the gun, nor about its movements, nor about the ownership. And it absolutely can NOT interfere (i.e. block) the gun, like other solutions proposed by ARMATIX.

3 - The CHIAPPA RFID Chip can only be read by passing a special scanner very close to it, i.e. on the box. It can not be detected from the distance because it is not powered, and doesn't emits a wide, broad signal like other RFIDs. Basically this has been done so that the distributor (MKS Supply) can keep trace of what they're shipping/receiving and be sure that a box doesn't contains the wrong item, especially if they're re-sending to the owner a sample that has been sent in for repair or replacement. The distance between the scanner and the Chip for this last one to be readable is so short that it is basically the same that is required for a Metal Detector to determine if s/o is in fact carrying a metal object. It can not absolutely, positively in any way help detecting a person carrying a gun from the distance. Many so-called, or self-proclaimed, "experts in RFID technology" have fueled the controversy regarding the CHIAPPA RFID chip stating how "their statement about 2'' or 3'' of distance being necessary for reading is pure BS, as RFID chips can be read as far as from 10' away". In the specific case of the RFID chip that CHIAPPA would want to embed in their products, this statement/hypothesis is COMPLETELY FALSE. The RFID chip that will/would be used by CHIAPPA -WILL- require to be scanned from very VERY close, 2" or 3" at the most, in order to be read. I have access to the technical specs of the specific RFID device they'd wish to add to their weapons to support this.

4 - Despite the fact that CHIAPPA issued a press release to U.S. gunwriters, the technology will not be available on the U.S. market in the near future, so you people can purchase your CHIAPPA firearms safely for the time being. It will be first introduced in the CHIAPPA products available in Italy, and if it is successful, it will be exported. But there are no signs of this possibility; the company itself has been sumberged with protests and they might rethink their position. The press release was only issued to let gunwriters know how CHIAPPA is "pioneering in this kind of technology despite being a small enterprise", and has been sent to all gunwriters in CHIAPPA's mailing list, including myself (and I write IN ITALY, not in the U.S.).

5 - The RFID Chip is not permanently embedded, but hot-glued to the frame of the weapon, and can easily be accessed through field-stripping and removed with the tip of a knife without any kind of damage to the functionality of the firearm. The company might even think to add a label indicating the presence of the RFID Chip on the boxes, along with instructions for its removal, although I'd suggest the owner of the firearm to keep the RFID Chip somewhere around even if he/she removes it from the weapon, so that in case of a return to the company (i.e. for repair), he/she might add the chip to the parcel to help the company and the distributors to process their requests faster.

6 - There have been rumors about "CHIAPPA being one of the companies that asked, and obtained, a ban on import of 'Black Rifles' in Italy". This is completely false. There is no such ban effective in Italy. The only reason why AMERICAN-MADE "Black Rifles" are now more rare on the Italian civilian market is that the Bush administration has imposed the issuance of a DSP-83 "End-User Certificate" by the Department of State for the export of every single firearm, even civilian-grade, based upon a military firearm (this also applies to military-grade firearm accessories, including some furniture, and several optics, such as mil-dots and holosights). This has led to a contraction for US-EXPORTED "Black Rifles" in Italy as it is not feasible any longer for importers in this Country to keep stocks, since every single piece that enters the Country must be "already sold". However, "Black Rifles" are still enjoying a high degree of popularity in Italy; we're simply buying from Germany and China, and starting making our own.


So, please, I would ask you to dismiss this controversy exactly for what it is (paranoid conspiracy theory, possibly fueled by US-based gunmakers such as S&W to cripple sales of a competitor in the revolvers market), and to continue to support CHIAPPA by buying their excellent products, first of all the RHINO revolver, that represents the legacy of one of the last true Italian gunmakers and independent firearms inventors, Mr. Emilio Ghisoni, who succumbed to cancer on 4/28/2008.
The folks at CHIAPPA are definitely pretty good people, and not the anti-gun (or anti-gun-bending) mob that somebody would want to make them pass for just because they decided to go to a different product tracking technology and their distributor in the US made a PR blunder.
If you have any problem with their decision regarding the embedding of RFID chips in their firearms, you will be welcome to address politely and constructively your objections and proposals to the company itself (not to their distributor!). The CHIAPPA company is well open to constructive feedback from its customers.
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