Smart Gun technology is the latest effort by Obama to build his anti-gun rights legacy. The president announced a new initiative to increase development of smart guns which are designed to prevent gun use by unauthorized users.
What are Smart Guns?
Smart guns use technological safety features designed to prevent accidental shootings, such as fingerprint activation that allows only designated users to fire the gun. The technology also often includes the use of RFID devices worn by the gun owner that disable the weapon once it is far enough away from owner’s wrist. The smart gun requires additional hardware like a magnetic ring or RFID bracelet to be worn by the gun owner.
This tech could help prevent cases where police are shot with their own guns by criminals who disarm them. Critics argue that the new smart gun technology is unproven and could hinder the dependability of the weapon. It is very important that guns used in self defense or defense of others work without fail as lives depend on their reliability.
Critics also worry that Government interference on guns including the introduction of smart gun tech could lead to more nefarious gun right restrictions. If the new gun tech could track a gun owner, what is stopping the tech from also identifying the owner via other wireless technology like wifi and bluetooth. These wireless protocols are often hacked by criminals and governments, making Gun owners and the NRA very nervous about advances in this area. If smart guns are connected to the internet, a government monitored database could access a registry of firearm owners.
Small arms technology has not evolved much beyond the mechanical devices that use springs, levers, and pins to fire a bullet down a barrel. Adding technology that requires batteries and tokens worn by gun owner increase complexity to these simple devices. This new complexity may hinder their performance in life or death situations.
Obama Smart Gun Policy
The Obama administration is developing guidelines so that gun manufacturers understand how they can meet law enforcement agencies’ needs for smart guns.
According to The Hill, The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security are expected to complete the guidance in October, according to a new interagency report published Friday.
The Justice Department is also offering certain federal grants to state and local governments that purchase smart guns.
“These commonsense steps are not going to prevent every tragedy, but what if they prevented even one?” Obama wrote in a Facebook post.
“As long as we’ve got the technology to prevent a criminal from stealing and using your smartphone, then we should be able to prevent the wrong person from pulling a trigger on a gun.”
“Although NRA is not opposed to the development of new firearms technology, we do not believe the government should be picking winners and losers in the marketplace,” the group said in a January statement. “As with all advancements, the market itself should be the driver, with consumers the ultimate arbiter of which product developments will succeed.”
Liberal supporters of stricter gun laws called the moves a step in the right direction.
“For too long, the gun lobby blocked the kind of research that can help save lives,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a group backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Innovation is always welcome, particularly when it comes to safety. That’s why we applaud President Obama for taking this important first step.”