The White House has tasked the Pentagon to test smart-gun technology as part of President Obama’s executive action on gun control.
The executive action contains instructions for the Defense Department to "conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology that would reduce the frequency of accidental discharge or unauthorized use of firearms."
We don’t know all the implications of this yet, but my sources are telling me that it most likely will not mean any type of mandate for the Pentagon to require the services to start buying smart-gun tech.
The details of this are pretty thin right now, but what it likely means is that the administration is turning to the military for its expertise in guns and gun testing.
The U.S. Army, for example, is responsible for small arms for all of the services. It has testing facilities and procedures in place and routinely evaluates all kinds of gun technologies.
One of the technologies that might be looked at is the Safe Gun Technology fingerprint access retrofit kit.
The Columbus-based firm is showing off an AR-15 Bushmaster rifle equipped with a fingerprint-activated sensor on the pistol grip, according to the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation’s website.
“The sensor is part of SGTi’s unique retrofit kit which allows a firearm to fire only when activated by an authorized user’s fingerprint and renders the firearm inoperable for anyone else. The company has fully integrated a biometric sensor onto the live firearm and is inviting feedback from the firearms community to refine and improve their Alpha prototype.”
Based in San Francisco, the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation was formed in 2013 to foster innovation in firearm safety, according to its website. The Smart Tech for Firearms Challenge granted $1 million to innovators from around the globe developing user-authentication features for firearms.
Obama’s directive to DoD sounds very proactive, but it’s unlikely that anything significant will come of it.
It would be difficult to make these types of safety features mandatory and nearly impossible to enforce since there are more than 300 million guns in the United States.