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Getting Smarter: Making Guns Safer for Law Enforcement and Consumers

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Dated: July 2000 Pages: 16-19
Date Published
July 2000
4 pages
Publication Series
This article discusses issues associated with safer and smarter guns through the use of external locking devices and other methods to improve gun safety; the discussion emphasizes that the issues and concerns vary according to whether the gun users are law enforcement personnel or general consumers.
Research funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and conducted by Sandia National Laboratories has assessed the needs of law enforcement for smart-gun technology. NIJ and Sandia determined that the most feasible technology was the use of radio frequency to identify and approve a user before a gun could be fired. However, this technology is not yet ready for laboratory testing and needs to overcome issues associated with reliability. The approaches to gun safety being developed for police will ultimately be used for consumer firearms as well. In the meantime, gun manufacturers are focusing on mechanical systems such as locking systems to ensure that children or other unauthorized users cannot use guns. Gun-control advocates and promoters of gun rights have taken positions for and against the development of smart guns and gun-safety technology for consumer use. However, the technology is not yet mature despite mandates for gun safety. Photograph and reference note

Date Published: July 1, 2000