Gun Lobby Taking Aim at the Development of 'Smart Guns' ‏

Image: Gun Lobby Taking Aim at the Development of 'Smart Guns' ‏ The Armatix smart gun is only unblocked for use once the fingerprint of the owner is recognized by the compatible security watch.

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 09:07 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Gun rights groups have launched a campaign to prevent "smart guns" from going on the market, arguing the firearms with high-tech safety features will pave the way to new gun restrictions and government regulations.

According to The New York Times, a number of companies attempting to develop guns with owner-recognition capabilities are facing intense opposition by Second Amendment advocates. The new technologies are designed to prevent fewer firearms deaths and have gained popularity among gun control advocates in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

"Right now, unfortunately, these organizations that are scaring everybody have the power," Belinda Padilla, the U.S. head of one of the smart gun manufacturers, Armatix, told the Times. "All we're doing is providing extra levels of safety to your individual right to bear arms. And if you don't want our gun, don't buy it. It's not for everyone."

At least three companies, including Armatix, have developed owner-recognition abilities. The companies say the new technologies could prevent suicides, accidental shootings, and the deaths of police officers whose guns can be turned on them in a struggle, the Times reported.

The Obama administration remains committed to the research and development of "smart gun" technologies, which was formalized in an executive order by President Barack Obama.

The Justice Department is set to solicit proposals for grants for companies that can make guns with the software, and there is also support from investors in Silicon Valley.

The National Rifle Association, however, remains committed to blocking the initiatives, and wrote in a blog post that "smart guns" have the potential "to mesh with the anti-gunner's agenda, opening the door to a ban on all guns that do not possess the government-required technology," according to the Times.

Others are concerned that the technology could malfunction and cause a weapon not to fire when it is needed to work.

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