It’s the handgun that makes “gun safety” advocates swoon and Second Amendment proponents bristle.
And at first blush, the Armatix iP1 seemed to be the answer to those who wanted a so-called “smart gun” that would only fire when the person who owns it pulled the trigger.
But a strong backlash from U.S. consumers and the recent departure of the handgun’s top designer has put Germany-based Armatix on its heels, with Fortune magazine reporting the company has filed for the equivalent of the Chapter 11 restructuring with the German government.
“This is a corporate restructuring, not an insolvency proceeding,” an Armatix spokesperson told Fortune. “Armatix will continue operations and does not anticipate any changes to its majority shareholders.”
It is unclear whether tepid U.S. sales drove the company into a financial corner, but the handgun faced strong headwinds in this country due to a New Jersey law that would force all of the state’s gun buyers to purchase “smart guns” as soon as one was commercially viable in the U.S. market. Only two stores publicly announced they’d sell the iP1 and both abruptly stopped those sales in reaction to a nationwide backlash from gun owners.
The New Jersey legislature is reportedly working on changing the law to remove the sales mandates.
Armatix also reportedly lost its top designer, Ernst Mauch, in April. Mauch previously spent 30 years with Heckler & Koch and was seen as a major plus for a company new to the firearms market.
Officially, the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation are not opposed to personalized firearms, but both organizations — and many firearms enthusiasts — object to sales mandates and laws that require smart gun technology.